Top Cat Names: What to Name Your New Cat

Coming up with the perfect name for your new cat can get tricky. Rover.com just came out with its list of most popular cat names of 2019 to help you out.
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Naming your cat might seem simple, but sometimes it can really take a lot of time and effort.  My husband and I tend to give our cats and foster kittens human names, especially old-timey English ones (I’m a bit of an Anglophile) – Agatha and Alastair got those. Mathilda got her name because it reminded my husband of one of his favorite old songs – Waltzing Mathilda. Poor Jack got the most simple name. He was a foundling, and we tried desperately to find a home for him. After a couple of months it became obvious that his home was ours. We made up for his plain name by making his middle name Bartholomew.

Out of our four cats, Jack has the simplest name – but it fits him perfectly! © Annie Butler Shirreffs

Naming foster kittens is where we really have some fun. Most of them get human names. We’ve had Millicent, Bertie and Rupert, Frances and Oliver, Sinclair, Winston and Ainsley, Nigel, Harriet and Louise. Sometimes we name them in themes: The “candy crew” consisted of Jujube, Skittles and Zagnut. Then we had some “weeds” named Clover, Dandelion and Fern. Our “spice kittens” were Dill, Sage and Paprika. We also like to go for some literary names: Jem and Scout, Alice and Gertie (Gertrude), Ginsberg, Jeeves and Wooster, and Edgar, Allan and Poe (we were pretty proud of that one). And sometimes we just ditch the idea of human names. Two sets of Halloween kittens were Grimm and Boo, and Tarot, Rune and Ouija. A Christmas kitten was Eggnog. And a ridiculously cute pair of black kittens were Pixie and Puff.

Top Cat Names 2019
The “candy crew” – Jujube, Skittles and Zagnut. © Annie Butler Shirreffs

Do cats really know their names?

This is the big question. Do cats know their names or are they responding to their human’s voice? Mikel Delgado, a cat behavior expert with Rover.com, says, “I personally think that animals tend to respond more to our tone of voice (at least initially) than to a specific name. Many of us call cats by several cute nicknames, so I don’t think that changing a cat’s name or calling them a nickname is inherently problematic.”

Mikel also points out that over time, our pets do learn to associate their name with certain things – like attention or food. “You can help your cat learn their name faster by NOT using tons of nicknames,” she says. “If you are inconsistent about using the same name when you are speaking to them, they may not always know that you are speaking to them.”

I use nicknames for my cats but the root of the name is still there. Mathilda is usually Tildy (or Tildebeest when she’s in a wild mood). Agatha is Waggie or Wags (shortened from Wagatha when we saw her wagging her tail like a dog). And Jack is usually Jackie or Jackster. When we use these nicknames, though, we’re usually talking ABOUT them, not TO them.

Cat naming advice

There are lots of pros and cons when it comes to naming your cat. © Getty Images

We don’t know if names harm cats or affect our perception of them, but Mikel believes that words matter in how we think of others. “I would suggest NOT giving your cat a ‘mean’ name or a name that implies they are dangerous, even if it seems funny to you.” After all, the majority of people love cats, but there are always some cat haters out there.

Mikel adds that when we give our pets names, we are recognizing that they are individuals, and so we feel more connected to them. “Just as we use names with people we interact with, it is part of what builds a relationship with another individual (whether cat, dog, human, etc.)”

And beware some naming pitfalls. For example, pop culture names are hugely popular – whether it’s a celebrity, a music group, sports figure, or TV or movie characters. Be careful, though. You probably don’t personally know your favorite celebrity, and the next big scandal could be theirs. Athletes get traded to other teams. And you never know how a beloved TV character is going to change. I’ve heard of so many kittens named Khaleesi and Daenerys – and we Game of Thrones fans know how that turned out!

Clever names are fun, but they might not always be appropriate – Chairman Meow for instance. Or anything overtly political, for that matter. And sometimes you can be TOO clever. My friend had a cat whose full name was Melba Edith Toast. Some people didn’t quite get it.

Popular cat names

Cat in heart hands.
Rover.com’s top names for 2019 include Oliver, Leo, Luna and Bella. © Igor_Murunov | Getty Images.

According to Rover.com’s annual pet name survey, this year’s trends “are a true reflection of what we care most about, from the food we eat to the celebrities we love.” After surveying 1,500 pet owners, some of the most popular cat names are Oliver, Leo, Milo and Charlie for male cats; and Luna, Bella and Kitty for female cats.

For some cat parents, it’s all about food and beverages, with names like Oreo, Pumpkin, Ginger, Peanut, Cookie, Snickers, Sugar and Mocha topping the list. And healthy food-themed names are on the rise, too, like Chia and Boba.

With all the news about CBD and Cannabis, Rover.com found that marijuana-themed names are on the rise, with Kush, Doobie and Blaze trending upward.

No matter what you name your cat, don’t try to overthink it. I’ve spent hours trying to come up with names for foster kittens only to start all over again with something completely different and more fitting. Sometimes the perfect name will just hit me out of the blue. Just try to relax and look for your cat’s personality traits, and you’re sure to be inspired.

Annie Butler Shirreffs has worked in the pet industry for 20 years and is currently the senior editor of Catster and Dogster magazines. A cat lover since she was a little girl, she has always had feline friends in her life. She and her husband share their Southern California home with their four cats and an ever-changing clowder of foster kittens, all of whom enjoy being testers for cool, new products.

Thumbnail image: Rover.com’s cat behaviorist gives us tips on naming cats. Courtesy Rover.com.

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26 thoughts on “Top Cat Names: What to Name Your New Cat”

  1. Our current cats are Duncan, Blinkin’, Winkin’, Kirby, Dottie, Rhett, Smoke-ness, Splat, Spotty, Pierre, Gretchen, Trouble, Keegan, Callie, Arlo, Milo, Millicent, Stanley, Olivia, Eleanor, Maximus, Seuss, Theo, Leo, Grimsby, Gink, Archibald, Amber, Creamcicle, Ricochet, Oswaldo, Hades, Lulu Belle, Rorschach, Elliot, Bogart, Domino, Lindsey, Kitty Kitty, Cheeto, Lily, Nacho, Lionel, Goldie, Blackie, Rosie & Shadow.

    Our former cats are Soapie (Sophie), Priscilla, Butterball, Sam, Freddy, Elizabeth, Victoria, Malcolm, Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside, Tommy, Confucius, Samantha, Edgar, Winston, Annie, Emily, Abbey, Quincy, Mosby, Markus, Sebastian, Patrick, Charlie, Calamity, Ozpaw, Sesa Paw, Sidney, Bart, McGuffy, Floppy, Barnaby, Patty Cake, Attila, Bear, Grendel, Tessary, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Speckle, Joey, Stinker, Esmeralda, Angus, Tina, Tuffy, Spot, Momma, Meow, Billy, Tao, Bonkers, Tiger, Dolly, Tobie, Star, Thumper, Mouse, Dorito & Daryl the Feral.

  2. My two cats are sisters: Ezell (short for Named in Honor of Mary Ezell) and Singer (short for Southern Baptist Soprano Singer). In high school, I had a cat named Eddie Van Halen. I once had a cat named Charlie because of “Charlotte’s Web”. I also had a Tom named Tinkerbill because he was so tiny when I got him. I could go on for hours about all the cat names: Pawvarotti, Baker, Vincent, Catspaw, Tiffany, Pat, Mike, Crybaby, Cat Steven, etc.

  3. My 25 yr old special cat was Suzie who was through the good and bad times.
    My 17 year old main coon cat was “Eddie” my love. I grieve for his loss
    Pork and Beans were special. I selfishly favored Beans. Porky adopted others.
    Mitzie was adorable…i called her, she ran towards me and a car killed her.
    Peppi was almost human. I was too lazy to comb him. Fleas ate his brain.
    Each one had a special place in my heart. They were beautiful, understanding affectionate; they understood my moods, they were all loyal. Thats unconditional love! I am now blessed with my new feral cat “Bell” who was a challenge but she has me trained well, made a complete turnaround and is now so loving, patient and talkative. MEOW!
    Cats give us unconditional love and In return we have the responsibility to groom them, brush or comb their fur removing loose fur, fleas etc. It is said that to cater to your friend is to lengthen your life span. It’s good therapy!
    Don’t ever yell at your cats – talk to them in their own language. When they misbehave, don’t scream or yell…just HISS in their own language – they’ll get the message! They understand. They’re smarter than you think.

  4. Patricia Garlausky Horwell

    I named my four-year-old rescue Pierre but Usually call him kitty or baby. He responds to the two latter only and never to Pierre. He also knows what “Want a treat?” means and will run toward where I keep them. And he’ll come when I ask him to “come here.”

  5. My ten year old neutered male is named Jefferson. When I am in another room and call him, he comes to that room! I can say other things, but he only comes to his name. I never use “nicknames.”

  6. Darleen V Gillyard

    My oldest is named Tee Cee after the 60s cartoon Top Cat – he was referred to as TC and the baby is Chooh Chooh after TC’s side kick on the show.

  7. the cat i adopted from where i volunteer was named sunny. i decieded to name her fiona
    other names were
    nighters
    coco
    nighters
    blackie
    midnight
    cali

  8. So what ARE the top names?? List them!! You provide lots of links to Rover.com, but you click on it and there’s NO link to their pet names survey. Where’s the survey?? What’s the point of this article if you don’t provide the list or a link to a list? All you provide are some examples. Bogus!!!!

  9. As one who has lived with cats for 67 years, it seems strange to me that not one mention of the fact that felines love the sound of “ie” at the end of their names. I love my Phoebe, Brandy, Mollie, and the tripod male my wife named Jasper, who she refers to as Jasperonie. All four are rescue cats.

  10. GooGoo (Dolly), Vincent, Inky and Chick (-adee) because he was about the size of one when we found him. Ferdinand whose earlier owners thought he was a she and called her Isabella. Omar, Keiko, Mako and Midnight. Squawky and Suzie and Rip ( on account of his claws). Flower, Numa and Blinky …

  11. My cats are Jasmine and Sheldon. I had Jasmine’s name in mind for a Siamese but I ended up with a long-haired part Persian (we think). Sheldon’s name came from Big Bang Theory, of course.

  12. My cat is a rescue & they named her Angel. I decided to keep the name when I got her from them & it has proved most appropriate.

  13. My cats are named:
    Nikita
    Tiki
    Eikichi
    Marble
    Xingke
    Fatboy
    Shion

    And previous cats have been:
    Ikki
    Kyo
    Felix
    Gregorio ( Goyo) Haineko
    Kiba

    I try giving them foreign people names.

  14. Our furball’s named Zippy Doo’da. He was adopted 7 years ago. Over a life time of sharing my space with felines Zippy by far has been the most laid back, sweet, friendly, loveable little guy. I have yet never heard him hiss crowl or any of those “bad things” kitties usually do. Personally I think, he thinks he’s a people. We love our little guy.

  15. Pingback: Top Cat Names: What to Name Your New Cat – Info Body

  16. Pingback: Top Cat Names: What to Name Your New Cat | PetTraining.org

  17. Pingback: High Cat Names: What to Identify Your New Cat – Cute funny cat kitten pictures videos

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