a dedicated space for curiosity

The Curious Practice of Pet-Naming: PicFic

In About All Publications, About Word Works on 02/03/2010 at 17:07

Some puzzling labels for humans are as follows:

Some men are teddy bears, some women are cougars, some people are pigs (regardless of sex), while others are simply called animals.  In Animal Planet—a postcard story—Rose Hunter provides more examples.

Nonhuman animals themselves are the recipients of perplexing naming practices.

I explore this phenomenon in a Twitter-length fiction—140 characters or less. It appears in PicFic—the Twitter fiction wing of Folded Word Press.

Above, as it appears on Twitter.

And here, as it appears on the PicFic website:  The Curious Practice of Pet-Naming

Another curiosity:

What have you named your companion animal(s)?

  1. i remember reading your piece! twitter lit is such fun to read but a devil to try and write well :)

  2. Thanks for stopping by Jessie! I had wonderful editorial assistance from Teresa Houle. I understand she is no longer with PicFic. She was a delight to work with.

    And, for the record, my companion animal is a big black silky long-haired cat. I call him Bunny. Indeed, I do.

  3. Teresa isn’t still doing it? hmm…i know she is WAY busy!
    I’ve had 5 cats as an adult. Not all are still with me but in order of when I got them: Neko, Foggy Bottoms, Carmen, Zoe and Digby :)

    • Foggy Bottoms? Never heard that one before! I’ll bet there’s a story there …

      • Of course! :)
        Someone left this tiny kitten at the TV station where my husband worked at the time in Charlottesville, VA. We took him home andI struggled with what to name him because he was only my 2nd pet as an adult. He was all gray, or what people in the pet biz call blue I guess. I didn’t want to call him something like Smokey..We were out near DC and I saw the name of one of the areas/metro stops was Foggy Bottoms. Yep. That is how he got named. From the burbs! We call him Foggy when we take him to the vet so I don’t have to tell the story every time :)

  4. Hello Karyn,

    I found your blog through Twitter, and am very much enjoying exploring your online home!

    I had a Shetland Sheepdog named Zipper, and a cat named Ezra. My partner and I have a spider living in our bathroom that he has named Dr. Maria Santiago. I do not encourage this, as generally I prefer squashing spiders to naming them.

    • A spider? I’m afraid to ask what kind of spider, so I won’t!

      Saw on Twitter that you are applying to Ph.D. programs in sociology. Once the ball starts rolling and you are knee deep in doctoral studies, if you ever need a supportive ear from someone who’s gone through the process in your discipline, don’t hesitate to contact me.

      A spider. A spider. No, I won’t ask ~

  5. “a cat named puppy”… that’s hilarious.
    no real life pets myself, – but a toy turtle, it lounges on the sofa, and guards the living room. it’s name is: ‘Schildkröte’ (German for ‘turtle’, literally translated it means ‘shield-toad’).

    and neighbours here have 2 cats: a black and a white one. the black one is named “Pablo”. and the white one… “Picasso.”

    • Of the two cats, I wonder if “Pablo” is the dominant one, having the first name, or if “Picasso” is, since last names are often considered most important because they are the ones passed on?

  6. the Pablo/Picasso cats, it seems Picasso is dominant, but that’s probably because he was there first, and is the older one.

    and i dug up a turtle photo now – this is from christmas time, with the turtle in festive (fun) decoration: http://www.test.blueprint21.de/photos/xmasturtle.jpg

  7. Update:

    ‘The Curious Practice of Pet-Naming’ has won a Folded Word Press 3Cheers Award!.

    Here’s the link: https://karyneisler.com/2010/03/19/3cheers-award/

  8. A friend of my husbands had a number of pets: a cat called Spider, gerbils named Cat and Dog, and a rabbit named Boa Constrictor. Another mutual friend’s cat was called Wolf.

  9. That’s funny. I wonder: If your husband’s friend had a spider, cat, dog, and boa constrictor–what would they be called?

  10. […] Twitter fiction entitled The Curious Practice of Pet-Naming. Background notes on the publication are here. The award, set to video, is here. Share […]

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