What Should I Name My Cat?

CatChannel expert Jeanne Adlon, professional cat sitter, discusses ways to pick your new cat's name.

By Jeanne Adlon | Posted: October 1, 2010, 3 a.m. EDT

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Q: I just adopted a cat from a shelter and am trying to find the right name — any suggestions?

A: Thank you for adopting from a shelter — so many of our feline friends need good homes. If a name does not come to you right away, take a little time to observe your new addition. Get to know her and maybe something about your cat's personality, behavior or physical appearance will inspire you. My wonderful cat Magic was named because “that old black magic cast a spell over me” when I first adopted him and it still does.

There are as many varieties of names as there are cats. There are cute names like Fluffy, Honey or Whiskers; exotic ones like Sheba, Figaro or Samson; and descriptive names like Snowball and Cameo for a white kitty or Domino for a black and white. I even know a cat named Piglet, who truly grew into her name over the years. Her owner has since put “Pigs” on a diet. Nickie, a handsome tuxedo cat, was named for St. Nicholas by his owner, because she adopted him on Christmas Day.

As far as cats named for their personalities, I have cared for kitties aptly called Frisky, Precious and Sweetie. Adopting two cats (which I think is wonderful) could suggest famous duos. My housecalls include Cagney & Lacey, Ike & Tina and Frankie & Johnny.

Sometimes a cat will have a definite opinion and end up picking his own name. When I adopted my cat Lester, I originally thought Leroy, but he only responded to Lester, so Lester he is. He made a great choice by the way.

If your new cat does not respond to the name you have chosen right away, continually use the name when petting her, interacting with her and giving her treats. Whatever you choose stick with it. I have a client whose cat has three names but he responds to Emmanuel, so that’s what I call him. As always I welcome your stories and comments.


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Reader Comments

Erica    Tulsa, OK

5/10/2011 9:55:25 AM

Baby was first named Picke Bicke after a Hello Kitty friend, but I started calling him "Baby" as a nickname and now he'll only answer to Baby or Bay. Teeny started out as Dr. Cox after the Scrubs doctor, but his nickname stuck and he's Teeny now. My first cat was named Bebop, but he would only answer to Mr. Beebs :)

Carla    Auguusta, GA

4/26/2011 6:30:56 AM

Mr. Kitty was named because this is what he responded to. Mainly we call him Mister, but my daughter called him kitty. One day when he was misbehaving, I said look here mister kitty and he looked up immediately as if now you are talking I am MR KITTY. My daughter did not like the change but Mr did. Tabitha was named as she is a tabby and dad liked Bewitched when he was a kid. She was very bewitching.. All named after they showed us their personality.

;lfds    l;sf, MD

10/9/2010 12:19:11 AM


Julie    Fort Worth, TX

10/7/2010 8:34:38 AM

Eight years ago I came to adopt two tortie sisters. Forgetting that I wanted to name two cats Kanga and Roo (from Winnie the Pooh), they got named after their personalities - Zip because she was always running around and Twiggy because she was so much smaller.

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