Need a name for an abandoned survivor cat
February 15, 2011 7:49 AM   Subscribe

I am adopting a cat who needs a good name. I found him at the shelter where I volunteer; he'd been left outside and abandoned, and suffered from frostbite. He's losing part of his ear, all of his pawpads (which will grow back), and several teeth, and half his whiskers have broken off. He was so anemic and dehydrated when he got there, the higher-ups decided he should be euthanized, but the shelter manager intervened, treated him with meds, and he survived.

This guy has had a tough time, and looks very beat up -- but he's a total sweetheart, and IMO perfectly gorgeous. I already have a rescue cat with a badass stripe across his face, hence his name, Pretty Boy Floyd.

I like old-fashioned real-person names. His current shelter name is Amadeus, but meh. He's not dramatic and intense like a composer. He's loving and docile, a lapcat mushball who just wants to purr (and drool).

Current faves are: Angus (Gus), Woody (Guthrie), Wilbur (from Charlotte's Web), Virgil, Spencer (Tracy), Humphrey (Bogart).

Any ideas? Old hobo names maybe, or something to denote survival.
posted by flyingsquirrel to Pets & Animals (49 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Awww, sweet baby.

I would name him Jeff Probst.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:51 AM on February 15, 2011

What about Rasputin? The legend says he was poisoned, shot four times, drowned, and still managed to survive (but not for long!). Sounds appropriate for such a scrappy wee kitty (who is gorgeous btw!)
posted by ukdanae at 7:53 AM on February 15, 2011 [20 favorites]

He looks like an Ambrose to me.
posted by amethysts at 7:54 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your cat's name is Pyewacket. But you can call him whatever you like.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:55 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: what with the frostbite and all, Shackleton!
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 7:56 AM on February 15, 2011 [31 favorites]

That's a Leon if I've ever seen one.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:56 AM on February 15, 2011

Seems like a Rosco to me.
posted by mesha steele at 7:57 AM on February 15, 2011

Haha love the Shackleton idea. Biggie Shackleton if you like Mighty Boosh!
posted by meta87 at 7:58 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

He looks like a Hercules to me.
posted by londonmark at 7:58 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

That is a handsome kitten. Looks like a Leon to me, after Leon Ray Livingston. Or perhaps Norton, after the Emperor of diminished means. He certainly looks ready to rule over your house...
posted by baggers at 7:58 AM on February 15, 2011


Don't know why but Rocco, immediately.
posted by xetere at 7:59 AM on February 15, 2011

I would name him Kent, after the character in King Lear, who never abandoned his loyalty to the king even after being mistreated by him.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:59 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Losing part of an ear? Well, Vincent it is.
posted by azpenguin at 8:00 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]

Oliver, after that Dickensian waif Oliver Twist? He's certainly gone through similar travails, and Oliver was a gentle, timid boy despite it all.
posted by orange swan at 8:02 AM on February 15, 2011

Best answer: Thirding Shackleton. It was the only name that came to mind when I read your description.
posted by tommasz at 8:03 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always wanted a cat named Scamper
posted by Ad hominem at 8:05 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by easy, lucky, free at 8:07 AM on February 15, 2011

Best answer: A frostbitten survivor with dignity even in the face of doom? Totally a Shackleton.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:08 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

posted by wenestvedt at 8:08 AM on February 15, 2011

Lucky. That cat is super lucky.
posted by ad4pt at 8:09 AM on February 15, 2011

How about Octavian (Octopuss as a nickname)? There's a guy who's used up 8 of his 9 lives if ever I've seen one! Congrats on the new member of your family, and bless you for taking him in.
posted by kate4914 at 8:11 AM on February 15, 2011

Orpheus. He was fond of animals, he crossed the acheron. So he's been to Hades and back again.
posted by nicolin at 8:14 AM on February 15, 2011

Chuck Norris.
posted by 8dot3 at 8:18 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'm not a cat person but that has to be one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. Not enough to convert me from dogs, but almost!

Funnily enough, my first thought was for Gus on seeing his face and before reading your notes but as others have said, Shackleton is so apt that it's almost criminal not to call him that. How about Angus Shackleton, Gus for short?
posted by ceri richard at 8:23 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

You've already picked out some ace names and Shackleton is brilliant, but here are a few more suggestions:

1. Buster Keaton had the hell knocked out of him doing all his own stunts but always landed on his feet.
2. Horatio Lord Nelson: badass to the end, even when one-armed and half-blind.
3. Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron) kept flying despite suffering a serious head wound in battle.
4. For a gentler sort of bravery, John Keats wrote some of the most beautiful English language poetry in existence despite very poor health.
5. Carl Sagan. I just like the idea of a cat named Carl Sagan.
posted by melissa may at 8:32 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Shack. (Short for Shackleton.) Then you can totally make up a song about him to the tune of "Theme From Shaft" and this cat can be a baaaaaad mother...

"Who's the cat that won't cop out
when there's danger all about

What, like none of you ever give your kitties theme music?
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:33 AM on February 15, 2011 [11 favorites]

I came here to say you should name him Utah, after U. Utah Phillips. However, I've changed my mind. I can't deny the rightness of Shackleton. Additionally, I'd like to get in line behind kate4914 to bless you for making a place for homeless cats.
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 8:38 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Shackleton! Yes. It's especially good because today is his birthday! (Ernest Shackleton, that is, not kitty Shackleton. Unless it is? In which case, dude, you totally have to name him that.)
posted by fight or flight at 8:45 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Shackleton is perfect and you are a totally awesome human being. Cheers to you & the kitties.
posted by pointystick at 8:49 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Apocalypse Meow. I've wanted to name a cat "apocalypse meow" for years now, but the SO never lets me.

that or chairman meow.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:07 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Actually for a theme song, I thought of Our Retired Explorer, though I suppose it has only a passing mention of Shackleton:
posted by RobotHero at 9:23 AM on February 15, 2011

Response by poster: I must admit, Shackleton is very cool as a cat name. He even looks the part. Plus, he was born in Ireland, and I'm part Irish, so that works too. Interesting character; according to the Wikipedia entry for him:

Shackleton's concern for his men was such that he gave his mittens to photographer Frank Hurley, who had lost his during the boat journey. Shackleton suffered frostbitten fingers as a result.

(No, I am not naming him Mittens.)

Any ideas for hobo names, or old American names?
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:38 AM on February 15, 2011

I Nth Shackleton. But if you want authentic hobo names, there are a few referenced in the Wikipedia article on hobos.
posted by Hylas at 10:10 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Godfrey was a character who was a hobo for a short time because of circumstances.
posted by amethysts at 10:14 AM on February 15, 2011

You could go for both: name him "Ernie," a good old American hobo name if ever there was one, and also, just coincidentally, Shackleton's actual first name... I tried looking up vaudeville performers who used a tramp or hobo persona, but they mostly had character names not much more exciting than Ernie: Freddie, Clem, Zeke...
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 11:06 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: OneMonkeysUncle, thanks -- I thought of Ernie as well, and I love MonkeyToes' "Shack" adaptation too.

Another favorite name is Frankie. In fact, that's what I'd named the three-legged long-haired black cat who lives in my building's parking lot. I trapped him last Friday, with every intention of adopting him (since my own 15-year-old calico passed away a week ago Sunday), but he turned out to have feline leukemia. So he'll live out whatever days he's got left in the shelter, with other leuk-pos cats, and I'll be there for him when his time comes. (I'd named him after Franklin Delano Roosevelt, after another feisty guy with a bum leg.)

So anyway, yeah, I'm really liking "Shackleton." Thank you!

Happy sigh. MeFi is one big bag of awesome.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 11:28 AM on February 15, 2011

posted by Lobster Garden at 11:29 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

You're not going to beat Shackleton. But I would call him Bruno.
posted by freshwater at 11:58 AM on February 15, 2011

He looks like an Edgar to me. He's absolutely gorgeous, btw. Very elegant!
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:47 PM on February 15, 2011

i thought "shackleton" before i got to the end of the first paragraph, and it seems like so many other MeFites did too. He's a Shackleton for sure.
posted by custard heart at 1:32 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Looks like today's Google doodle in the UK agrees with many of you regarding "Shackleton" -- who was knighted, by the way, so that's Sir Ernest Shackleton to you.

Er, I mean me.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 1:32 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

What, like none of you ever give your kitties theme music?

THe Mr Templeton theme from 30 Rock also works.

Night's like a banquet, give it a try.
Candle light caviar, you and I, and Shackleton, Ernest Shackleton,
Why should he´╗┐ stay at home and just get medication?

posted by pickypicky at 3:34 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I like Shackleton because it inspires a feeling of respect rather than pity.

Seriously, though, thank you for taking him in. I hope you and your beautiful new kitty have a wonderful, warm life together.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:21 PM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: "Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all. " -Ernest Shackleton
posted by Bunsen Betty at 9:54 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Just thought I'd give you all an update. I have indeed named my cat Shackleton, and a month later, I am happy to report he's doing fabulously well. His pawpads and ears are healing, he's putting on weight, his coat's getting glossy, and he's slowly coming out from under the bed to discover the world that is my apartment. The poor guy's really had a rough time of it; I recently found out he's diabetic, so he'll be getting insulin shots twice a day for the rest of his life (tho some cats go into remission, which would be swell).

Shackleton (a.k.a. Shack, Love Shack, Shacklepuss, Shackletooth Tiger, Shackalicious, Sir Shackleton OBE, the Shackster, Shack of All Trades, etc) is awesome. And so are you all, for giving him his name.

Here he is, right after he first came out from under the bed; hanging out as my other cat, Pretty Boy Floyd, looks on; and last night, as he and Floyd watching me preparing dinner. (Floyd got his name from the white marking across his face -- he's my little badass outlaw, and he even has his own song, tho the video cuts off the last, best line: "You'll never see an outlaw drive a family from their home.")
posted by flyingsquirrel at 6:43 PM on March 24, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: AWWWWWWWWW. Cheers to you, and to Shackleton!
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:47 PM on March 24, 2011

SHACKLEPUSS. aww yeah.

I'm glad things are working out well. downright SHACKLETASTICALLY, from the sound of it.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:52 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

so glad you named him Shackleton!!! as an irishman, and an animal namer-of-rad-names myself, I'm thankful you are providing such an awesome and loving home to him. My sweetheart dog Dirtbike and I solute you all :)
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 11:31 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

That's a great cat! Congrats!
posted by troublewithwolves at 1:39 PM on April 25, 2011

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