Cats of Celebrities

Naming your special kitty can be a challenge. Many a cat breeder searches through name lists and considers countless possibilities before settling on the perfect name for their next show prospect.

The rich and famous (or infamous) of both today and days gone by also enjoy naming their feline compancions creatively.

Author Mark Twain, creator of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, deliberately chose unusual names for his cats, Blatherskite, Beelzebub, Appollinaris, Sour Mash, and Zoroaster, "to practice the children in large and difficult styles of pronunciation." Trendy fashion designer Marc Jacobs of Louis Vuitton has a cat named Rover. Toronto Blue Jays baseball star Brian McRae calls his two felines Monster and O-Fer (as in "0-for-one"). The Prophet Mohammed cherished his cat, Muezza.

Decorating maven Martha Stewart calls her Himalayans Teeney, Weeney, Verdi, Vivaldi, Beethoven, and Mozart. Nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale had more than 60 cats through her life - all named after famous men of her day, such as Gladstone, Disraeli, and Bismarck. Las Vegas real-estate magnate Robert Bigelow dubbed his 3 Abys Taxes, Mortgage, and Writeoff.

Billy Crystal has a tuxedo cat named Mittens who the actor claims, "enjoys fishing and computer programming." Basketball great Wilt Chamberlain gave his identical black cats names as short as he is tall: Zip and Zap. Actress Cassandra Peterson named her cats in keeping with her persona as TV's Elvira, Mistress of the Dark: Hecate and Renfeld Dracu. Debbie Fields (the Mrs. Fields of Mrs. Fields Cookies) called her cat Boo Dyes when her daughter couldn't pronounce Blue Eyes. (And yes, she finally succumbed to temptation and dubbed a dog Cookie!)

And Sir Isaac Newton took a few minutes away from his pursuit of higher mathematics to invent the cat-flap for his favorite feline, Spithead. The Long-time New Yorker cartoonist George Booth's own cats Gerbones, Groucho, Dr. Hackenpuss, Savor-Tooth, Pippers, and Sir John Rumpalo have often appeared in his drawings - although in distinctively odd disguises! Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, gave his own cats ordinary names (Sarah and Freddy), saving his devilish creativity for Catbert, the evil human relations director, in his popular syndicated cartoon.

And the talk hosts all seem to have cat as part of their family. Jay Leno has his cat, Cheeseler; Jane Pauley confides in Meatball; Ricki Lake shares her home with 2 kitties, Annie and Molly; Sally Jessy Raphael talks up Chang Mai and Sheba; and Cokie Roberts discusses the day's events with her cat Tobasco. Katie Couric shares her evenings with Frank the feline.

Christina Ricci tells her secrets to a Himalayan named Zert. Steve Martin solicits feedback from his cat, Dr. Carlton B. Forbes; Lily Tomlin runs new routines by Winston, and rock musician Eddie Van Halen and actress Valerie Bertinelli named their cat George. (With a bit more imagination, they named their son Wolfgang).

Long-stemmed blondes Bo Derek and Linda Evans share more than a history of romantic attachment to the same man: they both have cats named She. Glamorous women have always been drawn to the grace and style of cats, and actresses are no exception. Victoria Principal has cats named Terra Catta and Buns; Suzanne Somers purrs with Chrissy (and, at last report, two goldfish named Bif and Muffy).

French author Colette spoke for all cat lovers when she said, "There are no ordinary cats." And, I would add, there should be no ordinary cat names, either!

Your cat can be a star!

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