Friday, June 26, 2015

What's In A Name?

If you asked the vet's office, they'd tell you my cat's name was Millie Cooper, but that's only part of the story.

Shortly before my parents gifted me a 12-week-old torbie from the shelter named Punky Brewster, I had remarked to my friend Sarah about an idea I'd had. "Wouldn't it be cute, if I got a girl kitten and named her Millennium?" It was the end of 1999, and the Y2K fears were rampant. While some in the country stockpiled canned goods, I readied myself for finals and the Christmas season. I desperately wanted a cat, but thought I'd have to wait a few years yet.

That all changed on December 12, when my parents came up to Chico to "take me to lunch" and arrived with a little ball of energy. As I waved my arms around and cooed at her--meowing frantically and sticking one small front leg through the slats on the door of her carrier--my mom laughed at my excitement and said, "The shelter called her Punky Brewster, but you can call her whatever you want."

"Millennium," I said. "I want to call her Millennium."

Millennium, while cute, is a mouthful, so I nicknamed her Millie. It fit her. A week or so later, with Christmas fast approaching, and seeing how she made everyone in my family laugh, I gave her Joy as a middle name. 

Of course, 98% of the time, she was simply Millie. I would sing-song nicknames at her, including Millie Vanilli, Mill-Billy, and many more. Within a year of getting her, I met Summer, and she promptly started calling her Millicent. 

But it would be several years before Mom would land on Millie Joyful, and it was so appropriate, that it became a favorite. She was joyful--playful, quick to purr, affectionate. It was also the right amount of syllables to sing over the Hallelujah Chorus: "Miiiiilie Joyful! Miiiiilie Joyful! Millie Joyful! Millie Joyful! Millieeeeee Joyfullllll!" 

(Two words: Music. Nerd.)

Millie didn't seem to mind it--she liked getting attention and didn't care if I was singing or talking, so long as I was worshiping. 

At some point, I will get another cat--actually, I'll likely adopt a pair, because cats do well with company. I am already dreaming up name ideas, but it's hard to really know if a name will suit a cat until you meet it. As luck would have it, Millennium Joy suited the kitty formerly known as Punky Brewster, and we never looked back.

No comments: