We have a new cat, a kitten in fact. The name is being deliberated. I put a picture of my old cat Vassily Ivanovich (Vaska - Васька) on Facebook. Unbeatable for traffic. Just as I expected, dozens of suggestions followed. One puzzled me — Banya.
Banya? Баня (Banya) is the Russian word for steam bath. Sauna if you will. But Russian-style sauna, unlike the Finnish one is full of hot steam. Banya was a pet rabbit of my Russian Facebook friends.
Why would anyone call a rabbit Sauna? I asked.
Don't you see, they replied. It's from Bunny. Bunny — Banya.
With an added bonus of having a resemblance to Vanya, a common diminutive of the quintessential Russian name Ivan.