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Calling off the search for perfect names for kittens [For Better or Worse]

Recently, we adopted two 9-week-old kittens, sisters. The word "adorable" doesn't begin to describe them. They're mega-super-mucho-outstandingly adorable — and even that doesn't cover it.

They hadn't been here a whole day before we began showering them with everything we could so they'd be happy, healthy, and stop clawing up the couch. By noon of the second day, they were spoiled rotten and loving it. There was only one thing we couldn't manage to give them — names.

My first inclination was to give each kitty a cute girl name — Annie, Abigail, Lizzy, Fanny, Lucy and dozens more. For each name I proposed, Doug made a face like he was eating squirrel-baloney casserole. Somehow, we managed to agree on Zooey and Mia — until a few days later, when it hit me: Zooey looks like a Zooey, but Mia doesn't look anything like a Mia.

We tried going by their physical characteristics — one kitten is a gray-and-white tabby with patches of pale orange here and there. Thus, Tiger. Her sister's coat is deep brown shot through with orange hairs; she has a few nearly white spots — including on one side of her muzzle — and pale orange knee-socks on her back legs.

"Caramel? Butterscotch? Chocolate!" I would proclaim. And to each, Doug would respond, "No!" right back. Maybe he was worried I might decide to eat her.

Still, Chocolate and Tiger got a trial run. "Weren't they calling us Zooey and Mia just yesterday?" one kitten mewed to the other.

Yes, we were, darlings, I thought. But don't worry. We'll probably change our minds tomorrow. And we did.

Because the kittens are utterly inseparable, we brainstormed famous "pair names": Laverne and Shirley; Betty and Wilma; Ashley and Mary-Kate; Snooki and Jwoww. But none were quite right.

Me: Mulder and Scully, Laurel and Hardy, Rhett and Scarlet, Cheech and Chong, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Brad and Angelina, Smokey and the Bandit, Currier and Ives, Mork and Mindy?

Doug: "Now you're just being silly.

Then someone suggested Salt and Pepper. I liked Pepper; but Salt, not so much. So we went with Pepper and Sugar (for the tabby with the all-white belly). That led to Sugar and Spice. But Spice was too generic, so that became Cinnamon. Cinnamon and Sugar! Perfect! For about two days.

Then we tried literature, mythology, history and the Bible.

Cleopatra and Isis? Too serious.

Athena and Daphne? Not quite. Bathsheba and Delilah? Desdemona and Lady Macbeth? All too weighty for little kittens. Plus, I can't spell most of them.

From the kittens' personalities we dreamed up Frisky, Sweetie, Lovey-dovey and Stinky (after one particular kitten food did not agree with them).

By the end of week one, both kitties had nervous tics and neither one looked up no matter what we called them. I knew if we didn't settle on a couple of names soon, both would need a veterinary psychologist to deal with some serious identity issues.

Besides, I couldn't keep track of their names from one day to next anymore. I told Doug either we needed a dry-erase board for posting the kittens' names along with the date; or we had to make a decision and stick with it. Which is how we arrived at Sugar Pie for the tabby and … and …. "Hey, Doug! What'd we name the brown kitty again?"

Right; we call her Cocoa Chanel. Doug just came in and said, "What about ...?" I rolled my eyes and Cocoa gave a dear little meow, as if to say, "Oh, no. Here we go again."

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