I was recently asked about how I came up with the names for my cats. Well, here is the exact question:
"Let me see, the first thing I really *really* want to know is how you came up with your pets' name, Az. Sunny is a great dog name. I never heard it before, though I do know a Sunny (female humanoid, that is) and how did you come up with Azar? Is it why you are called Azahar? Very curious, pray tell!..."
And I wrote the following reply. Just thought I'd keep it here for easy reference in case anyone ever asks me about this again.
Sunny is a cat with a doggy character. I think something to do with him being Burman/Siamese. I adopted his mother in Salamanca when she was two years old - the crankiest thing on four paws! But I loved her anyhow. Then I mated her with a huge male Burman and out of the resulting four kittens I kept one - the one that, after they started walking, I would always find waiting in front of the door when I came home (sweet!).
Anyhow, his mother was called Lua (which means Moon in Portuguese or Gallego) and so when I ended up with this little puppy/kitten I was looking for some exotic sounding name in another language for 'sun', so as to have the moon and the sun as my cats. But I couldn't think of one so I decided to use Sunny as a 'milk name' until I could find something better. But in the end the name stuck as it turned out that he really did have a sunny personality and the name suited him so well. Here is a pic of Lua - a photo portrait created by Mudhooks after she died in September 2004. And that's 'baby Sunny' playing with her weird half-tail.
Meanwhile, Azar . . . well. I had kind of adopted a street cat here in Seville about 12 years ago. He just turned up one day - gorgeous black thing, long and sleek with amazing green eyes. And very affectionate. I called him Cat (after Holly Golightly's cat in Breakfast at Tiffany's) and he ended up also becoming the 'mascot' of the bar across the street. I'd buy the food but everybody who worked at the bar would feed him and he was always welcome. Then one day he disappeared and I didn't see him again for about two weeks - then I found him hanging out in a square not far from here with his pregnant girlfriend! So of course I named her Holly.
Well, Cat was not looking well at this point. I think he'd got into a fight and his eyes were damaged. And although I fed him antibiotics every day one day he just wasn't there anymore and I never saw him again.
Meanwhile, I kept going to feed Holly and about a few weeks later she gave birth to six kittens - two tabbys like her, two black ones like Cat and two black 'n white ones (obviously some other dude's). And I kept up going to feed her every day. But after the kittens started walking around I noticed that one by one they were disappearing! Someone was killing them off! I remember one day going to feed Holly and finding a little tabby kitten head in the gutter - it was awful. And so finally there was just one kitten left - a little black one (one of Cat's).
And then one day I found him with his left front leg all broken and bent and bleeding - obviously the same horrid person had tried to kill him too. Unlike Cat, Holly and the kittens had never let me touch them, they were quite wild street cats. So I reckoned this poor little thing was a goner. But eventually the leg healed (though it remained bent like a hockey stick) and I kept telling myself there was no way no day I could have *three* cats in my apartment.
Well, you guessed it. Finally I just couldn't stand it anymore. I knew he would never survive in the street with only three usable legs - especially as he wouldn't be able to defend himself. So one day I went and caught him (no small feat) and took him home. And it took him living with me for three months before he'd let me touch him, though now (he just turned 11) he is the most affectionate thing ever.
And I named him Azar, which means chance or happenstance in Spanish, which seems to suit him very well.
And yes, it's very similar to my hootoo nickname and pronounced almost the same - 'athar'. My name is actually pronounced 'athaar' with a slight dipthong on the last syllable.
My nickname means orange blossom - my favourite flower since I moved to Seville as there are orange trees everywhere. And when the azahar is in blossom in the spring all the streets totally smell like heaven.
Here's a photo of my two boys - they are truly best mates
Meanwhile, my nickname got shortened to 'az' by someone on the God Thread shortly after I joined here. I guess typing out 'azahar' was too much trouble. Anyhoodle, that one stuck as well. And at least everyone knows how to pronounce 'az'!