How to Choose the Purr-fect Cat Name


The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter, it isn’t just one of your holiday games. – T. S. Elliot

 Guest post by Abigail Beal

T. S. Elliot may have been on to something. If you’ve just brought home an adorable cat or kitten from the local animal shelter, then you know what the next task is: finding a name for him. Maybe your new family member came with a name you don’t like, or that doesn’t suit. Picking a name for your cat can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a serious matter, and you’ll want to spend some time to find that “just right” fit.

The following tips can help you find the purr-fect cat name for your new furry companion.

Keep a pen and paper handy.

You’ll want to capture every idea, no matter how far-fetched it may seem. This will be especially helpful if choosing your new cat’s name involves other family members.

What comes to you first?

Sometimes the name choices that appear right away are the best. One look into their adorable eyes and it comes to you right away. You just intuitively know that your striped tabby should be called “Max.” Or that friendly orange cat’s name should be “Mango.”

Spend some time with your cat before naming them.

Engage them in playtime, pet and cuddle them, and get to know their personalities. Shelter cats especially tend to take some time in a new home before you’ll see the “real cat” emerge. A super active cat could be named after your favorite Olympic athlete. A curious cat could be named Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie. A cat who stalks cat toys with a vengeance might be named Panther, Cheetah or even the classic, Tiger.

Do you have other cats?

You may want to give your new cat a name that sounds different from the others. Even though cats are smart and learn their names quickly, it may be a little confusing for everyone if one cat is named Timmy and another cat is named Tommy.

Ultimately there are no rules for naming a cat. Every cat name is purr-fect.

How did you come up with your cat’s name?

Abigail Beal is a writer and a life-long cat lover who has been “owned” by cats simply forever. Her first cat was named Cheshire, after the Alice in Wonderland cat. She now answers to a large, grey cat named Sammy who likes his tuna snack spooned out three times a day. Visit her site to help pick and choose that purr-fect cat name!

21 Comments on How to Choose the Purr-fect Cat Name

  1. Pam
    September 3, 2013 at 8:17 pm (8 years ago)

    My beautiful Shelley (may she rest in peace) got her name because whenever I made a little psh, psh sound, she always came to me instantly and with an expression of great intrigue. I quickly decided that Shelley was a good name for her. It always felt right from then on.

    My handsome Jack got his name because I wanted a name that was different sounding than Shelley, because I thought “Jack and Shelley” sounded like the names of a great human couple … maybe from 1950s or something, and because he just is a “Jack.” He is all boy and an adventurer. The name fits him very well.

  2. Lauren
    August 30, 2013 at 4:05 pm (8 years ago)

    When I adopted my now almost two-year-old tabby, Rajah, he had a different name. I didn’t think it suited him, so I went through a few names that sounded potentially right for him. His former name was Cheez whiz. Yup, you read that one right, Cheez whiz. Anyway, being a huge Disney fan even as a young adult, I dug into my Disney list of favorite movies and started saying names aloud. Bagheera is my fave character in Jungle book, but Rajah wasn’t black at least not completely. I had already had the pleasure of having a cat named Simba, so that was out too. Then I remembered a sighted friend of mine had described Rajah as looking like a little raccoon, so naturally I tried Meeko next. After a few minutes, I realized he wasn’t going for it. I tried Oliver for a day or two, but that didn’t fly either. Ironically Oliver would have been a good choice because a month after I adopted Rajah, I took him to New York with me! LOL! Anyway, after three days of trying Oliver, I turned on an episode of Aladdin the TV Series. A few minutes into the episode, Jasmine called for her pet tiger, Rajah. When he heard Jasmine’s call, my new kitty looked up and meowed. So Rajah he became from that day on. It suits him too. He has the catitude of a tiger and he thinks he’s bigger than he is. LOL! I love him so much! In fact, I call him my little tiger as a nickname!

    • evan
      August 11, 2014 at 12:07 pm (7 years ago)

      My tabby’s name is Cheese Whiz and I love her and she loves her name.

  3. Ingrid
    August 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm (8 years ago)

    I love hearing all these stories about how you picked your cats’ names! Keep them coming!

  4. Gail
    August 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm (8 years ago)

    Right now, I have Tawny (the torti,) Bailey, Kai, Max and Willow. I am still hoping that my one outdoor cat, Charley, comes home. He had been named Pinky by his previous owners before they took him to the shelter, but that name did NOT fit him at all.

    Tawny, Baily and Kai were named at the shelter, and they seem to be content with those names. Max had been named Charley at the shelter, but, since I already had a Charley, I re-named him Max. Willow had been named Wanda at the shelter, but, again, that name just didn’t suit her.

  5. Rebecca
    August 30, 2013 at 2:53 pm (8 years ago)

    My cats were named before their eyes opened and it is amazing how they have changed their names.
    Cinnamon has transformed into our little “cinner” always getting into mischief. Nothing can go undisturbed when within reach of his paw. We swear he took “cute” classes with his “I didn’t do it” roll over technique.
    Marshmallow has a thing for lying in the sun upside down, so he is now Mellow Marsh.
    Their wild mom is Jaws who bit through 3 layers of blankets and drew blood. I kept her caged with the kittens until she could be spayed. Cleaning was a challenge but we had an agreement. I don’t touch her and she doesn’t kill me.
    Another of the wild cats is named KitKat for Killer In Training, not quite Jaws level but has the potential.

  6. Shelley Wilkinson
    August 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm (8 years ago)

    My cats (and dog) all have Colorado related names. It all started with my ex-boyfriend who had 2 cats, Montana and Laramie. We then rescued a kitten and named her Cheyenne. We moved from Kansas (where we both grew up) to Maine but still had a special place in our hearts for Colorado. We adopted a dog and named him Estes (Park, Colorado) and it’s been all Colorado from there (or mostly!). [We adopted a 3 year old dog whose name was Nikki and we kept that ’cause nothing else fit.] Then came adopted tortie Boulder. Since moving back to Kansas (with Estes, Nikki, Laramie, Cheyenne and Boulder), I have adopted/rescued: Kit Carson, Rocky, Aspen, Victor (yes, a town in Colorado!), Diamond (who came prenamed but I figure there are black diamond ski slopes…) and dog Holly (another Colorado town). Lastly, came Captain Morgan. Not exactly Colorado, although there is Fort Morgan, but he was rescued from a bar and, well, his name is just cute, as is he!!

    • Shelley Wilkinson
      August 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm (8 years ago)

      Oh, and I had a rabbit named Gunnison. Gunny the Bunny!

  7. Abigail Beal
    August 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm (8 years ago)

    Hello Ingrid,

    Thank you for being such a warm and gracious host as I visit your blog today! I have enjoyed listening to everyone’s stories of how their cats have helped them to discover their names (I completely understand that one’s cat helps you to name them!). Such thoughtful and beautiful names you have picked out for each of your cats (with their furry help of course!). Thank you again for welcoming me to your blog today, I have enjoyed my visit very much!

    🙂 Abigail

  8. Sue Brandes
    August 30, 2013 at 1:27 pm (8 years ago)

    Most of the time the name comes right to me. Every once in awhile I cannot think of one. I have Cashew-the color of a cashew and he is a loveable nut,Charlie-named after one who passed,Garfield-son named for you guessed it the Garfield cat and yes he acts like him and looks like him,Tubby also named from a beloved kitty that passed. I call Tubby Lubby and I think he really likes it.

  9. Dorothy Williams
    August 30, 2013 at 1:09 pm (8 years ago)

    My first three rescue cats came with names which I changed so they wouldn’t associate me with their unhappy pasts. My first was challenging as I didn’t ‘get it’ and chose a name based on my ‘cleverness’. Thus PC (puss cat) went through many evolutions (Pork Chop, PrinCess, Pretty Cat) but eventually we settled into PussPuss and she seemed contented. The boys, Malcolm and Montague, ‘told’ me their names at our first meet&greets! No wavering there!

    My current 5 are all adopted rescues as well. Two of these are tabbies and were named by the rescue org. after English parks, not the cats’ choices, so evolved to their current names…Whiskers has the most amazing curly, tickling whiskers which she uses to full advantage to get attention. Gentle Mouse is the shyest and most timid little creature who craves love and attention, but scurries out of arms reach if she fears she’ll be picked up. She is learning to trust but it is a very slow process.

    The other three (oriental mixes) were named by me for the rescue org. The boys, Étude and Rondo, vocal since their rescued pregnant mother birthed them, have musical names which suit their joie de vivre personalities. They have only lived here: first as fosters, then at age 2 adopted into the family… experiencing only love, comfort and a life of leisure.

    Sweet Cecily has evolved into Sweetie over time. The resident baby, she was separated from her mother at 3 weeks with a broken leg, and surrendered to a shelter to be euthanized. Rescued, she’s the feistiest of kittens with her ‘siblings’, yet a full blown cuddle bunny with me (her surrogate mom).

    So, listen carefully… They will tell you their names. Some names will come instantly, some may take a little longer but with an open heart and a listening ear you’ll know what name is right for your furry!

  10. Angela Gosselin
    August 30, 2013 at 12:13 pm (8 years ago)

    Before my Husband & I were married we adopted a Calico kitty together and named her Phoebe. We got married & had 3 more.. well adopted 3 more hehe.. The 2 girls Paige(blk/wht Tuxedo & Piper(all black). Our male black kitty is Cody Bear. Our favorite tv show was Charmed which is about good sister witches who fought against evil, which are named Phoebe,Paige, Piper and Pru(Prudent). Yuk on the Prudent! Cody Bear was always sleeping on his back with 4 paws to the wind so we named him after my hubby’s fav porno star Kodi face turning 3 shades of red) but as he grew a lil more we realized he was a boy and just changed the spelling to Cody and the Bear part came from his giant Bear like claws. 😀

  11. mochasmysteriesandmore
    August 30, 2013 at 10:02 am (8 years ago)

    I chose Truffles because as a tortie, she looked like a perfect little chocolate truffle 🙂

  12. Celeste
    August 30, 2013 at 9:52 am (8 years ago)

    Ours was an easy choice: Only black cat in the litter; was finally weaned from his mother in October. SPOOKY BOO.

  13. Sue
    August 30, 2013 at 9:16 am (8 years ago)

    Punkin was 2when I got him from a family with 2 kids under 4 so I didn’t want to change it.
    Spicy was next. She was a rescue who was named Louise at the shelter. As a tortie, Spicy felt right with Punkin.
    Then came TC. She was found in a dumpster in a garbage bag. TC stands for trash can. My husbands idea.
    Last was Gin Gin. She was born outside to a feral mom but became very socialized. I took her to Petsmart as soon as I picked her up and someone said they loved ginger cats. So she was Ginger, later shortened to Gin Gin.

  14. Jocasta
    August 30, 2013 at 8:41 am (8 years ago)

    Satori is a black/white tuxie Maine Coon. He was born two days after my beloved Bullwinkle, another tuxie, died. When he was born I immediately thought of reincarnation. Even as a tiny newborn, Satori had a calmness and presence about him. To me, it looked as though he was in a state of grace, so I named him Satori, which is Japanese (Buddhist) for enlightenment or state of grace. He is still my little Buddha and teaches me new things every day.

  15. krystal price
    August 30, 2013 at 8:35 am (8 years ago)

    I have a samir, Alanna and kricket. Samir means friend in the night and he was purchased for my aging golden retriever so she would have a companion. Alanna means beautiful and the first thing I said was, she’s so cute! And kricket bounced and jumped on everything and everyone so its perfect for him, he still pounces on everyone all the time to this day. I liked the name cricket, but wanted it to be a little unique so changed the spelling a little bit

  16. cat isidor
    August 30, 2013 at 8:26 am (8 years ago)

    One came with a name from a previous owner so that was easy.

    My first cat I named her Twinkletoes because she was very fast.

    My secound cat I named Eric since as I was just saying various name options he looked up at me when I said it.

    Three black kittens I found on the side of the road were named Bruce (but renamed Lucky by my grandma sonce she took him) for Batman since he was the biggest of the three.

    The other boy was named Darien after Darien Fawkes of SciFi’s The Invisible Man and boy does he live up to that! He is often impossible to find.

    And then there is Faythe named after the character Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And she is a spitfire much like the character.

    They were dubbed the Cadburys since when I brought them home I managed to get chocolate on them from my work clothes – I worked in a bakery lol

    Then there is Castiel my young brown tabby who reminds me coloring wise of Cas from the tv show Supernatural. (See a theme here lol)

  17. Andrea
    August 30, 2013 at 2:25 am (8 years ago)

    If you listen very closely and give yourself enough time to really know your cat he/she will tell you the name. I have tried naming cats with a purpose but it just never works. It has to be a name they pick out.

    One litter of kittens I had were all blue or blue and white (their mom was a blue and white tux cat). Bluebird almost immediately told me her name. I had no equivocation, she simply was Bluebird. The others had temporary names until I “heard” their real names. A theme began to emerge as the next became Question – he had an upside down question mark on his face. Then Sky Voice, ironically the quiet one.

    I wanted to call another one Moody Blue since all the others were named for Moody Blues’ songs but he just wouldn’t have it. I finally figured out that I was close, when I realized he was Mewdy Blue instead we connected on the deepest level possible.

    One other time I had a cat that simply didn’t know how to share. He had some trouble communicating with humans so I never did learn his true name. I called him Little Boy and he accepted it but we both knew his true name lay buried in his secret place.

    Sorry, I could go on and on about cat names but I’ll let you off the hook now 🙂

    • Gail
      August 30, 2013 at 2:47 pm (8 years ago)

      I’ve had cats that have either “told” me their names or that expressed approval if I hit upon a name that they liked.

      One, especially, that I will never forget was my ginger tom, Ted. I had gone to the shelter with my sister so that she could pick out a cat, and while I was walking around checking out the cats, a small, ginger tom, reached out and grabbed my hand and I heard, “Hi! My name is Ted.”

      Although I didn’t adopt him that day, I couldn’t forget him, and asked my sister to go back and pick him up for me, since she had just recently moved to the area and wasn’t yet working, and I had a full-time job and couldn’t get there.

      She brought him to her apartment, and, when I went to pick him up that night, I called him name, and he immediately responded…and that was it. His name was Ted and he knew it right from the beginning…no questions asked.

      Many years later, my daughter and I went to the local shelter because she was looking to adopt a cat. She found a nice grey-and-white kitten to adopt, and, on the way home, she was mulling over what to name him. She thought that she would name him “Siam” but I “heard” him state unequivocally that his name was “Sam”…just “Sam.” And, again, he immediately responded to the name that HE chose.

  18. Rudolph.A.Furtado
    August 30, 2013 at 2:00 am (8 years ago)

    The cats i owned in my life over the years since childhood were named “Ferdie”, “Trixie”, Matahari” and “Matata”.Traditional Persian cats “Matahari” and her kitten ,now a 4 year old tomcat “Matata” are the cats i own at present.The first cat “Ferdie” was not my chosen name as i was a young child in the 1960’s but the other 3 names were my choice, reasons are a “Cats Secret”!


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