Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thai Names for the Siamese Kittens? Update

(Reclaimed from Bubblews, where it appeared on April 14, 2014.)

This Morguefile picture (donated by Kornrolla, shows what one of my cats' new kittens ought to look like in a few months. (Update: Sisawat's adult coat is actually the color cat fanciers call "blue," meaning gray without conspicuous tabby stripes, and she no longer shows the "color points" by which people recognize Siamese cats on sight. She does have a high voice and make a wide range of "Siamese" sounds.) 

Resident cats Heather, Irene, and Ivy had brought their favorite uncle Damian, who is neutered but doesn't realize it, to the house. (Damian lives down the road, with some humans who probably miss him when he's staying with us.) Ivy had apparently been faithful to that blasted Manx tom who was the father of last year's kittens, and I'm glad to report that he may have been neutered too...Ivy's not pregnant. Heather and Irene had, however, told the Manx tom they didn't want any more bobtailed kittens (they said that loudly and clearly, though not in English). So the question on my mind was how they managed to get pregnant. I hadn't seen another male cat in the neighborhood, but obviously one had been there.

When the kittens arrived a week ago, I knew right away who their father was. Although both Heather and Irene show bright, undiluted coat colors, all but one of their kittens have diluted coat colors. One of them has Bucky Cat cartoon ears. Others have show-quality Siamese-cat ears and the beginnings of "points," two have yet to show any dark "point" markings at all, and there's a tabby and two calicos, but all of the kittens have that long, lean Siamese look along with the partial albinism. Yes, someone in the neighborhood owns a Siamese tomcat. 

The unusual thing about these kittens is not their Siamese father, but their highly social mothers. Heather, who went into labor first, seemed to be having trouble delivering the first kitten on Monday morning. I thought I might have to call the vet if the kitten hadn't been born by the time I got back from town. When I got back from town, Heather and Irene had curled up in one cardboard box, like a yin-yang, and were massaging each other with their paws. Apparently each had five kittens, all born alive, and lost one during the first week. However, apart from a birth defect Irene passed on to two of her kittens (which means these ought to be her last kittens) and the vestigial extra toes Heather passed on to one of hers, no human will ever know for sure which kittens belong to which cat. 

The remaining kittens are growing fast--one actually opened her eyes yesterday. There's no guarantee that even one of them will live to maturity, and I'm not trying to find homes for them on the Internet. (There's a web site called Petfinder for that purpose; I've never received a response from it that wasn't obviously spam, and certainly wouldn't use it to place social cats.) 

However, when I looked in on the kittens yesterday, it did occur to me that Bubblews might be a good place to find names for them. There's an old American tradition of giving Asian names to Siamese cats, in honor of their remote-past ancestry. I know some good Thai names for humans, but the Cat Sanctuary has generally tried to avoid giving human names to cats...the color name Heather, and the science-fiction character names Iris, Irene, and Ivy, were pushing the limits. Lots of Asian people use Bubblews, so perhaps youall can recommend some Thai names for places, colors, etc., that aren't used by humans, and that won't sound truly obnoxious as they will be mispronounced by English-speaking people.

(Update: Only one of the kittens' names was proposed by a reader. I did find Asian names, some of which commemorated the relatives the kittens resembled: Siri looked a bit like Iris, Kiba looked a bit like Biscuit (the diminutive form of "Biscuit" being "Bic-bic"), and Gwai looked a bit like Mogwai. Siri was apparently eaten by our house snake around the time the kittens' eyes opened, and the two smallest and palest kittens died before that. Kama, Tom, and Sisawat are alive and well. Bucky, Khon, and Kiba died during the week after poison was sprayed along Route 23. I've not heard any recent news about Gwai.

Although a few busybodies predictably said "You ought to have all those cats spayed," none of them put any money where its mouth was. +Protecto Shell posted a helpful list of organizations that offer help with veterinary expenses. I thought about applying to them for help to get Irene spayed, then went home and looked cautiously at Irene, and...yes, the poor dear is pregnant. Yes, already. That mild weather we had in January...)