I don't think it has yet caught on in Britain, where they call the garment a "dinner jacket". Somehow "dinner jacket cat" doesn't seem right. But clearly the same idea was in T.S. Eliot's mind when he created "Bustopher Jones: Cat about town (in white spats)" for Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. (We'll forgive Eliot his curmudgeonliness about the word "television" for his obvious love of felines.)
|Illustrations by Edward Gorey, 1982|
Perhaps "Bustopher Jones cat" should be the term adopted by the British (if you are British, please let me know if you do have a name for this kind of cat).
The earliest evidence I have been able to find for the term "tuxedo cat" is from 1979:
"She works on a seven-year-old black-and-white tuxedo cat named Marcel."
New York Magazine, 10 Dec. 1979, p. 126,
but the word "tuxedo" goes further back.
It is said that a young scion of the wealthy with the improbable name Griswald Lorillard showed up in a tailless jacket in 1886 at the annual debutante ball at the posh Tuxedo Park country club about an hour north of New York City. The fashion, however, possibly dated from as early as 1865, when the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) apparently favoured it at Sandringham. Whatever the origins of the garment, by 1889 it was being called a "tuxedo coat" or "tuxedo jacket", shortened a couple of decades later to "tuxedo". Of course, this more informal way of dressing did not meet with everyone's approval:
I'm happy to announce that another tuxedo cat is now in residence at Chateau Wordlady, having adopted me at the end of the summer.
Here he is:
At first I thought of naming him "Balanchine" to reflect his resemblance to the male dancers' costumes in some of George Balanchine's ballets:
|Robert Tewsley and Nao Sakuma in Symphony in Three Movements|
He is now officially "Minkus", but perhaps "Balanchine cat" would be another appropriate name (at least among balletomanes) for this colour pattern. (If you love Balanchine, you might want to check out my upcoming ballet trips to Paris and Amsterdam, New York, San Francisco, and Saratoga Springs).
Finally, we cannot leave this topic without mentioning the most famous tuxedo cat of all: Sylvester. Sufferin' succotash!
For the origins of the word "tabby", click here.
For "marmalade", click here.
For "ginger", click here.
For "Tom", click here.
For "calico", click here.
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