Last Updated on: September 17, 2014 by Ingrid King

cat in the sun

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

T.S. Eliot had it right in his famous poem: naming cats is a very important matter! Some of our cats come to us already named, and we keep the name because it suits, or because the cat already responds to it. Others come with names we don’t like,  so we choose a new name for them. Either way, most cat parents put a lot of thought into naming a cat.

And in addition to their given name, most cats have not just one, but a whole series of nicknames. Some of the nicknames may be so silly that we wouldn’t even admit to them in public, some are terms of endearment, and some are derived from a personality trait.

Allegra came to me with her name, and I chose to keep it because it fits her joyful and happy personality to a tee. She also has a number of nicknames: Allie, Allie-Bellie, Legra, Allegra Bellina, and Allie-Mouser.

Ruby’s name was Cinnamon when I first met her. There have to be a thousand torties named Cinnamon, and the name just didn’t seem special enough for her. I wanted another gemstone name to honor Amber’s memory, and initially I thought of naming Ruby Topaz for her gorgeous eyes, but it didn’t feel right. I chose Ruby because ruby is a heart chakra stone, and it reflects her exuberant loving spirit perfectly.  And of course, she, too, has a series of nicknames: Ruby Rubinski, Rubelina, Munchkin Kitten, and Monkey Cat.

How did your cat get his or her name? What are some of your cat’s nicknames?

The Naming Of Cats by T. S. Eliot

 The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey–
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter–
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover–
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.