In 1962, while serving as the U.S. ambassador to India, John Kenneth Galbraith gave a Siamese kitten to each of his two sons. Little did he know that picking kitten names would cause an international incident.
One of the kitten names didn’t cause controversy. The kitten name that caused the problem was Ahmedabad, in honor of the town where the kitten was born. That name would not have caused a problem except for the family shortening the name to Ahmed, which is an alternate name for the prophet Mohammed.
Shortly after the cat was mentioned in a newspaper article, riots broke out in Pakistan. The people of Pakistan felt the cat’s name was an insult to Islam. American government personnel were attacked and U.S. facilities were stoned.
The crisis was finally calmed after repeated apologies and explanations from Galbraith that no insult was intended with the cat’s name. He explained the kitten was not named after a person at all, but rather after the city where he was born.
To take the apology one step further, the kitten was renamed Gujarat.
Moral of the story: Be careful when picking kitten names!
Source: 100 Cats Who Changed Civilization by Sam Stall