Choosing Cat Names
Your cat's name says as much about you as it does your pet. A more human name might mean your cat is just like a child to you, while other names might better illustrate a beloved quality of your pet's, be it physical (think "Patches" or "Blackie") or part of his personality ("Dash" or "Sugar"). An offbeat name effectively displays your cleverness to your friends, while a popular, well-worn cat name might indicate a desire to cling to the comfortable, classic, tried and true.
But whether you're thinking quirky or popular, here are some things to keep in mind when naming your cat:
Choose a name kitty can recognize and respond to easily. One or two syllables is ideal. It's hard enough to get a cat's attention without a name like "Maximillian IV."
Pick a name your pet can grow into. "Baby" the kitten won't be a baby forever.
A classic name will be easier to call your cat in front of friends and family as opposed to something borderline embarrassing.
If you must name your cat something long, keep the shorter "call name" in mind, as that will most likely become your cat's working name.
If you're curious about what's popular in the cat name world, here are the top cat names on Catster.com:
Popular Female Cat Names: Chloe, Lucy, Bella, Kitty, Princess, Molly, Sophie, Angel, Lily and Baby
Popular Male Cat Names: Tigger, Max, Tiger, Smokey, Oliver, Buddy, Jack, Charlie, Simba and Shadow
Photo: Sherry's Rose Cottage
Related Advice from Other Cat Owners
My Own Cat Names
Here's how I named mine: China (white); Umtaush (German for exchange); Sputnik; Trico (calico with bi-eyes); Boxer (Wegie with long legs); Mathis (ability to hold a note for a very long time).
~Connie B., owner of six felines, all rescues
Do Not Pick a Name Too Fast
I always try to find names to match the cat and personality. I have tried 5 or 6 names before the right one just pops up. Our cat Cleopatra got her name as her eyes look just like Liz Taylor's eyes in the movie. She is regal, good at lounging, and wants attention when she picks the time. Baily is smooth, but he has a kick to his personality, our Cocker, Harley, does not want to take off his Harley Davidson sweat shirt and will stare at it in the morning. He's not very big but he can hold his own with the big guys.
~Marsha O., owner of mixed breeds
Cat Names for Siamese Kitties
Loving Siamese cats, I tend to choose names like Ming Toy, Ming Too and Ming Yu for males and towns where I have lived for females - Cocoa, Salem, Lenox. But NOT at the same time - I can only have one Siamese at a time! Good two syllable names are easiest to learn.
~Carol Ann A., owner of aSiamese cat
Some Cat Name Suggestions
If your cat is striped, here some name suggestions: Stripes or Stripe, Tiger or Tigger
If your cat is fluffy and furry: Puff, Cotton, Fluffy
If your cat likes to jump, maybe: Leaper, Bounce, Jumper.
~Sophie, owner of a mixed-breed kitty
Fruit and Vegetable Names!
I have always named my cats after fruits and vegetables. Olive, Fig, Peaches, Pansy (sometimes a flower), Pepper, Squash, Quincy, Cherry, Berry, etc. My husband, on the other hand, has no imagination: Beau, Aries, Apollo. I like mine better!
~Bonnie T., owner of 11 cats, mostly fosters
Named After the Way I Got Him
I got Christopher on Christmas Eve, from freecycle, as a gift from my Dad. I'd lost my tabby mix Sophie in November 2009. He was not really free, though, as it almost cost $300 to get his shots and have him neutered. He's a healthy, lively cat and my first purebred. His three-syllable name seems to work just fine.
~Peggy D., owner of a Norwegian Forest Cat
Geology-themed Kitty Names!
My husband is a geologist, so we named our first cat, a tortoiseshell tabby, Zoisite, but call her Zoe for short. When we got the second cat, a black tuxedo tabby, we named him Obsidian, but call him Sid for short. Now that we've been using Zoe's name daily for years, we wish we had saved it for a child. Oh, well, I can't imagine her by any other name. If we get another female pet, we'll name her Lucite and call her Lucy.
~Kristina H., owner of a tortoiseshell tabby and tuxedo tabby
Cat Names: Movies and TV are a Good Source
I have four cats and one dog. The dog is named Kaylee after the character in the Firefly TV series. Two of the cats are brothers and are named Mingo and Fanty from the film Serenity, which is based on the Firefly TV series.
I also like regular human names for my pets. My other two cats are a brother and sister (and they turn 7 years old today!) who came along before Firefly/Serenity. My husband wanted to name the male Oliver and I came up with Abigail because it seemed to fit with Oliver.
~Deborah C., owner of four cats and a dog
Naming with Responsibility
When naming a cat, you need to:
1. Know the personality of your cat to pick a name that corresponds with it.
2. Find a very meaningful name to symbolize the beauty of all cats.
3. If you think you have the right name, but there are more that do the job, test out the name, and say it for a few days to try it.
4. Make sure your cat understands the name - make sure it isn't too long, or too short.
~Corttney F., owner of Mischeif
Our Cats are Named for Their Looks
My first cat was white and called Frosty, the second was born blind, so I called him Bumper (he mapped out the flat by bumping into things first), then there was my tortoiseshell, Spice (her fur was the colour of nutmeg, pepper, paprika and ginger). Now I have Smudge - big and black and lays in the sun, Socks, who has white paws, and Domino, who is fluffy, black and white and just wants to play!
~Teejay P., owner of three moggies
Pop-Culture Names Are Fun
I don't own any pets right now, but would certainly love to someday :) If I were to have a dog, it'd be a Dachshund ("weiner dog"), hence Oscar ("my baloney has a first name"). Then alongside Oscar, there'd of course be a Felix, like the Odd Couple, because cats and dogs are natural rivals -- but I've heard that if they are acquainted while young, there's much less chance of "animal animosity." And so if the cat were female, she'd be Felicia (and even male and female *people* have a tendency to be rivals *lol*) -- so lots of pop-culture elements to take into account there!
Hopefully Felicia wouldn't turn Oscar into a "grouch" that hides in the trash can ;-) Anyone who knows the old TV series and/or the movie the show was based on, also would note that Oscar *was* the sloppy one (the messy Muppet was in fact based on Oscar Madison), and Felix the neater one...which does also kind of hint at the grooming patterns of dogs and cats :-D
You could also call the cat Hello (essentially a unisex moniker), so that when you address him/her by name, you're really saying, "Hello Kitty."
Try to match the name with the personality
My male Bengal/Egyptian Mau mix's name is Alex. My female Norwegian Forest Cat/Maine Coon mix's name is Coon.
Some more names are Flower, Lady, Stephanie, Bounce, Tumbles, Karsha, Rumbles, Tumbler, Rumbler, Playful, Sweetie, Cutie, Amy, Alexis, Sparkle, Ruby, Crystal, or Dancer. All depending on kitty's personality.
If your cat is fluffy, then you could name it Fluffy or Fuzzy. You could buy a cat name book or a baby name book. TV cats' names such as cats on Must Love Cats or Cats 101 may help you find a good name.
~Taylor B., owner of a Bengal
Some names just seem to fit
My kitties are:
Bob -- so named due to his lack of a tail.
Wild Cat -- as a kitten, she was quite the energetic little girl!
Buddy -- he came to me (already named) from one of my son's friends. I didn't change his name because it just seemed to fit.
Peanut -- a feral kitty I socialized last summer. She is a tortie and her tan and black patches reminded me of a peanut butter cup.
Sally -- Peanut's calico sister, just looks like Sally.
Robert -- Sally's son, ginger like Bob but complete with tail!
Tim-Tim -- Sally's son, he has a spot on his muzzle like a tick, but Tick is an awful name!
~Betsy S., owner of several domestic shorthairs
I'm a Trekkie
Currently I have Tribble, Kira, Renee, Hester, and Chloe. Past Trek cats have been B'Elanna, Neelix, and Chakotay.
When the name doesn't quite fit they get nicknames -- B'Elanna became Miss B, and Chakotay became Cho, and Hester is Hissy Face.
~Marla S., owner of five mixed-breed cats
Biblical names are fun
We've had a number of different cats (and dogs) in our lives, and have had fun searching the Bible for great names.
We've had Elizabeth, of course and she goes by Lizzy, Ezekiel known as Zeke, Ziporah is Zippy, Malachi was Mallie, Deuteronomy was Dude, Nicodemus was Nicky and then there was Caleb, Chloe, Abigail and Phoebe. There's more than just "Mary and Joseph" as names in the Bible!
~Linda G., owner of mostly mixed breeds
It's all in the tone of your voice
i named my cat Violet, and she responds to it so well. When I am looking for her I will call out "Viii-iiii," and she recognizes it because of the high-pitched voice I use.
I recommend a name that cats will know by the way you are calling out for them. She always comes when I call for her!
Getting Names from Everything!
Our black cat is Midnight because Velvet did not fit her. Our Tuxedo cat is Spaz, and our part Maine Coon is Ziggo, for two of our favorite Battle Bots. Our two Siamese are Max (who told me in the car on the way home that was his name) and his sister, Hoshi, named after a character on Star Trek: Enterprise.
Sierra, our tortoiseshell, was a name I just kind of liked. Doc, our huge 2-year-old ginger cat, was named for Doctor Who, and our little white baby (1 year old) with one blue eye and one gold eye is Opal, named after our daughter-in-law's birthstone. They are all rescues.
One Unique Name
I named my cat a very unique name. When he was a kitten and walked by me, I would pick him up and say, "Come here, you little fart." After my husband died, I found LittleFart laying on my husband's ashes, so I added Bert to his name. So now his name is LittleFartBert.
I have a couple of other names in mind for a new cat. Button, which is short for Get Your Butt Out Of My Face; and End, short for I Don't Want to See That End. Both are nicknames, and are cute and short.
~Jeannie V, owner of LittleFartBert
Furr-Purr and Funny Girl
Our first cat, Furr-Purr or Purr-Furr (didn't matter), loved purring and shedding. Her nickname was Shed-Spread or Shoe, 'cause she would sit in the middle of the floor like a discarded shoe. She was a shorthair gray, barely striped. Her baby sister was a beautiful calico longhair, who when she spoke came out in a squeak, hence her name, Squeeks. She took great pains with her appearance, and was very self-centered. Only when I was studying would they both want to be on my lap, on top of the book at the same time.
Now we have Bella, with blue eyes, a big white cat with Siamese in her ancestry. The vet calls her a Tabby Point. She has tabby markings on the side of her face, rear splotches and tail. Her younger "sister" is Funny Girl, who has an upside-down Spanish question mark next to her nose. She is my tuxedo kitty. She started out as Funny Face, but there is more than that that causes humor. She is very curious and when I'm hand sewing will bite the scissors hanging from a ribbon around my neck. She had fun with the toilet paper till I got after her (rarely do I do that, she is very tender-hearted). She loves playing games and getting her tummy fondled. Then the fine white underbelly hair goes everywhere!
~Jean F., owner of a Tabby
Unusual Names Are Fun
i like to name my animals very differant names, such as Tabu (kitten), Loki (dog), and Thor for my cockatiel.
~Jen H., owner of a Himalayan
Take Your Time!
If you really like the name the shelter or adoption center/clinic gives your cat or kitten, you can use it. My family got our kitten, Jasper, about a week ago and we all wanted to keep his name, which was Apollo. But I found on the Internet that choosing your own name is better. Also, it should ideally have two syllables and/or end with an E.
We have two cats. Lilly, the 4-year-old with beautiful looks and the heart of a kitten, and Jasper, the 8-week-old who was found on the side of route 80 but acts like he was born and raised in the most caring home ever.
~Nicole D., owner of a Domestic Shorthair
Personal Interests Are a Good Source to Draw From
When I was a kid, my brother brought home a little tuxedo kitten. Given the cat's pointy ears, and my brother being a big Star Trek fan, he was named Spock ... until the cat got a little older and we realized he was a SHE. Then we settled on Little Black Cat.
I adopted a dilute calico kitten the January before last. I like Harry Potter and Final Fantasy games, but I figured nearly EVERY fan of those franchises would do the same thing and I wanted to pick something more unique. I'm also a Beatles fan, so I went with Penny Lane. For short, she's called Laney, which I actually learned from Seinfeld, where that was Jerry's nickname for Elaine.
~Nathan R, owner of a Domestic Shorthair
I am fascinated with Egyptian mythology, so when I adopted my kitten I named her Bast after the Egyptian goddess who was associated with cats. If you like mythology, you can't go wrong with god and goddess names.
~Jean A, owner of a Domestic Shorthair
Names That Fit the Cat's Personality
We adopted a cat from our local shelter on June 21, hence the name Summer.
Angel was part of a feral cat litter who took care of the other small ones. Now she is big and fluffy and called Wigglebum, but she responds to both.
Find a Funny Name That Fits
My first cat's name at the moment is Astro because I remember sitting outside looking at the stars when I was thinking of a name for him.
My second cat's name is Allsorts because he truly is just full of all sorts!
I had a black cat called Liquorice, but he ran away from home. =(
Name Your Cat After Something You Love
You should name your cat after someone you love and respect, or after something you or your cat likes to do. Our family likes hockey, so we named our dog Puck. I'm only ten!
~Acacia J., owner of a mixed dog breed, Puck
My cat is male, but was called Suzie (after Siouxsie Sioux) from a young age, which stuck, and is called Bubbs by his young human companion. To get round the gendered name we write it as Sioux, which means "little snake."
~Corv M., owner of tabby
Precious by name and by nature
I named my cat Precious because that is exactly what she is to me, and she lives up to her name. Anyone who meets her, falls in love with her because of her sweet personality.
Another vote for unusual names
I have a gray-brown tabby boy by the name of Mudpie because of his coloring.
Kanenee is a brown-and-white tabby girl who was rescued at 4 weeks old. She weaned herself at that age and wanted to use the big kitty box. Kanenee means "A little thing in the eye is big," which is African. And, boy, did she ever think she was a big kitty!
I have a little white-brown tabby foster boy by the name of Kitt 'N Kaboodle. Then there is Axl Rose, who is handsome enough to be a rock star! His sister is a black kitty named Miss Jones, for "The Devil In...," who is quite a little diva. Another orange and white rescued boy is named Orange Ruffy.
~Joy Ann L., owner of many rescue and foster cats
Sometimes a little research helps.
Both my kitties are rescues.
KaKo is an American adaption of the Japanese word for "Adored One" -- she is a beautiful 3-year-old Oriental ColorPoint whose parents were alleycats. Pierce got her name because when I rescued her in a really bad area of town, her ear looked like someone had used a hole puncher on it. Our Vet and Vet Tech asked whether her name was Hole Punch. She was about 3-4 weeks old & weighed 9 ounces. She is now a 6-month-old, healthy longhaired beauty. Both girls get along very well together.
~Debra B, owner of an Oriental ColorPoint Siamese
From the heart
I named all my cats from my spiritual beliefs. from the movie-book The Lord of the Rings i named my first cat Samwise Gamgee, because of his loving and loyal relationship with Frodo by his side till the very end. He gives honor to that name, he is so sweet and loving and he is by my.side always.
My brown tabby is named after a beloved spiritual teacher, Lazarus. I call him Zar. My beloved tuxedo who showed up at my door was Sweetpea; she passed as a kitten afer being spayed because of a bad reaction to the anesthetic. i miss her terribly.
~k. johnson, owner of an American Shorthair
After my little dog Oreo (Eo, for short) died. I decided to get a cat. I wanted a calico, and I wanted to give it an artist's name. Every time I thought one would be available the mother would move it, or something else happened.
A friend told me about 3 kittens abandoned by their mom. When I got her at 6 weeks, she was so beautiful and had big blue eyes. She was a Siamese mix, but the name Monet just seemed to fit. And as it turned out, she is just as temperamental as an artist.
I wouldn't trade her for anything. I gave her the middle name Lucy-fur (Lucifer).
~Kathy W., owner of a Siamese
Mix It Up
There have been a number of cats in and through my life with me and my late husband. Each one took a while to name; some came with names that didn't suit us and/or the cat.
We named some for their physical attributes; "Sunflower/Sunni" was a bright, talkative, yellow lady. "Mitzi" was a play on big mitts as she was polydactyl, and very feminine; and "Jasper" because he was the exact orange color as the encyclopedia illustration for that gemstone.
Some names just fell into place. "Katie" -- after I got tired of calling her just "kitty" and she seemed to know the difference! "Queenie," because the vet called her dying mother a queen -- a cat term I didn't know at the time. "Carina," which is a constellation, and also means darling or little darling in several languages and "Orion," another constellation. "Saber," who adopted me, because he looked sharp and was mentally very sharp.
In the '70s, Sunni had a litter, and I remember giving all five ginger kittens temporary names, but I only remember "Bouncer" -- that was how he moved.
I named each of over two dozen rescues, at least until I found homes for them. "Daisy" was just as perky as a daisy. "Tucker" made me think of "white-bib-and-tucker." "Crybaby" was just that! "Angus" was solid black. "Freddie" was a variation on his temperament -- a fraidy-cat. Some of the new parents kept those names.
~Joleen G, owner of three mixed-breed cats
Our Dropped-Off Orphans
Ours are called Junebug, Boodeeka, Evinrude (Rudy), Pitiful (because he squeaks instead of meowing -- we call him "Piti" or "Bub"), Looey Zhakhar, Big Boy, Amie, THE Princess (her former owner called her *Booger-nose," so she had a self-esteem problem which leveled out following her name change), Mickey Mouse (Mick), Mr. Winston Tumbleweed (who mostly gets dubbed "Muttonhead" because he's the resident troublemaker), Whisper (who also gets called Biscuit and Mega-Doom), Long-tail (L.T., a big lover who was initially raised/suckled by an old mama raccoon who still lives out back -- he waddles and makes raccoon sounds, chattering, grunting, and never meowing).
All are former dropped-off orphans except for THE Princess, and all are different breeds unless you count Heinz 57 as a breed. We recently lost The Sluggo (our most affectionate Tom) and Sugar, a little seal-point Siamese -- they were both very old. Rudy is 18, a diabetic, and if he lives 10 more days I'll be surprised, but we're giving him lots of additional love right now.
~Patrick C., owner of a rainbow of colors and types
Choose What's Important to You at the Time You Adopt
Our first cat, a black male, was named Darcy. My mother found him in a pet shop, and she really likes Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.
The cats we have now are tabbies. Misty, our female, is named after Artemis, the goddess of hunting, which is shortened to Misty after the woman we bought her from said "Farty Arty."
Our male cat was going to be called Ash, partly because I was reading a book where Artemis was shacked up with Acheron, which is shortened to Ash, and partly because of Ash and Misty in Pokemon. But then my favourite character in the show Bones died, so his name is Murray, which turns out works well with Misty anyway.
~Janet S, owner of two Domestic Shorthairs
Get to Know Your Kitten First
Our first pair were twin Maine Coon mixed-breed boys, Chip and Dale, after the chipmunks. Chip was always full of energy and pushy, while Dale is more laid back. Unfortunately Chip was hit by a car 5 years ago, but Dale, nicknamed "Big D," is still going strong and will be 12 in March.
We also have a small black female with a broken tail tip that we rescued almost 5 years ago. She is named Willow, because she is soft and graceful.
Our newest addition is 6-month-old Peaches, Peach for short, who is a shorthair dilute calico kitten. Since she's dilute calico, the red color is peach-colored on her. Plus she's soft like peach fuzz, and extremely cute and full of energy!
I find one- or two-syllable names or nicknames work best for calling them, especially if they're outside.
~Brae S., owner of three pampered pusses
I named my black cats after Satan ...
I have five Orientals, three of which are ebony Orientals. I named them all after Satan: Louis Constantine Fur (Lucifer), Basilio Leandro Zbub (B.L. Zbub), and Say-10 (Satan)! Why? Because I always found it funny that black cats are associated with witchcraft and the devil when they are sweet as sweet can be.
My black and white Oriental is called Passepartout (master key) and the white Oriental is called Ratatouille. Love the names and love the cats!
~Gesa, owner of five Orientals
Girl Kitties with Boy Names
We named our first cat Teddy before we knew we were supposed to look under her tail (we were not cat people)! This started a trend. We always adopt female cats, and have named subsequent kittens Charly and Billie. They've all been rascals, so the "tomboyish" names really fit them.
~A. Eskin, owner of Maine Coon & Tortie mix