Naming Mr Phibbs the Cat

The Wondrous Naming of a Lost Kitten Who Was Found

Once upon a time, a small girl in the neighborhood, named Sally, was playing near an old abandoned building, when she heard a small cry coming from the basement. She peaked down the stairwell and saw a tiny black kitten looking up at her. She climbed down and picked up the kitten. The kitten had a broken leg.

Sally felt very sorry for the poor orphaned kitten. She took him to the veterinary doctor. The doctor examined the kitten and explained that the broken leg will heal just fine without any special treatment. All the kitten needs is lots of love and care and food. So, the little girl took the kitten home. The kitten was so hungry, but the little girl did not know what to feed it. She took her lunch sandwich and opened the two pieces of bread. She took some butter on her finger and put it near the kitten’s little black nose. The kitten smelled the butter and then began to lick at it eagerly.

Sally found an old baby bottle and filled it with warm milk. The kitten was very hungry and began to suck greedily at the rubber nipple. Sally’s whole family came to see what all the fuss was about. When they saw that it was a cute little black kitten, then they were very happy and excited. Momma said “What shall we name your new fuzzy little baby?” Daddy said “I don’t know? Grandma, what do you think we should name fur-ball?” Grandma said, “Well, I don’t know either. I think we should ask Grandpa!”

Grandpa, stroked his beard for a long while, looking very wise and thoughtful. He walked over to the bookshelf and took down a large old, well-worn copy of the Bible. He spent some minutes flipping through the pages. Suddenly, his eyes opened very wide, and he plunked his finger with a loud THUMP on the page, and shouted “Mephibosheth!”

Everyone was startled. All at once they recited in unison “What is a Mephibosheth?” Grandpa explained, “It’s not a what, but a WHO! Mephibosheth was the baby of King David’s best friend, Jonathan. One day, the enemy attacked the camp-site, and a nurse-maid grabbed baby Mephibosheth and started to run to safety. But she tripped and dropped poor baby Mephibosheth and broke his leg. Finally she managed to carry the baby to safety, but the damage was already done. King David felt so sorry to see his best friend’s baby injured like that. King David decided to adopt Mephibosheth, since the father, Jonathan, had been killed during the battle. Mephibosheth was lame for the rest of his life from that injury, but he lived happily-ever-after in the palace with King David and all the royal court. So, we will call this little kitten with a broken leg Mephibosheth.”

And Sally and Mephibosheth and Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa lived happily-ever-after.

Sally said, “Oh, Grandpa! That is the most wonderful name! Except, it is way too long. I can’t be shouting Mephibosheth every other minute!”

Grandma said, “I have an idea! We can call him Mr. Phibbs for short!” Grandpa and Mom and Dad had a big smile.

Sally said, “I know! I will call him Fibsy! That has a very cute sound to it.” Sally looked down at the little kitten curled up in her lap. “So, Fibsy,” she said, “How do you like your new name and your new home?” Mr. Phibbs let out a little “Meow” and everyone started to laugh.

Within a few months, the kitten had grown into a fine young, black cat. His leg was just fine. Everyone in the neighborhood came to know and love Mephibosheth, the big black cat with the funny Bible name.


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