On the Cats and their Names

Have you ever been too tired to sleep? Maybe it's just the achiness. Maybe.

My grandmother has never been able to tell the cats apart. Woody, Percy, Galahad, they might as well be the same cat as best she can tell. She knows there's more than one cat, though while she's aware that there are more than one cat in the house she's unable to assign the right name to a particular cat. One cat might be sleeping on the living room couch, and she'll think that the cat sleeping on a dining room chair is the same cat, that he'd gotten up and followed her into a different room, and then she'll express surprise that the cat has followed her back into the living room and hopped up on the couch, when all along Galahad has been asleep in the dining room and Percy asleep in the living room and no one has moved anywhere. The personalities are different. The appearances are different. Yet, she cannot tell them apart.

(For what it's worth my own sister cannot tell them apart, either. But then, she doesn't live with them every day. I can't tell her cats apart–I know there are two of them, but I can't assign the names to the right cat.)

Despite my grandmother's inability to differentiate between the cats there's always been one constant–she called all of the cats “Percy.” It's the one name onto which she could fasten. Didn't matter which cat it was, she would call it “Percy.” And one time out of three, she'd be right.

Recently this has changed. I'd picked up on the change about a week ago, and made no remark upon it. This evening, though, I really noticed what she was calling the cats.

“Percy” has become “Perky.”

(At the risk of unmitigated geekdom, the thought going through my mind right now is, “You know you've read too much Philip K. Dick when….” If you don't get the reference I won't explain it. ;) )

It's bothersome, to hear the one name she had a grasp on mutate into something else.

For what it's worth, Percy seems not to mind his new “name.” He's passed out most of the time, anyway. :)

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