Friday, February 17, 2012

Feline Friday - The Nipopo Origin Story!

Nipo Ball!
How Nipo found us...

We were living on Central Avenue in Greenville, SC and there was a neighborhood cat named Mr. Nibbles (henceforth Mister). By all accounts, Mister was a badass.  He always had claw marks and scabs and scars. One time I saw that he’d netted a squirrel.  A squirrel?!  Squirrels seem like they’d be a tough take down for a house cat. Aren’t they "big", wily and smart?  Apparently not tough enough to avoid Mister. The flip side of this is that he was super friendly. He was the sweetest cat…towards people.

Around this time, late October 2009, a stray cat started coming around our house. She was really skittish. We coaxed her into the apartment one time, but she quickly bolted. Many nights she slept in a box with a blanket that we’d put outside our door. It was starting to get cold, and as it turned out, Mister and this stray cat got along like oil-and-water, or, well, like … cat-and-dog…but they’re both cats. Anyway, Mister made this stray cat's life sheer hell. Chased her, beat up on her, etc. And this poor little stray was spending nearly 24/7 just curled up in a ball in this cardboard box, afraid to do much of anything.

So we named this stray Nya-chan, because of the way she meowed, which sounded a lot like Neeeeeeeeyaaaa. Chan is the term you use for Japanese girls, or children.

But the surprises weren’t over, because it turned out that Nya-chan wasn’t a stray at all, but belonged to our neighbors.  Nya-chan had had some kittens, she lived with one of the kittens, but being the kind of kitty that Nya-chan was, she didn’t like her daughter. So she refused to live inside with her daughter. Nya-chan is very smart, but she’s nothing if she isn’t awfully stubborn. We worked it out with the neighbor--with a little bit of drama--but now Nipo is ours (or we’re hers, depending on your stance). And, one last bitty bit of info is that once she had a home base, she chased Mister away. She just needed a bit of backing from us for her to become the badass. As a sidenote, Mister is an awesome cat, just not nice to other cats.

So you’ve probably figured out that this stray cat is our little Nipo. Curious about the evolution of her name?
Japanese Nipopo Figurine
  • First her name was Nya-chan
  • But Nya-chan was tough to say.
  • She also makes this cute little ‘prrr-po, prrr-po” sound, which is like the sound that pigeons make in Japanese “po-po”
  • So her name became Nya-popo
  • But that was a difficult sound for Americans, too.
  • So she became Nipopo (nickname, Nipo), which also happens to be the name of a type of carved Japanese figurine.

One of the first Nipo pictures, at our 108D Central Avenue Apartment
 She’s a cute one, our Nipo.

Do you have a cute kitty origin story, or a cute kitty story?

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