A kitty and a dead brother... what's the link?

My mom just got a new cat, yay! Unfortunately she named it after my brother who died a few years ago. This is really not normal right? You don’t name a pet after a dead child? I am I being unreasonable or is this totally not cool. I’m going with totally not cool.

I know people who’ve named a pet after Grandpa… most people lose a Grandpa way sooner than a child, though.

I named a WoW char after my dead cousin (childhood nickname).

I understand the grandpa thing or a nickname, but my brother (who was a big WOW fan) was 21, not old enough to be revered. it just sits wrong with me.

I it is… odd.

But don’t jump to too many conclusions. That’s all I got to say.

Right? It’s creepy. Most of my family will agree with me in hushed tones. How do you address it I guess is what I’m asking.

shakes her cane at broinn

My cousin was 1 year older than me, 40 when he died. Is that old enough?

My grandmother sometimes talks about Lolita the First, my mother’s older sister, who died aged 3. That makes my mother’s younger sister Lolita the Second.

My aunt Maite sometimes gets misty-eyed talking about babies, remembering her two stillborn daughters.

Search for TokyoPlayer’s threads on Pough-Chan.

For a parent, there is no such thing as a child who died “before being old enough to be revered.”

Sometimes people really, really like a certain name. Perhaps calling the new kitty by your late brother’s name will remind her of the good memories she has of your brother, and that’s why she named the cat after your brother.

My father’s brother was named Salvatore John, and my father is named John. Uncle Salvy didn’t die before my father was born, Grandma and Grandpa Bodoni just wanted to be able to call someone John, or rather, Giovanni/Johnny.

Used to be quite common to recycle names within families.


*Recycled Names
Up until this century, parents could usually count on one third of their children not surviving. If a child died, the name was often used again. If a baby died, the next child of the same sex would often be given the same name. When checking birth records, you should never stop when you find the name you are looking for. You should continue for a few more years, because the first child could have died and your ancestor could have been the second child in the family with that name. If an older child died, a younger one would often be named for him or her. If you see George in the 1850 census as a six year old and then in the 1860 census as an eight year old, it may mean the first one died shortly after the 1850 census was taken. *

Let’s not forget George Foreman, who likes his name so much that he named all of his sons after himself.

Why do you need to address it? I do agree it’s a slightly odd choice, but it’s not hurting you and if it gives your mother comfort in some way, that can only be a good thing.

If there are other signs that your mother is struggling to come to terms with your brother’s death, then I would say you might think about intervening and suggesting ways to help her, but if she’s generally coping, I would leave it be.

Maybe every time she calls the cat, she thinks of her dead son and enjoys a moment of remembrance. Maybe every time the cat does something silly, she remembers a time when her son did something silly as a child and she laughs at the memory. Maybe every time the cat comes up and purrs in her face, she remembers a time when her son ran to hug her.

Do you really want to kick up a fuss about that?

It’s strange, but at the same time sounds like she’s open to being asked about it, unlike some people for whom mentioning the name of a lost loved one is too painful to bear.

One of my sisters-in-law claims that she was not only given the same name as her dead older sibling who died as a baby, but that they never registered her birth and passed on the dead baby’s certificate to her. Or it could just be an elaborate way of claiming she’s a couple of years younger than her official age.

We had a beagle named Copper, who died of cancer, back in '01. Later that same year, we got another beagle puppy and the girls wanted to name him… Copper. I put the kibosh on that because it didn’t sit right with me – almost like it was diminishing the real Copper’s existence.

So I understand how you feel.

But, as others have said, losing a child is possibly the most painful thing a person can endure. So give your mom some slack. And, if it bugs you, come up with some nickname you can call the kitty.

It seems rather yucky to me, and I know exactly how you feel . . . but if that’s your mom’s way of dealing with your brother’s death, sort of keeping him alive through the cat, then I wouldn’t bring the subject up to her. This is her way of coping, and you should just let it be.

Thank you for the sage advice. I guess it really just bothers me, and since it’s not hurting anyone I should just let it be and call the cat “cat”.

With great care and maybe suggesting she cruise some stuff from The Compassionate Friends and other groups like that. My BIL committed suicide in his 30s and my MIL started calling me by his nickname. Not by accident here and there but as a regular thing. She needed that for a while to handle the pain; of seeing a part of him still alive in me if it was there or not. As she found other ways to cope, the need faded and I became “just me” again. And I never rejoiced at anything quite so much as that.

It sounds wrong to me, too. It sounds maybe possibly like some kind of plea for help or something, but I’m not sure. I think if you find you can go along with it, you should. But you should keep an eye open for other troubles and be aware of any need she has for more help on the subject.

I think you could make it work for you.

When you go over to see the cat, talk directly to its back half and say to your mom, " Well, X always talked out of his butt anyways…"

It’s a little creepy. I guess I can see the logic behind “recycled names” back when child mortality was common, but it seems like they’re trying to forget about the dead child by replacing them, not honor them in any way.

A little old lady I know named her new cat after me (I had helped her find a cat and get supplies). That was cool. However she kept telling people about the situation using the word “pussy” instead of the word “cat”.

So, imagine a sweet, lil ole lady telling people, “I call my pussy kayaker”. Ewwww.