What’s In A Name?

That which we call a cheese… by any other name, it would still be kinda smelly.

What? I hear echoing in this sparse and empty blog. This is the origin story of my beautiful cat, Katiki. Or, the origin of her name.

Katiki the morning after I found her post-bath, 2008.


Most of you here know how I came to rescue my beloved kitten. To cut a very long story short, she meowed for her mother, hours one hot summer night and I couldn’t help but to look for the distressed meowing creature.


How she came about her name was the greatly influenced by my total lack of ability to name pets imaginatively. It’s a family trait – my grandmother names her cat according to the colour and state of the animal. A white cat was called ‘Tih’, which was short for ‘Putih’ which meant White. A cat with a stubby tail was called ‘Tot’, which was short for ‘Kontot’, which meant, well, short. A black cat…. you get the picture. I was stumped, and while trying to figure out a unique name for her, I ended up calling her Nekokucing, which was an amalgamation of the Japanese and Malay word for cat. Yeap, I couldn’t think of one suitable name.

George has always wanted to call a pet ‘Feta’ (after the cheese, yes). I was not quite totally incapable of making a decision, and vetoed the name. A few weeks earlier I was introduced to a rather soft cheese that went really well with spicy chicken curry, called Katiki Domokou.

A small tub of Katiki cheese.

A compromise was reached. I was learning Greek then (oh, more than 5 years ago!), and the suffix -iki/-aki at the end of a word usually denotes the ‘little’ of the word – example, kremmidaki (onion), souvlaki, and so on. (Or so I was taught to believe all this time.) So, since the first three letters of the name is KAT (cat), I am quite happy with the illusion that I will be calling my cat ‘little cat’ in a rather weird mixed-up language wise way.

The 2 loves of my life enjoying the fire in cold winter

And so, thats how Katiki got her name.

Although I can verily admit now that she really is named after the cheese. No point in deluding myself. I have never been good with names, anyhows.

Katiki in 2011

On a side note: In August 2011 I actually took Katiki on the train all the way to Thessaloniki to visit her giagia (my mother-in-law) and we had a short stop at Domokos, the place where the cheese is produced. Interesting, no? Katiki Domokou has a website, but its only in Greek. If you can read Greek, bravo. If you can’t, well, look out in the next few weeks, I will be uploading 2 recipes that utilises Katiki (the cheese, not the cat!) on the Airinie Cooks blog.


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