One of the things we do here at CatTail Studio Arts when we have the honor of selling a new pet dish to a customer is to ask for the story behind the name and a photo of the happy recipient to add to our blog roll. It is a fun way for us to see our handiwork in use and our customers can have the pleasure of seeing their pet posted on our blog. I can’t tell you how many times we receive a photo or a story and it puts an instant smile on our faces. Through ‘Customer Cat Tales’, we share some of our favorites with you.
This Sunday, February 12, 2017, the 59th annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be held in Los Angeles. Read on. By the time you reach the end of this Customer Cat Tale, you will know why this was the perfect story to share this week. 😉
“Once upon a time, my darling wife Shannon suggested that we get a cat to keep me company while she was away. She had accepted a position as a flight attendant and her trips could last up to five days. I hadn’t had a pet since I had a hamster named Mario (Andretti – he had a racing stripe) when I was nine. I’m not going to count Hannibal the canary, either. He was a birthday gift to me when I was 11. Guaranteed to sing and could be returned if he didn’t. He never sang. We didn’t have the heart to return him. Hannibal lived a long and blissful chirping life with my mother.
Fast forward 45+ years and I am visiting weekend pop-up pet adoptions in search of my new companion. Saturday, September 26, 2015 we were in our local Petco listening to a woman encouraging us to consider adopting a plump, aging special needs cat that required daily injections. Hmmm… I was feeling selfish and guilty. There was no way I could sign up for the Mother Teresa special.
As I tuned out to her hard sell, my eyes drifted and I caught sight of a young green-eyed striped Bengal. “May I see that cat?” The woman promptly stopped her pitch and removed the cat and plopped her in my arms. “Her name is Trixie”. Trixie looked at me and I looked at her. I sensed mutual attraction. I looked at Shannon and sensed approval. “Would it be possible to take her for a test drive at our house?” “Of course.”
The test drive part was essential. I now must confess a brief yet painful and disastrous experience that had occurred a couple of years ago. In August 2013, we had adopted a Bulldog/Great Pyrenees mix dog. His powerful presence in our yard-less townhouse turned out to be overwhelming. Plus there was the part about Shannon fracturing her foot. We tearfully returned him after less than 2 weeks. A cat is a different story, but we felt the need to be cautious.
“Trixie” was packed up for us into a carrier. We bought some food and a litter box and off we went. It was almost instantly apparent that this new relationship was going to work out just fine. This was exciting. But we both agreed that our new little housemate was somewhat ‘name-challenged’. What to do? What to do?
Shannon’s pts had a dog named Whitney Houston (RIP) and a cat named Tina Turner. I really wanted to perpetuate this Grammy-winning inspiration. For a day or so, we bounced around the names of countless female singers. But one of them kept coming back into the mix – Fiona Apple. It stuck.
The name Trixie was quickly retired in favor of Fiona. And it fits. She is a feisty assertive girl. Fiona – Fi for short – rules the roost (and me).
Fast forward to March of this year. Shannon starts poking around Bengal cat rescue websites. “Fiona needs a companion.” “Oh, yeah?” “She needs some company besides you.” Shannon locates a cute one year old male, “Dallas” who will be at a Petco in Long Beach. She wants me to drive down and see him while she is on a trip. I happily oblige.
Dallas has been living the past year, along with his brother, with a family. He is slightly bigger than Fiona but very sweet. I sense a fit. The next thing I know I am adopting another cat!
I brought him home and followed instructions to isolate him first in one room of the house. He was so scared that he hid for a week. Fiona would spend hours next to the closed door. “Why can’t I see what’s in there?” When I finally let him out, he found other places to hide for another two weeks. There were times when I thought he had gotten out. I couldn’t find him. He would come out in the middle of the night and we could hear him howl/meow downstairs. Poor little guy. Gradually, he came around. But he needed a new name. One in keeping with the spirit of Whitney, Tina and Fiona.
We bounced around some names again. I liked names from the jazz world. Chet Baker was an easy sell on Shannon. It’s also ripe for nickname variations which now include – Chetty Machete, Chetter Cheese, Chetty Chet Chet, Chetty Bear. You get the drift.
Eight months on from his arrival, we are one big happy family. They are fun and happy well-kept critters. They greet me at the door every day like dogs. They love to play. They love people. They follow me around the house. They sleep with us. I spoil them with treats. And they now have their own super awesome matching food bowls. And everyone lived happily ever after.”
Here’s the list of nominees for the 2017 Grammies…and a potential name list for the next time Shannon decides it is time for the family to grow!