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 want Tristram or (Saki’s) Tobermory but can’t find a taker 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 fashionable 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 doesn’t fix the name problem.
Edit after the fact: We went with Circe. Largely because I spent the first few nights sleeping on the floor with her to comfort her – an endpoint akin to the power of Circe’s wand to turn men to animals.