8 Tips for Naming Your Cat

Updated on April 30, 2016

You just got home with the new kitten or cat. Hopefully, you got him or her at the shelter. With any luck, you were the one that was chosen. You prepared for this. You have the food, toys and litter box set up in strategic places. Now, what should you name the little guy?

Cats are unique creatures. Common names don’t suit them. While “Fluffy” and “Puss” are cute, they won’t reveal your cat’s true personality. If you rescued him with that name, you can change it—more about that later. Many veterinarians give the house’s surname.

Here are some tips to help you select the best name.

1. Take your time.

You want the name to reflect their look and personality. Take a couple days to name him. Watch how he plays and interacts with you and the environment. Does he play with more than one toy at a time? How does he interact with the other characters in the household? What color is he? A tuxedo cat called “Ginger” is an odd combination, but might fit. His behavior and appearance will give you ideas.

2. Don’t have too many names.

Cats recognize the sounds you make as words. If you give too many names, Alfred Lucious Moby Pendergrass Fluffy Hitler Hayden will think you are confused. He’ll choose the one he likes and ignore the rest.

3. Let the family help.

Everyone in the house should help to name your pet. Take all suggestions, discuss, and vote on a name or two. I don’t recommend using the same name as a member of the household. Otherwise, when you call Peter the child to clean up their mess, Peter the cat will come expecting a treat or something good.

A note about large households. Cats will adapt and respond to each person’s inflections. So you can use different versions of similar sounds and still get a response. They are intelligent like that.

4. Ask your friends.

Nobody knows you like the people you hang out with. They can make some good suggestions. You can also get ideas from their suggestions. My friend kept calling my cat “Rusty”, but I didn’t like it. I kept rolling it around in my head until I came up with “Rustacia”. However, now everyone thinks he is named after an eye medication or a skin disease. He doesn’t care and responds as if he chose it himself.

5. Name him after your favorite character.

If you are a Big Bang Theory fan, you might choose Sheldon or Penny. Dr. Who and Mr. Spock are both great choices for fans of either science fiction series. How about “Jon Snow” or “Finn”?

“Piwaket” was the cat in an old Kim Novak movie, “Bell, Book and Candle”. You could even choose the name of a show like “Librarian” or “Bones”.

6. Use a thesaurus.

Fluffy” has synonyms like Downy, Gossamer or Velutinous. A thesaurus can give you ideas for unusual choices instead of a common name.

7. Make sure he likes it.

Your little furry friend may or may not like the name you give him. If you choose the wrong name, he will respond slowly or ignore you until you have something he needs. How would you like to be called George when you are Loretta?

8. Repeat the name.

While you pet and/or cuddle your cat say his name over and over. Even if you rescued your cat with a name like Fluffy or Puss, you can change it through repetition. Start with calling him both names. For example, say Fluffy Spock for a couple days—especially at feeding and petting time—then start calling him Spock. Soon, he will get accustomed to your voice and accept the name.

They will answer to their names when they hear them. I once had a white cat named Pegasus that got very excited when he heard the cartoon Hercules call his winged horse.

How did you come up with your pet's name? Tell me about it in the comments below.


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      Sandra 4 weeks ago

      My cats name is Luka. She was names Luka as she is so original and majestic like the song "My name is Luka"

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      Master Sword 9 months ago

      What should I name my future cat?

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      Jenn OR 24 months ago

      Fabulously written but while the title was informative, it lacked the pizazz of the article's advice. Loved that you've worked in Piwaket & Rustacia...prolly others as well, I realize, too!

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      Gloria Dornin 24 months ago

      great advice and well writen

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      Vicky 24 months ago

      I had a black puppy and named him Poudre!