Does Jimmy’s Cat Need to know its Name?

Posted: September 17, 2014 in World On The Edge


There are some people who know your name, but  act as if they don’t know it, then purposely don’t use it when they speak to you. Sort of a snub, I guess. Because a name is important. It’s how we identity ourselves as individual human beings.

Here’s the first page of “Jimmy’s Cat,” the seventh story in my collection, Birds of a Feather.

One of my reviewers says he, “loves the heck out of Jimmy’s Cat.” But hey, so does Jimmy–and that might be a problem to ‘Jimmy’s wife.’

Which questions will be answered in this story?

. How do you keep a cat out of a heat fight?
. Does Jimmy’s Cat need to know its name?
. Will a redneck do ‘God-knows what’ to Jimmy’s Grandmamma?
. Everyone has an identity

Click on the cover to order the book and find out.


Jimmy’s cat wasn’t born one-eyed. I heard he lost it one night in a heat fight with a big, orange-striped tom when Jimmy was twelve years old. Jimmy’s twenty-seven, now, and the vet who sewed up the cat’s eye, sewed it so tight it looks like it was never meant to see in the first place.
Jimmy’s cat didn’t have a real name. Everybody just called it Jimmy’s Cat. Jimmy’s mama called it Jimmy’s Cat. Jimmy’s grandmamma called it Jimmy’s Cat. And Jimmy’s wife, when he got married, called it Jimmy’s Cat, too.

Jimmy’s mama and grandmamma never cared too much for Jimmy’s Cat. Jimmy’s mama didn’t like when it would creep out of Jimmy’s bed in the mornings and into the kitchen, rubbing itself up against her leg while she was pouring the beat eggs into the frying pan. She’d get a scrunched-up look on her face whenever it would butt the blind side of its head to her calf like it was trying to push her out. The little, brown mole on the side of her cheek would quiver whenever Jimmy’s cat did that. And when it slid around her ankle, like a fuzzy rope trying to snag her, she’d clinch her front teeth, and curl up her lips, and just about have a hissy fit. Because Jimmy’s mama didn’t allow herself to be tied to nobody, at least nobody but Jimmy. So, if Jimmy wasn’t in the kitchen, she’d take the broom to Jimmy’s Cat and swat it outside.

Jimmy’s grandmamma didn’t find Jimmy’s Cat tolerable, either, because it liked to sleep between the tire and the fender of her car—only her car, nobody else’s— not even Jimmy’s wife’s old jalopy. So Jimmy’s grandmamma always checked under the fender before she got in to drive it. Then she checked the inside of the car, because there was no doubt some redneck maniac might be hiding in the back seat waiting to do Godknows-what to her. Finally, she’d check the tires, because one time she had a flat one smack dab in the middle of the Interstate, and had to catch a ride to the nearest filling station with a sweaty, fat man who almost talked her ear off. She said she never in her life wanted to go through an ordeal like that again, so she made it a habit to inspect the car, inside and out, before each errand and departure. And sometimes she had to scoot off Jimmy’s Cat, curled up on top of the right front wheel under the fender where nobody could have seen it, not even somebody with good eyes.

  1. There are some families in which the members are commonly referred to by their relationships to the rest of the family. For example, the eldest daughter might be nicknamed “Big Sis” by everyone. “Jimmy’s Cat” is a story about odd relationships. Part of the comic (and ultimately ironic) effect in this story is the way it uses these relationships to name all the main characters. Kaye makes it work so well here.


  2. Does Jimmy’s Cat need to know its name? As long as he knows he belongs to the one who loves him, maybe not. Maybe just knowing he’s Jimmy’s Cat is enough.


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