Penelope has a calico or tortoiseshell cat named Tinka. Tinka showed up on Penelope's doorstep and earned her name in this manner.
Special Names for Special Cats: Calico and Tortoiseshell
Calico cats (sometimes called tortoiseshell cats) are not a breed of cat as, say, ginger cats or Persian cats are. They are 'calico' cats because of their coloring. What defines 'calico' cats are their splendid orange, black and white splodge markings (and their two X chromosomes instead of one).
This article has lists of special names for your really special calico cat, mostly female names—because they are almost always female (for those X and Y chromosome reasons)—though there are some original male names, too. Calico cats ask to have names that no other cat has (or very, very few cats have!). Looking around the world and peeking at history, I found the inspiration for great names for calico cats from the following list of 'ideas':
- Names from Egypt and around the Mediterranean where the calico cat is traced to have originated (where 'Tinka' still lives).
- Names of famous calico cats through time and literature.
- Pretty names because they are 'pretty'.
- Original names because they are quite special and the Japanese people consider them lucky (maneki-neko).
- Names of cats that have gone down in the history of cats and would make great names for a calico cat.
Calico Cat Names From Egyptian History
- Ta Miu: She was so revered that her owner Crown Prince Thutmose mummified and buried her in a decorated sarcophagus after she died. (The Prince was a priest in ancient Memphis).
- Isis: Princess Isis because she was Prince Thutmose's sister. Why not call her Princess Isis? My mother always titles her pets. Her Westie, for instance, is called Lady Anges!
- Cleopatra: She was the last pharoh of Egypt 69 BC. The most beautiful queen.
- Selene: Cleopatra's daughter, so she must have been very beautiful too.
Your calico cat is going to grow into quite a big cat—with a famously independent personality and loving character. You might want to give her a name that's as important as the following calico cats, which have gone down in international history:
- Maryland: The Baltimore Orioles of Maryland wear the colors of a calico cat (black orange and white).
- Selima: Belonged to Earl Horace Walpole and inspired the poem by Thomas Gray (1748) "Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes" because, very sadly, she drowned—in a goldfish bowl!
- Tama: Is the station master (and calico cat) at a Japanese railroad station— Kinokawa, Wakayama.
- Delila: Freddie Murphy (Queen) paid tribute to this cat in his last album "Innuendo".
- Marzipan: Lives in the Astor Theatre in Melbourne and enjoys being petted by patrons as she watches movies—or waits for them in the lobby. She has her own Facebook page.
Or you might like to give her a Japanese sounding name since the Japanese consider a calico cat lucky. The sound of the following names are sort of Japanese sounding and cat-cute, accent and all!
- Jápana: From Japan (pronounced also Ya Pa Na)
- Kôh-lina: Means "good luck" in Japanese
- Manéki (Neko): Is a Japanese figurine that also means "welcome"
I asked my eldest son what he would name a calico cat, since all his life he has called his pets by the most endearing and unusual names—his guinea pig was Sgwench, for instance, and his dog was Lello. These are the names that he came up with, which are worth a serious mention because they're so remarkably odd—but cute.
- Lu Lu
- Piga Pigu
Tortoiseshell Male Cat Names
If you have a male calico or tortoiseshell cat or kittens, these names are both original and full of personality!
- Lord Lem
Names From the Mediterranean
Since a calico cat's history takes her back to the warm coasts of the Mediterranean (where Tinka and I live), here are a few really pretty European names:
And a few Mediterranean names for male calico kittens, too:
My Calico Cat, Tinka
I called my cat "Tinka" because when she turned up at my doorstep, forlorn and skinny, she was a thief and not much to look at.
"Tinka" came from the word Tinker, (from the old English children's poem):
Rich man, poor man,
I fed her. We began to love each other, and she became a loving, faithful, beautiful cat with a grand personality, massive pride, yet tender and sweet. When she was younger, she was the best mice catcher in Italy. She stopped being a Tinker and became a special "Tinka".
Other Good Articles About Names for Cats
- What are good black cat names?
Having problems naming your black cat? Take a look at some ideas on how to find black cat names and see my personal top 100 names.
- What are good white cat names?
- What are good orange cat names?
Questions & Answers
Question: What are creative names for female calico cats?
Answer: I think there are quite a few creative female calico cat names in my article, but how about Gertrude, Edmonia, Lavinia, Fede, Berthe?
Question: I have a tabby cat named Phoenix and I'm getting a female calico but not sure of a name. What does everyone think of the name Seleah?
Answer: What a gorgeous name Seleah, so poetic, like a soft wind.
© 2012 Penelope Hart
Julie on August 13, 2020:
My new little one has a lot of white with coloured patches which I think could be Calico but was listed as a Tortie. She has thick medium hair. Her name from the Shelter I got her from is Mindy but have started calling her either that or Muffin which suits her and her softness and gentle nature.
Sherri Overzat on July 02, 2020:
My daughter named her male calico Chaos.
brooklynn on April 03, 2019:
we named our calico barn cat Star
Pepper Pots on February 27, 2019:
We picked Pepper Pots for our calico cat.
Max on September 23, 2018:
Our Calico is called Cinamon :)
Pamela on September 16, 2018:
I have a new Calico kitten and I can't find the perfect name!! She is a beauty, very playful, sweet and nosey!! Lol I have named her everything and nothing seems to fit
Olly on July 12, 2018:
I named my calico cat Pichu after both the Pokémon and the parrot from a cartoon my mother used to watch and I watched as well. She was so sweet, affectionate, loved to be pet and held (but only by me) and she was my only friend for very long periods of my life. I still miss her... She was very loyal and social, always welcoming people when entering the house like a dog. She couldn't handle other cats, but always made dogs follow her. She was the Alpha and they obeyed her! I loved her so much.
Janet on March 26, 2018:
Our Calico was born in June so we named her "Junipurr". I want another one and name her "Purrdy"!
Elaine on January 10, 2018:
My beautiful calico is the sweetest, most affectionate cat I've ever had (I've had 5 cats). Her name is Caboodle — and (sometimes) she actually comes when I call her!
Diane on December 17, 2017:
I've had two calico's in my lifetime. Sheena was my first. She was very loyal and regal. Calypso is the one I have now. She's very loyal and has the softest fur I've ever felt. Both of them have the sweetest personalities. My son named Sheena because at his young age he mispronounced Shee-Ra. Calypso just fits her sweet, yet spunky, personality. When Sheena passed away at 18 years my son never left her side. We loved her deeply. Calypso is my sweetheart who I love very much.
krazykats on May 08, 2016:
My little calico is named Amazing Gracie! I just got her after my little black rescue cat, Lovey, died of mammary cancer. God sent Amazing Gracie to me to ease my broken heart. :)
Penelope Hart (author) from Rome, Italy on May 25, 2013:
Chelsea is the most adorable wonderful name for a Calico cat. Wishing you all the happiness in the world together.
TSH37 on May 24, 2013:
Im getting a calico kitten and i thought of naming her chelsea ..is that a cute a good fit name for her?
Penelope Hart (author) from Rome, Italy on December 03, 2012:
Love Chewbacca name - Chewy too! (rhymes with meeooi). Thank you so much for commenting. Happy life together and let's hope she lasts as long as Tinka does, who surprises even the vet! Amazing cat.
Yvonne Spence from UK on December 02, 2012:
I only discovered recently that calico cats are what in UK are tortoiseshell and white. When I was a kid we had a calico cat for a while and her ginger and white kitten - he was my cat. Then 9 years ago when my kids were little and we wanted to get a new cat, one of my daughters wanted a calico. I didn't hold out much hope because where we live there are not a lot of cats available. But then someone at my husband's work moved and we got their 2 cats: a calico and her ginger and white son! I'm afraid to say that instead of a glamorous Mediterranean names ours has a slightly silly name - Chewy, short for Chewbacca from Starwars. We thought about changing it, but she knew her name, so it stayed.
I love your suggestions from Egyptian history so if we ever have another she will get one of those names!
I enjoyed this hub, great stuff!
Penelope Hart (author) from Rome, Italy on November 30, 2012:
Thank you so much!
Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on November 30, 2012:
Love your hub and the vieeo. Tinka is a cute name and she is a beautiful cat! :)
Penelope Hart (author) from Rome, Italy on November 30, 2012:
Wish you could remember her name. Please come back when you do and I will add it to this hub! Thanks so much for visiting here Natashalh.
Natasha from Hawaii on November 30, 2012:
I didn't know that calicoes come from the Mediterranean - that's cool. I had one once, a long time ago. It had a mythological name, like many of my pets, so I guess that was fitting-ish.
Penelope Hart (author) from Rome, Italy on November 30, 2012:
I'm really, really sorry about losing your beautiful Calico. Such beautiful and clever cats. What was her name?
Many thanks for popping by.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 30, 2012:
Beautiful cats. I had a Calico that died about 6 years ago and I still miss her. Interesting hub.
Penelope Hart (author) from Rome, Italy on November 06, 2012:
Nina's an adorable name, though I've had Tinka for 18 years, so her name is stuck on us!!! Thanks for commenting alice.
alice on November 06, 2012:
i think Nina sounds better and its spanish name means little girl
Penelope Hart (author) from Rome, Italy on October 20, 2012:
Kitty is a wonderful name for your lovely calico cat.
Kim Kennedy from uk on October 20, 2012:
We have a calico cat, but I didn't realize it until seeing Tinka. Just thought she's a splotchy girl, who's vey beautiful. Our cat could be Tinka's little sister. And funnily enough , she's called Kitty like angela's cat was. Small world!
Penelope Hart (author) from Rome, Italy on September 13, 2012:
Tinka isn't mean at all - she's just too wonderful and when my baby grand daughter tried playing with her she just let her as though she knew she was just little.
Thaks for chat tu comment.
Angela Michelle Schultz from United States on September 13, 2012:
I had one calico cat, and I named her Kitty. No, not very original, but I figured that's what I would call when I wanted her to come to me, so why choose a different name. I was twelve. She had kittens, and not a single one was calico. There was a black and white one as well as four orange ones. I heard calico cats can get kind of mean though.
Penelope Hart (author) from Rome, Italy on September 05, 2012:
Janis Lola is a sweet name and the name of the mother of two dogs we had. Thanks for votes and pin.
Twins. The rating capsule helps with G I think!
Alicia hi. Tinka thanks you for the compliments and so do I.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 05, 2012:
I love the video and photos of Tinka, GoodLady! She's a beautiful cat. The colors and patterns of her coat are very attractive. The cat names are interesting, too. My favorite name is Selene.
Karen Lackey from Ohio on September 05, 2012:
I have never thought of using the rating capsule outside of recipes. Great idea! I enjoyed your article and Tinka is a pretty cat!
Janis Goad on September 04, 2012:
I love cats, all of them--Calico are beautiful with the orange splotches, and I love black and white tuxies! We have a long-haired grey cat named Poppy, a black short hair with gold undercoat, like the stone mica, and a little, furry black and white tuxie named Lola. I usually get cats from someone else, and have kept the names they came with.
Voted up and pinning. I love the pictures.
Penelope Hart (author) from Rome, Italy on September 04, 2012:
Judi. Lord Lem's good! Thanks for votes
KathyH Glad you like Tinka's name. Love it too. Bless for voting and words.
hecate-horus Hi! We love Tinka too. Nice of you to drop in. Thanks.
hecate-horus from Rowland Woods on September 04, 2012:
Love this hub, especially the video of Tinka. What a sweetie!
KathyH from Waukesha, Wisconsin on September 04, 2012:
Excellent and interesting names! Tinka is SO beautiful! :) Thanks for sharing! Voted up and across!
Judi Brown from UK on September 04, 2012:
Tinka is very beautiful! I envy you - a beautiful cat and a gorgeous WHFT! Love some of those names - "Lord Lem" is my favourite.
Voted up etc.