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Choosing the ideal name for your new cat is an important process, but not always that easy. A new kitten will learn their name in no time at all, but if you’re adopting an older cat and want to rename them to celebrate their new life as part of your family, it can be slightly more difficult. Sometimes a name will come to you straight away, and you’ll know that it’s ‘the one’, but if inspiration hasn’t yet struck, here are some handy hints to help you out.
Things to consider when naming your cat
- Boy or girl? Double-check the sex of your kitten before your choose a name to avoid an ‘oopsie moment’– it wouldn’t be the first time that a male cat has been called Lullabelle or been given some other equally feminine name. Of course, unisex names like Mickey or Jessie are fine regardless of the gender of your cat.
- Does the name roll off the tongue? Think about when you’re calling your cat, will the name be too much of a mouthful? If you go for a double or even triple-barrelled name you’re likely to end up shortening it anyway. Names with one or two syllables or less are much easier to call out and much easier for your cat to recognise.
- Pick a name that your cat won’t grow out of or that you won’t be embarrassed to call out in front of the neighbours. Your kitten won’t be young forever so ‘Baby’ may not be the most appropriate name. And whilst, he may have litter box / toileting issues right now, he’ll grow out of this too, so ‘Baron Von Poopy Pants’ may be amusing now, but it won’t be in 12 months time when your kitten is a fully-grown and toilet-trained cat.
Need some inspiration for choosing a name?
- Appearance. You may be inspired by looking at your new cat, either by his colour or any unusual markings. If your cat is black with white paws, you could go for Socks. Your cat’s colour can also be a great source of inspiration; think Dante (as in the Inferno) for an orange cat, or you could go for an ironic name, like Snowy for a jet black cat.
- Personality or behaviour. Your new cat’s natural personality may be all you need to decide on a name. Is he a ball of energy that will chase a ping-pong ball for hours? Then Beckham would suit him down to the ground. Or, is he more of a cuddly smooch who loves affection? Then, how about Romeow?
- Human names. You don’t have to go for traditional or popular cat names like Tigger, Simba or Chino, human names can work just as well. Whether you go for something pretty like Amber (our ginger tabby girl), or something strong sounding like Max (our silver/grey tabby boy), all you need to inspire you is a list of baby names and you’re good to go.
- Nature. Names inspired by the natural world are perfect for female cats e.g. Rose (our long-haired black girl who went to the Rainbow Bridge in 2007), and equally suitable for male cats e.g. Onyx (our black senior boy).
- Your imagination. The sky’s the limit when it comes to choosing a name for your cat, you can choose something popular, traditional, quirky or as crazy as you like. Many people are inspired by their favourite celebrities, characters from movies or books, and other items in everyday life.
The one thing I would recommend is to test your chosen name on your cat and see if he or she responds. When I first got Max as a foster his name was Smokey – but he refused to come when I called him that, it was almost as if he didn’t like his name. After I adopted him, I tried a few different names – the one he liked and responded to best was Max. This was after I whispered in his ear and told him it meant “the greatest”… and who wouldn’t want a name that meant that!
Of course, whatever your chosen name is, you’re likely to end up calling your cat all sorts of things alongside his given name – sweetie, stinky, or even you little &%*@ at times!
What are your cats’ names? How did you choose them?
Image: Pinguino / Rick Weiss via Flickr
Ruckus the Eskie says
That’s true. So important about naming your pets. Especially with a name like Ruckus…my sapiens are just asking for it!
Hannah and Lucy says
My cats have always had “proper” names – previous to us there have been a William, a Max and an Emma. Although my next door neighbour would call William “Billy Boy” which made me cringe but she loved him and I never told her in case it upset her. She just loved to take care of him when we went on holiday and he was always a little chubbier too!
The Swiss Cats says
It took hours, days, weeks to Mum and Dad to chose our names ! They made each a name list, then did a quick “yay or nay”, then waited, re-read and re-re-read and re-re-re-read the list endless until the chosen name appears clearly. Fortunately for them we are only two cats MOL ! Purrs
Kitty Cat Chronicles says
MOL! We think “Baron Von Poopy Pants” is amusing no matter what!
But really, naming a pet can be difficult. These are all great tips!
Victoria Carter says
I agonized for days over what to name my two white cats when I adopted them six years ago. Memphis and Belle where originally named Marshmallow and Angel, they really were not good names for them. They are littler mates so I wanted something that would sound good together, but also stand alone. My dad was getting tired of me tossing names out and asking opinions, so he finally said what about Memphis Belle? (He was in the middle of making a model of the Memphis Belle bomber at the time) I think it surprised him when I fell in love with the names! Belle suits her perfectly, she is a sweet but sassy little southern belle, and Memphis I think fits with the southern theme with how laid back he is. Occasionally I’ll come across someone who makes the connection with their actual namesake though.
Sharon S. says
Choosing a name is one of the fun parts of adopting a new kitty, but you want to do it right. You gave some great suggestions of things to consider in the naming process. I always like human names, but that’s my preference.