The naming of cats

The naming of cats
Copyright Lincoln Park Zoo

The theme of the week for "This Blogger Life" is "What's in a name?" I know that line started with "Romeo and Juliet" and a rose, but I've been thinking of a different version this week. Maybe it was thinking about Lincoln Park Zoo's "big cats" while writing  a previous post , or maybe it's writing about T.S. Eliot and his poems about cats, but I've been wondering:

What's in the name "cat" that makes house cats, lions and tigers -- and other "big cats" -- so attractive in so many ways? What's behind all the different ways the English language, especially in U.S. slang, uses the word "cat" so often?

As T.S. Eliot himself observed (before Andrew Lloyd Weber came along and borrowed it), "The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter." So it is in slang, too.

Cats are slinky and stretchable. That cat's a good dancer!

Cats are independent. He's one cool cat! Where's that cat got to?

Cats are speedy (when they want to be). G0, cat, go (as a description or an order)! That cat's got the moves!

Cats are mysterious. As Warner Bros.' Tweety Bird put it, "I tawt I taw a puddy tat! I did, I DID!"

No family of mammals has quite as much variety -- dogs might, but only among the domestic ones; comparatively few canines are in zoos, where felines can be seen in varieties far beyond house cats.

Copyright Lincoln Park Zoo

Copyright Lincoln Park Zoo

Copyright Lincoln Park Zoo

Copyright Lincoln Park Zoo

Copyright Lincoln Park Zoo

Copyright Lincoln Park Zoo

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Comments

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  • Great post! So many names for the tribe of tiger....

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    It's the tribe of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight...
    oops, no, that's another story. Thanks, though!

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