Some backstory

Last night I was posting hastily, in order to hurry back downstairs and make sure Sébastian hadn’t escaped via the chimney. And, trust me, he did try at one point last night. So here is what I know of his past, and why he is called what he is called.

He was brought in to the RSPCA Little Valley Shelter on 20th January this year. He was a stray, but was wearing a red velvet collar. He had been run over, and suffered a fractured pelvis. No one came to collect him. He’s about four years old, and has been recovering steadily. when I first saw him he was washing himself and looking deeply uninterested in the person peering into his pen. After I filled in paperwork, I was allowed to handle him, at which point he did become interested in me and at which point Cruella became known to me.

Unsurprisingly, when you decide to tour all the cat shelters in the area of a Sunday afternoon you notice the same people coming to each one, as we all look for a cat to adopt. Cruella had been at the Cat’s Protection place out towards Woodbury, and suddenly she was in the cat shed at Little Valley. She wanted Sébastian because her previous cat had died two weeks ago and Sébastian was a grey tabby just as her previous cat had been. The trouble was, I’d filled in the paperwork. Back to the office to get the duty manageress’s opinion on my application and there was the inevitable “um” when they realised I live on a busy road, especially given Sébastian’s previous history with traffic. So I sketched in the gardens at the back, and they decided to at least visit before rejecting my application. Whilst I’m still in the office, going through some paperwork, Cruella talks to the duty manageress and talks about how she lives in a quiet lane. I know Cruella wasn’t really after him for his silver tabby coat but because she wants a replacement for the cat she has just lost. But don’t try to gazump me when I’m standing right there!

The paperwork said I’d hear about the appointment for the home visit within 72 hours. Atfer 48, and with no contact, my paranoia kicks in. Cruella, I think, was listening to my conversation. She knows my name and address. She has, obviously, phoned them and cancelled the application by pretending to be me. Thankfully, a few hours later, the RSPCA phoned about a home visit. The next day he was mine, and yesterday he came home. Today, he has been investigating the rest of the house. He has scratched the sofa, scratched me (he is already posessive over his mouse) and tried to crawl under the wardrobe. And tried to climb the chimney in my bedroom.

The Naming of the Cat
As TSEliot pointed out, The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter. It isn’t just one of your holiday games. So Sébastian’s name has been pondered.

He was brought in to the shelter on 20th January which is the feast of Saint Sébastian. As the name has that cute little accent on the e, and they have a Spanish assistant there, I think the name was deliberately that of the saint. Sebastian was the one who was shot with lots of arrows, who survived but was then beaten to death. Curiously enough, the artwork involving Sebastian tends to focus on the arrows business (and made him into a gay icon). Also appropriate for a cat who has survived a trama.

I was assuming I’d get a cat called Tiddles or Socks or something equally uninventive and I therefore planned to rename my new cat using Russian novelists and poets. Boris, Nikolai, Ivan, and so on…Names you could call with relish when you’re trying to get the cat to come in of an evening and the neighbours are sniggering at you. But I like Sébastian; it suits him, it rolls off the tongue well when called and so it stays.

I’m going to cause problems at the vets with all these accents on the names*. He’s a very European cat. Due to the state of uncertainty Sébastian was in this last week, he is obviously a Schrödinger cat.

My vets uses the family name as the pet’s family name. This makes sense if you have, for example, three different cats all called Tiddles in your waiting room. The Current Ex suggested my vets were strange for this, but Carrie confirms that her vets do it as well. Is it common practise then?

*for anyone wondering, the UK keystrokes are:
é = ALT+0233
ö = ALT+0246

I’d better see if he’s tried to crawl under the wardrobe again.

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