How would you feel if your Mother-in-Law named her kitten after your child? Well, that’s the topic posted to Mumsnet, an internet forum for parents. Someone’s post using the handle JKT007 has made Newsweek after inspiring hundreds of responses.
Here’s the post:
“Am I being unreasonable thinking it’s very odd that my [Mother-in-Law] MIL named her kitten the same name as our son, her grandson?”
Follow-up comments gave more context, including that the grandson is one year old.
“For context – I have a really great relationship with my MIL, dont get me wrong tho, she can be very overbearing at times, but I’m a pretty relaxed kind of person whom very rarely sweats the small stuff, but for some reason, this just hit different and felt not quite right to me. I would never ask her to change it or let it affect our relationship, just want to know peoples thoughts on it.”
On another thread, they clarify that the MIL “announced it on Facebook.”
In response, registered users on the site could vote “You are being unreasonable” or “You are NOT being unreasonable.”
According to the responses thus far, only 26% responded “you are being unreasonable,” while 74% thought they were not. In total, 1420 people voted. But, what if the truth is not one or the other but a mixture?
Mother-in-Law ‘Slammed’ For How She Named Her Kitten
According to Newsweek’s assessment, the response “slammed” the Mother-in-Law for naming a cat after her grandson.
In another comment, the user elaborated, and it seems they took some offense.
“She announced it on Facebook. I haven’t actually spoken to her since because I’m just not sure what to say. On one hand, I’m thinking I don’t want to say something I may regret, and on the other hand, I’m like, this is f***ing odd to me! I would never name my pet after a family member, and none of my friends or family have had this happen to them, so I’m unsure how to broach the subject.”
However, a closer look reveals the kneejerk “slamming” often encouraged online isn’t the whole story. Keep in mind, that you’re reading this on a site where cats are most definitely family.
People Weigh In on Naming a Cat After Someone
Many people weighed in on the topic of naming a cat after a loved one. Unlike the vote results, some comments suggested not taking it so seriously.
For example, one person commented:
“What bad thing will happen as a result of this? Nothing, I bet. I bet your DS will grow up thinking it is cool he shares a name with his gran’s cat.”
Another person said:
“I’m guessing she’s an odd duck to begin with, but anyway, I wouldn’t lose sleep about it. It just doesn’t matter, and there’s nothing you can do about it anyway. Let it go.”
Likewise, someone said:
“I think it’s cute. Is it a sign of just how much she loves her grandson?”
And, another person humorously said:
“I wouldn’t worry about it. Cats are notoriously bad at remembering their own names. Worst case scenario is both occasionally turn up when you call; other than that, you won’t notice.”
Some People Found it Very Odd
In contrast, other people did find it disconcertingly odd and even insulting.
“It’s very, very odd. You don’t have to be very imaginative to understand that some new parents would find that insulting, so… Just why? With all the millions of other options available, why that name?” said one person.
On the other hand, the same person added they’d like to know the MIL’s motivation.
“I think you’re right to ignore it, but obviously, it’s a weird thing for her to have done. If she did it as some sort of tribute or because she loves saying your child’s name, surely she’d mention that the first time she told you the kitten’s name. To just announce the name with no explanation is quite something. I’d be very curious about her motivation, but it’s probably better not to ask.”
Likewise, the original poster, JKT007, wanted to know the MIL’s motivation first:
“I definitely think she could have spoken to us about it, and I think that is what upset me too,” they said. According to them they “would have been respectful and told her my thoughts and gone from there. I think in the back of my mind there is the that thought of what’s your motivation behind it,” they wrote.
Later, they added that the MIL is “very much loved,” and they would never treat her with disrespect.
Why She Named Her Kitten After a Loved One
Perhaps the Mother-in-Law’s intent and motivation here are key? Also, what will the grandson think? What if naming the kitten after her grandson was genuinely an innocent show of affection and endearment? To her, perhaps she intended no disrespect; rather, the opposite? After all, to some people, their furbabies are adored to the Moon and back.
To many people, pets are full-fledged family members, while others may not hold animals in such high esteem. So, what’s disrespectful to one person might be taken as a harmless or endearing gesture by another. We have a feeling the grandson may find it fun to interact with his namesake kitten. Besides, we all know cats end up being called 1,000,000 nicknames anyway.
If so, then while acknowledging it’s certainly a little strange, could it also be taken with good humor and as intended? Too often, we take things too seriously until we learn the true motivator. Of course, one would have to know the Mother-in-Law in question to know for sure. What do you think?
Full disclosure: The author of this piece named a beloved dog for a grandfather who had passed away many years previously. Although some relatives questioned it, his grandmother subsequently decided the dog, Rufus deserved to be allowed into her house for visits. Daily, the name was heard again, bringing back many wonderful memories. Thus, the loved one took it as intended – honorably in the full spirit of tribute and loving memory.