Aziraphale wasn’t actually a ‘cat person’, but that was because Aziraphale wasn’t actually a person at all. That all being said, for as long as having pets had been a thing, Aziraphale had a cat.
The first one Crawley noticed was a tan one with massive ears that weaved around Aziraphale’s ankles as they watched animals load onto the ark.
“Looks like they missed more than just the unicorn, angel,” Crowley said, pointing to the furry creature that had taken to lying curled on Aziraphale’s feet.
“Whatever do you mean?”
“You’ve got a cat on your feet, Aziraphale.”
“Oh, her?” the angel asked, picking up the cat and petting behind its ears. “No, she’s mine.”
“Yours?” Crawley repeated.
“Yes!” Aziraphale said, pulling the animal closer. “It’s this new thing they’ve been doing around here, keeping cats around. Usually, it’s to get rid of pests and all that, but I’ve found that they make wonderful companions.”
“So what?” Crawley asked. “You… feed it? Keep it inside?”
“Something like that,” Aziraphale agreed. “Although I have found that you can’t really control them, not like you can with dogs.”
“What’s her name, then?” Crawley asked.
“Oh,” Aziraphale said, blinking. He hadn’t thought of that. He supposed it made sense, seeing as the cat lived with him, and ate with him, and sat next to the fire with him, and was, now that Aziraphale thought about it the closest thing he had to a real friend , Crawley himself not-withstanding (and really, Crawley wasn’t his friend , he was his… adversary, his rival , an enemy he’d met with exactly twice in the past thousand years, so). “I suppose her name is Cat.”
“That’s a terrible name.”
“Well my apologies for not meeting your cat naming standards ! I’ll have you know I’ve never named a cat before!”
(Aziraphale had never named anything before, actually.)
“Well you’ve got to do better than cat, angel,” Crawley countered.
Aziraphale didn’t point out the fact that Crawley calling him angel was just the same as Aziraphale calling Cat cat because he was, in fact, the nice one , and therefore didn’t purposefully embarrass people.
“It’s too late, now,” he said instead, scratching Cat under the throat. “I’ve already made it official.”
Crawley rolled his eyes at him but didn’t mention Cat’s name again.
Aziraphale did, however, heed the demon’s advice. Cat was too generic. It could mean any cat in the world, and while Aziraphale was fond of cats in general, he was more fond of his cats in particular.
The issue, however, came in coming up with a name .
Angels, as a species, are not known for their creativity, and while Aziraphale was certainly a different sort of angel (the sort of angel who liked sushi and books and musicals and one specific demon and, in this case, cats) he was still a bit lacking in the originality department.
As such, when Aziraphale was next presented with the opportunity to name a cat (after Cat’s tragic and yet inevitable demise at the ripe old age of fifty-seven) (Aziraphale hadn’t expected Cat to die any sooner than a human would, so she simply didn’t ) he’d chosen a name that he was already quite familiar with.
And thus began the story of Crawley-The-Cat Fell.
The first Crawley-The-Cat was a lovely Egyptian Mau, whose swaying walk and bright golden eyes had been nothing short of inspirational when it came to the naming process. Crawley (of the non-cat variety) never met his first feline counterpart, which was something of a blessing and a curse, depending on who you asked, for if he had , there most definitely would’ve never been a second Crawley-The-Cat.
But there was, although this time around her name was Crawley-Who-Doesn’t-Purposefully-Step-On-The-Back-Of-My-Sandals Fell, called Sandals for short.
(They’d met in Giza, and Aziraphale had almost lost his benevolent angelic patience with the demon, who insisted he’d done absolutely nothing wrong—Sandals had been adopted not a week later, and Aziraphale was most definitely not still upset about it, at all .)
Then there was Crowley-Who-Doesn’t-Encourage-The-Murder-Of-Roman-Conquerers Fell, followed shortly after by Crowley-Not-Crawley Fell, who Aziraphale still often called Crawley, but really, who could blame him? If you use a name for 4,000 years, it takes a while for people to get used to calling you something else. It certainly wasn’t Aziraphale’s fault.
There was Crowley-Who-Appreciates-Oysters Fell (called Oysters), and Crowley-Who-Doesn’t-Convert-Roman-Conquerors-To-Christianity-As-A-Joke Fell (called Constantine), and Crowley-Who-Doesn’t-Propose-Ridiculous-Dangerous-Treasonous-And-All-Togther-Absurd-And-Terrible-Plans Fell (called anything from Terry to Really-The-Nerve to simply a collection of frustrated huffs and sighs and mutterings).
It took another few hundred years before any of Aziraphale’s cats actually met their namesake.
Aziraphale had invited Crowley over for drinks one evening in the early years of the 11th century when Crowley had said, “Oh, hello,” as she crawled her way into his lap and began insistently nudging his hand with her head. “Who’s this, then? Cat The Second?”
“No,” Aziraphale huffed. “That’s—well, that’s—”
“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten to name this one, too.”
Aziraphale narrowed his eyes at the demon sitting across from him. “Her name ,” he said resolutely, “Is Merry.”
(It wasn’t technically a lie—Aziraphale did, in fact, call the cat Merry more often than not.)
“Mary? As in, Yeshua’s mum, Mary?”
“No,” Aziraphale corrected automatically, “As in, the Americas .”
Crowley choked on his wine. “Why on earth would you name a cat after a couple of bloody continents?”
“Must you always judge my pets?”
“Must you always give them such awful names?” Crowley countered.
“Merry is a lovely name—”
“It’s really not.”
“Well I can’t very well call her Crowley-Who-Didn’t-Accidentally-Tell-The-Norse-That-The-Americas-Exist all the time, now can I?”
Crowley looked like he was about to discorporate.
“ Crowley-Who-Didn’t —what the absolute blessed fuck , Aziraphale?”
Aziraphale sniffed and simply took another drink of his wine.
“I mean—really you—it was eighty years ago —”
“You knew as well as I did that it was supposed to be the Spanish who discovered the Americas!” Aziraphale argued. “Do you know how much work it’s going to be to get this all sorted out? How much paperwork I’m going to have to do because you got drunk with that Erikson fellow—”
“That doesn’t mean you passive-aggressively name a cat after me, Aziraphale!”
“Well there’s nothing that can be done about it now,” the angel replied primly. “I quite like Merry’s name, actually, and I don’t plan on changing it simply because you don’t.”
“It’s my name —”
“How unfortunate,” Aziraphale interrupted. “Now, I rather think she’d like you to pet her, my dear.”
Crowley glared at him but obliged.
The first cat to live at A.Z. Fell and Co. was Crowley-Who-Didn’t-Forget-To-Bring-Bread-For-The-Ducks Fell, and he was taking to his new appointment as official bookshop cat with gusto.
So far he’d killed three mice, twelve moths, and scratched the hand of one customer who’d had the gall to actually try and make off with one of Aziraphale’s books .
By that point, Crowley had begrudgingly accepted Aziraphale’s naming habits, and had actually formed a truce with whichever Cat-Crowley was currently taking up residence with the angel.
Crowley provided the cat with treats, and in return, the cat ceded the title of Best Crowley to the demon.
(At least, that’s what the demon thought was the deal—as far as all the cats were concerned, the demon was simply earning the right to use their name.)
“Really, Crowley, I can’t thank y—”
“Don’t, angel,” Crowley said.
Aziraphale pouted at him as he sat the box of chocolates Crowley had given to him down on the counter. “Well, there must be something —”
“Stop naming all your bloody cats—”
“Something else , dear.”
Crowley glared at him in a way Aziraphale could only describe as glarefully .
He didn’t care. He rather liked the fact that all of his cats were named after his— Crowley . For one thing, though Aziraphale would never admit it, it was quite fun to watch the demon get so riled up every time he was introduced to another one of Azirphale’s feline companions. For another, it…
Sometimes, Aziraphale got lonely .
That much seemed fair enough. He’d existed on earth for six thousand years , and it was rather difficult to maintain meaningful and lasting relationships with creatures who had the comparative lifespan of a mayfly.
His only constant companion was Crowley, and even he popped in only once every century or so (although he had been turning up with more frequency lately).
So maybe he named his cats after the only other creature with whom he had a real relationship. That was his business , please and thank you.
“You know, I didn’t think angels could be so bloody petty ,” Crowley said.
“You obviously haven’t been to heaven recently.”
Crowley scoffed, and Aziraphale smiled, and Crowley-Who-Didn’t-Forget-To-Bring-Bread-For-The-Ducks watched it all with a look in his eyes that was much too knowing for a cat.
In 1862, Aziraphale’s cat was named Matilda.
There were a great many strays wandering the streets after the Blitz. Frail, bony things with bright eyes and bare patches would weave through the rubble, scrounging for any scraps they could find.
Aziraphale left out food for all of them.
There was Anthony-John-Crowley Fell, Anthony-Joshua-Crowley Fell, Anthony-James-Crowley Fell, Anthony-Julius-Crowley Fell, Anthony-Jacob-Crowley Fell, Anthony-Jared-Crowley Fell, Anthony-Jeremy-Crowley Fell, Anthony-Jessica-Crowley Fell…
“It’s not—the J doesn’t stand for anything, angel,” Crowley insisted. “It’s just—I just thought it sounded cool , y’know? Oh look, Mr. Anthony J. Crowley, how — how dashing and rugged and mysterious . It lends to the aesthetic .”
Aziraphale’s next cat was named Just-A-’J’-Really Fell.
Crowley didn't talk to him for two years out of spite.
During the Suspected Apocalypse, Aziraphale hadn’t thought it wise to take in a cat, not when he couldn’t give it the proper amount of love and attention (not when there was the chance that, in eleven or so years, the Earth might be turned into a pit of boiling sulfur) but that hadn’t stopped Crowley from using them against him.
“An’—an’ the cats , angel!” Crowley insisted, interrupting his own tirade about gorillas and dolphins and whatnot. “No more—no more cats after arma—army— the end of the world . You—how’re you gonna give cats more dumb names if they’re gone ?”
Aziraphale had scowled at that.
It’d been a good point, which made the whole thing even more infuriating.
After the Aflopalypse, however, when they’d finally settled into their retirement in a lovely little cottage in the South Downs, Aziraphale immediately began his search for another cat.
“Really, angel?” Crowley asked, pinching the bridge of his nose.
“ Yes ,” Aziraphale insisted. “You don’t even have to come inside if you don’t want to. I simply require a ride to the local shelter, and—”
“Just miracle yourself there, it’s not like anyone cares anymore—”
“And how will I get back, hm?” Aziraphale asked, pursing his lips in a way Crowley said made him look like that bitch . “I’m hardly going to teleport a cat —”
“Fine,” Crowley relented, throwing his hands in the air (Aziraphale had to work very hard not to grin—he knew Crowley would give in, eventually; he always did). “I’ll take you to adopt a blessed cat, on one condition .”
“And what’s that, dear?”
“ I get to name it .”
“ Crowley —”
“That’s the offer. Take it or leave it.”
Aziraphale sighed and pouted for another moment more before rolling his eyes. “Alright,” he said, “but this is extremely childish behaviour—”
“Oh, you’re one to talk, with your Crowley-Who-Didn't-Spill-Soy-Sauce-On-My-Favourite-Trousers and all,” Crowley argued, grabbing his keys off of the counter (they hadn’t been there two seconds ago, but they were there now because Crowley expected them to be).
It didn’t take Aziraphale long to choose his new feline friend. He simply found the cat that, naturally, looked like it needed to most angelic care.
She was older—about nine and a half—and pure black with big, yellow-green eyes. She was missing half her tail, her left ear, and her paw on her back right leg.
“Oh, that’s Juniper,” the shelter worker had said when Aziraphale had pointed her out. “She’s been here for… God, it’s been ages. We think she was attacked by some wild animal, the poor dear.”
Twenty-five minutes later, the angel was returning to the car with her in his arms.
“So, presently, her name is Juniper—”
“Nope,” Crowley interrupted. “ That ,” he said, pointing at the cat in Aziraphale’s arms, “Is Aziraphale-Who-Isn’t-Complete-Rubbish-At-Naming-Animals.”
Aziraphale gasped. “You can’t just—”
“Oh, I so can just,” the demon argued with a wide grin. “The tables have turned, angel. How does it feel to be on the other side?”
“You’re insufferable and I don’t know why I put up with you.”
“Ah,” Crowley said with a grin. “I think you do.”
And Aziraphale rolled his eyes, because he did.
And as it so happens, they did, in fact, all live quite happily ever after.