It's nice to know my hairy companion has such an illustrious namesake.

My cat's name is Egbert. When I got him his name was Shylo (Shilo? Shiloh?), which sounded a bit too much like Shylock to me. I've always liked the word egg; it's the sound of it in English I think, which seems to match perfectly with its smooth self-contained referent. Then there's Englebert Humperdinck, whose name, along with much else about him, could not be more ridiculous. So I liked saying his name for a while too, just for the sheer absurdity of it. Then I got in a jag for a while of saying the word Egbert, as a kind of mid-point between egg and Englebert, and then I got a cat, and I didn't know what to call him, and since Egbert kept springing to my lips, that became his name, by default, as it were.

Egbert is my first all-my-own cat, as opposed to the family cats I grew up with. I'd wanted one for a long time, but I was alway so itinerant that it didn't seem right. Finally, after a remarkable two years in one location, I saw a sign in the mail room of my apartment that said "Free to a good home" etc etc. The woman who had him had a new boyfriend who was allergic, and she chose to keep the boyfriend - go figure! I phoned to ask her all these questions about him (the cat, not the boyfriend); my biggest concern was that he would have to be an indoor cat, because I live in an apartment on the third floor. She assured me he was used to that. I forgot to ask if he was a long-haired or short-haired cat, though. The last thing I said to my boyfriend as I left to go meet the cat was, "If he has long hair, I'm not going to take him."

Of course, he has very long hair indeed, and it permeates my life now, but what could I do? He was obviously lonely and in need of a good home, just like the sign said. And now he has one, with me.