Does Your Cat Have a Few Dozen Nicknames?


We usually name a new cat within the first few days of meeting him or her. The name could be based on a number of things, but mostly it’s based on physical markings or initial disposition.

After spending a little more time with the new kitty, we usually start to bypass the name in favor of some catchy nicknames. Through the years, my three cats have each earned crazy collections of monikers, and now I rarely address them by their original names. Here are some of those names and nicknames:

1. Given name: Saffy

We adopted our 11-year-old senior when she was a year old. The shelter had named her Diamond, which sounded a little bit like a stripper name to us, so we knew she needed to be called something else.

We took her home and studied her for a few days, paying close attention to her personality traits. My husband and I are both fans of British comedy and were in the middle of an Absolutely Fabulous marathon when the kitty joined us. Since the cat seemed to have a sensible attitude, we settled on the name Saffy, after the no-nonsense daughter on the TV show. Saffron is her official name, but we liked the sound of Saffy, so that was that.

As the years passed, we saw Saffy develop certain habits, so we began calling her by nicknames that seemed to fit her temperament. These are some of Saffy’s nicknames:

Hippo and Rhino — Saffy is a large gray cat who loves to eat. She more than loves food: She obsesses over over it. After she inhales her own bowl of chow, she starts stalking the other cats’ food. Hippo stands behind them like a cafeteria bully, slowly inching forward, until she finally descends upon the dish.

Pickle — This summer our daughter was cutting pickles on the kitchen counter and, through some gherkin-related mishap, sliced pickles went flying off the counter and landed directly on Saffy’s back. She immediately made for the kitchen door, bucking those pickles off her back like a rodeo bull throwing a rider. Now our daughter exclusively calls her Pickle.

Other nicknames — Large Marge, Marge, Margie, Margaret, Saffster, Sweetie, Floofer, Saffronicus Rex, Saffinator

2. Given name: Cosmo

Cosmo, our 10-year-old tuxedo boy, was a barn cat rescue and joined our family when he was about 12 weeks old. He was kind of goofy as a baby so we named him Cosmo, after Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld. Yes, we probably watch too much TV.

As Cosmo grew, we noticed he often looked very serious and sometimes cranky or snooty. He’s also became obsessed with me, in the best way possible of course. He loves nothing more than to curl up in my lap and coat my legs with a fine layer of happy-drool. Well, I guess he does like something better than the drooly cuddles: the “dates” with my stuffed bear that sits on my bed.

These are some of Cosmo’s nicknames:

Cosmopolitan — With his built-in tuxedo, Cosmo always looks like he’s ready to grab his bow tie and head to a fancy affair at the country club. And that snobby little expression tells everyone, “Calico? Are you serious? Didn’t you know this is a black tie affair?” He’s also the kind of cat who would wear an ascot and smoking jacket, drink 50-year-old scotch, and say things like, “Smashing!” and “Where did I leave my monocle?”

Creeper — As I mentioned, Cosmo is hopelessly devoted to me. I often catch him staring at me while I work or even as I lie on the sofa reading or watching TV. His laser-focused love sears the curtain and liner when I shower and, when a door stands between us, he desperately paws at it like a rescue worker trying to save someone from a burning building. After I open the door to allow him in the room, do you know what he usually does? Stares.

Other nicknames — Fine Sir, Sir, Cosmosis, Cozzie, Cos-and-Effect, Fancy Pants, Pish-Posh

3. Given name: Phoebe

Phoebe was another barn rescue who came to us as a young kitten. We really took our time naming her and searched nearly every cat-name database on the Web for the name that would capture the essence of this sweet, friendly little calico-tabby angel. We finally settled on Phoebe, not because of the sitcom Friends but because of its Greek meaning, “bright and radiant.”

Over the last seven years, Phoebe’s radiance has overtaken the household, and now this six-pound powerhouse is the boss of cats and humans alike. She steals pens, jewelry, pieces of paper, and anything else she can pilfer with those tidy white mitts. Oddly enough, she’s intimidated by Saffy during mealtimes and allows her to bully her when food’s involved, but that’s her only sign of submission.

Phoebe is loud with sort of an obnoxious meow. She talks constantly and has to have the final word on everything. She’s certainly earned herself some nicknames:

Weasel — Years ago, our daughter started calling her Weasel because she kind of looked like one — rustish coloring, white chest, long and lean body. Soon after, when she began sneaking around and stealing things, everyone started calling her Weasel. I also like to call her Weezie, a nickname of the nickname and a nod to the late, great Weezie Jefferson.

Bunny — This cat has the softest, most rabbity fur of any feline I’ve met. She has the body of a weasel, the fur of a rabbit, and the mouth of Joan Rivers. I’d bury my entire face in that white bunny belly if I wasn’t convinced she’d rabbit-kick my face right off.

Other nicknames — Little Bit, Phoeebs, Bun-Bun, La-La, Bunsy, Rabbit, Mouthy

Do you have any nicknames for your cats? Tell us about them in the comments!

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