We pet owners give interesting names to our pets. Not just their given names, but the ones we use day-to-day. My cat Pippa gets called Pippa, Pippa Marie, Pip, Pip-pip, Pippa Dip, Pippa Doodle, Doodle, Doodle-Rama, and The Doodler. She’s not a fancy kinda girl, so her preference is for the unadorned Pippa.

Her sister Emma gets called Emma, Emma Louise, Emma Lousie-Marie, Emmalina, Emmska, Emm-O-Rama, The Emmulator, and simply Emm. Or as she prefers, “M”, because it makes her feel very mysterious in a James Bond kind of way.

Aside from her given name, their younger sister Stella also gets labeled Stell, Stella-Rella, Stella-Rella Ding-Dong, Stella Marie! (when in trouble), Long Skinny Kitty, The Stellarator, Stellarina, Stellasaurus, Stellaroo, Roo, The Rooster, and That Damn Cat. Her favorite version of her name is whichever one comes right before “kitty food!”

The twins

Emma and Pippa, the older two, are well into cat middle age and have expanded their girth continually through most of their lives, resulting in a profound rotundity. Purely out of compassion for them so they don’t feel self conscious about their weight, I have sacrificially done the same. Collectively I affectionately refer to the twins as Fatso’s, Chubbo’s, Big Girls, Lard-O’s, Giganticats and Cat-O-Saurus’s.

Okay now, calm down. I realize that may sound like insensitive fat shaming, or at least vicious name calling, and I know you’re probably upset, but if you would please lower your cries of indignation and put down your torches and pitchforks, I will continue my story and hopefully talk myself out of being killed by an angry mob or prosecuted for emotional animal abuse by PETA.

You see, I always become very attached to my pets, whether dogs or cats. More to the point, my pets love me without reservation, and incidentally, have shown no sign of insult or injury from my definitely not hurtful or hateful terms of endearment. Although just in case, I have put aside a small room in our house as a designated safe space for them, manned 24/7 by counseling professionals with little baby mice for comfort animals.

Pet names

As an aside, did you know this is the origin of the phrase “pet names”, as in the private, cutesy terms of endearment we might call someone we love? Literally, you are acting like a pet owner and giving that person a “pet” name. Think about that the next time you take on that high pitched, sing-songy, lovey-dovey voice and call your significant other your Sweetumrific-Sparkle-Pumpkin-Muffinpie-Crazy-Person-Holding-A-Knife. While you’re at it, you should also consider buying them a cute collar and ID tag in their favorite color as a gift. Just make sure there are no sharp kitchen utensils close at hand which might be used as a murder weapon.

Have I distracted you from wanting you to string me up yet?

The skinny

Everyone says my cats are too fat and they are right. I have been concerned about their long-term health for some time. So, after doing copious amounts of research—because that is what I do with every little thing in life requiring a decision—I have put them on a diet. If I am interpreting their loud scolding meows at mealtime properly, they are not especially enthusiastic about their smaller portions, but you’ll be glad to know that In defiance of their attitudes, the diet is slowly working and I have recently begun to see a little more energy and playfulness in them.

Remember how I, as a compassionate and loving, non-cruel pet owner, have chosen to grow in girth over the years as a showing of solidarity with my beloved, non verbally abused, yet overgrown pets? Well, to maintain the glow on my halo for sacrificially caring so deeply for my psychologically unscarred feline housemates, I can now see no option but to go on a diet myself.

Not a resolution

I don’t like making resolutions for the new year. It has always seemed a bit lame, corny and frankly illogical. I mean, why wait until a particular day of the year to make a positive change in my life? Because of this point of view, I made a resolution years ago to never make resolutions. So now, to avoid going against my principals, I am not making a resolution, but instead am making a confessolution. Yes, that is a word. I know, because I just made it up as you were reading this. In case it isn’t obvious, a confessolution entails both a recognition of a behavior I want to change and a stated commitment to change it. Is this substantively different than a standard resolution? Probably not. Does playing these semantic mind games make me feel better? Yes. Don’t judge me.

Here is the confession part. At the time of this writing, I am *cough* pounds heavier than I would like to be. By the end of the holiday season I will probably have added 5 more. For the not a resolution part, by this time next year, and hopefully much sooner, I intend to make that extra flab go away. I am going to trade in my love handles for… I can’t think of what the opposite of love handles would be, but it will be a slimmer, more aerodynamic version of myself, and decidedly not love handle-y.

Despite my obvious care and concern for my emotionally healthy cats who do not harbor deep seated resentment for the names they have been called, my decision to make this life-change isn’t entirely for them. I want to experience that renewed energy and playfulness they are showing.

An investment

As I continue to balance my day job with my voice-over business, sleep and energy are in short supply. However, how I feel has no bearing on the fact that my clients deserve my best, every time. It really is an investment into my career and my future to lose my extra girth and weight, to literally breathe a little easier, and have more to give.

Hey, that makes me wonder. Can I use a gym membership as a tax deduction?

As a bonus, it will save my cats from having to overload their little feline brains thinking up similarly loving nicknames for me based on my rotundity, like Mister Planetoid or He Who Doesn’t Feed Us Enough And Needs To Not Eat So Much Himself (Cat’s not being known for being good at coming up with terms of endearment). Now where has that counselor got to? I think I need a comfort mouse.


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11 Responses

  1. Here is my confessolution. I have just intentionally and curiously read an entire blog about cats. Cats! But I hitherto resolve to apply the hidden (see “buried far down in the earth’s crust”) message herein, and pledge to remove my own Mr. Planetoid status and invert my own love handles as well. Please pass the Comfort Mouse, as the hunger pangs have struck me early.

  2. My Maizy (Maizy Jane, Maizy Girl, Squawky-Cat, Boo-boo) enjoyed your blog, while munching on Brie & crackers—Hey, it ain’t the first YET!

    • I love the name Squawky-Cat! You’re right about it not being the first; confessolutions do not yet apply! In fact, as I write this, I am sipping on a neat bourbon while my 16 oz. steak settles into my belly.

  3. As I read this, I was strangely compelled to pack away the packet of chocolate chip biscuits I was halfway through eating.

    In my defence, we’ve run out of cheesecake.

    My confessolution is that I would like to care less about how much I weigh and be more considerate of how I feel.

    Happy New Year, Jon!

  4. Haha, my dog had just as many names! Miss him so much.

    Loved the post and I’m glad you found your motivation! Mine is a little different. Having lost the weight I’ve needed to lose, I’m actually going the opposite way – too skinny in some areas. So I’ve taken to doing more weight based exercises to build muscle – we’ll just say it happens “occasionally” or “sometimes”, avoiding big words like “Always” as the incomparable Hannah Montana once advised on a fake early morning TV show, LOL. I even tried a pushup yesterday!

    Anyhow, I hope you achieve your confessolution! 😀

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