Upon its posting, several of my German friends commented, saying "Your cat's name is Krieg?!" ("Krieg," in German, means "war.") Suffice to say, it's not a very common name for a cat. There's a reason for that.
At the beginning of my second year of college, I moved into my first apartment. While apartment-hunting, the one question that was absolutely a dealbreaker was "Do you allow cats?" I'm a cat person, aspiring to be a crazy cat lady. The landlord at my new apartment said sure, I could have a cat.
That September, I found a calico kitten on Craigslist out on a farm near Prague, Nebraska (pronounced "PRAYg"), and Spencer (who was just my friend at the time) and I took a trip to meet the little cutie.
Did you know that calico cats are almost always female? That's because the color of a cat's coat is a sex-linked trait. The X chromosome carries the trait of black and orange fur; white is a stand-alone. Since females have two X chromosomes (XX), they can be both black AND orange. Males, with only one X chromosome (XY), can only be black OR orange...unless they happen to have two X chromosomes (XXY), which occurs with about 1 in 3,000 calicos, and in humans is called Klinefelter syndrome. These males are usually sterile.
|The calico is Maryland's state cat. I'll give you one guess why.|
When we got there, I dibsed the calico immediately, but there was a little grey and white girl kitten who was also just totes 'dorbz. I felt kinda guilty that I might miss out on an awesome cat just because I was being petty about its color. They were itty-bitty-teeny-tiny, so I figured I wouldn't be breaking my lease (where I could have "a cat," singular) since the two of them together added up to one full cat. I brought them home and set about trying to find names for them.
|THEY WERE SO TINY.|
After several weeks, much hemming and hawing, and lists upon lists of ideas for matching names, I finally decided on "Stella" for the calico and "Luna" for the grey and white one. Stellaluna, for the uninitiated, is an adorable children's book about a baby fruit bat. ("Stella" is Latin for "star"; "luna," for "moon.")
|Bats are awesome, guys.|
We settled into our life together...and Luna was a pain in my ass. She was pushy, she was obnoxious, she peed on my futon and on my bed. But goddamn were the two of them cute.
|My friend Kiersten with Luna|
About three months later, I was sitting on the couch and Luna walked past. I glanced at her and froze. There were some tufts of fur near her butt that looked...suspicious. I scooped her up and gingerly prodded at them.
Luna's balls had dropped.
Apparently, this can sometimes take up to six months in cats.
I was furious. I had wanted a house full of girls, and this stupid boy cat was ruining everything. (It was now obvious why "Luna" had been peeing on everything, though.) Plus, I had put off having the "girls" spayed, since they were both indoor cats and naturally didn't pose a threat to one another, but now, I was DAMNED if I was going to have any incestuous kitty-babies running around my apartment. Plus, what the hell was I going to do about their names?!
As for getting them fixed, my mom was awesome enough to make that my Christmas present. But their names? Ugh, back to the drawing board. I didn't want to punish Stelly for her brother's dumb mistake of being born male, but what name could I match up with Stella?
You remember how I ended up renaming him "Krieg"?
Yup. My cats' names mean Star Wars.