Thursday, March 17, 2011


The naming of cats is a difficult matter--T.S. Eliot, 
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

It was indeed a holiday game coming up with a name for this little, soon to be big, Birman.  I had suggested Pierre-Henri, Paco, Diego and Blaise; Yo-Yo, Sparky, Maximo and Enzo--but his young mistress settled the question, and for family purposes the chocolate-nosed ball of fur curls his tail to the sound of Pompon.

un pompon:  a pompom
pomponner: to doll up; to dress up

Popular Expressions
à vous le pompon:  to you the advantage; you win
avoir son pompon:  to have too much to drink; in times past, simply to be happy
décrocher le pompon: to win, to be first place; literally to detach the pompon, as on a merry-go-round to win a free ride

C'est le pompon:  It's the last straw.
Il tient le pompon:  He takes the cake.
C'est le pompon de la pomponnette :  It's the end-all.  That beats everything.

French Canadian Expressions
en avoir ras le pompon:  to be exasperated, fed up
se calmer le pompon:  to calm down

It used to be said that to touch the red pompon on a French sailor's beret brought good luck.

By the way and quite coincidentally with the title of this post,  Aka Birman is a set of conditioning movements in Burmese martial arts where the combat sequence is performed without an adversary, with or without arms. Our Pompon is a chocolate-point Sacré de Birmanieor Birman, and practices this sport.

For T.S. Eliot's poem, The Naming of Cats, click here.

French drama
A seven-minute film clip from the 1967 Marcel Pagnol film, La Femme du Boulanger, where the reconciliation beween the baker and his younger, errant wife coincides with the return of his black cat, Pomponnette. To view, click here.

Text& photo ©2011 P.B. Lecron


  1. If that isn't the most adorable cat in France I can't imagine who is! Sweet kitty, the naming of a cat is serious stuff indeed.

  2. And the nickname for one of Louis XV's daughters! Purrfect name for a purrfect lady.