My wife and I adopted a Siamese kitten today and in the week before we take her home we have to find her a name. I’d long planned on Tristram or Toby Shandy (which would’ve nicely echoed Saki’s Tobermory) but my wife’s rigid gendering won’t permit it so I’ve spent the better part of the afternoon searching for alternatives. This led – as all things do – to books with cats and writers with cats and ultimately writers with Siamese cats. They were apparently very popular in the 1930s-1950s so quite a few writers of the period – Jean Cocteau especially, it seems – owned the breed.
I then remembered the above picture of Ernst Junger with a cat – and that I’d been curious in the past to figure out the name of his pet cats. I found it featured a Siamese and after a bit of creative German googling I dug out this lovely blog entry. The passage below – from Strahlungen II – unfortunately didn’t include a page citation and it would take me a few days to get the relevant volume anyway so here’s what I’ve got on his cat “Prinzessin Li-Ping:”
“The little thing is beige-coloured; head, tail, and legs are as if smoked with Chinese ink. There is a graceful exquisiteness in her, Far Eastern suppleness with suggestions of Bamboo, Silk, and Opium.”
Das Tierchen ist beigefarben; Kopf, Schwanz und Beine sind wie mit chinesischer Tusche angeraucht. Es steckt grazile Erlesenheit in ihr, fernöstliche Geschmeidigkeit mit Anklängen von Bambus, Seide, Opium
It’s a good description of ours as well but I doubt it will win me the name.