When you adopt, rescue, purchase, or otherwise find yourself embracing a cat, do you struggle to name him or her? Or does the name just pop out as if the cat herself put it into your head? Does he send you mind-messages, “I’m Tuffy. I want to be Tuffy, ’cause I’m a tuff cat.” Or do you have a mishmash of names you’ve saved over the years for just the right cat or kitten? Maybe you want to call her Lulu after another cat you once loved or you came across a cat with a cool name you’d like to use: Alpha-Cat, Cleopatra, Geisha, or Hello Kitty.
I’ve used many different methods for naming a cat—from practically picking out a cat to fit the name I’ve been wanting to use, to observing the cat for several days to let her choose her own name.
The most unique naming ritual I’ve been involved in was the time my three small daughters couldn’t agree on a name for our grey and white kitten. We decided to let the kitten choose her own name. So we wrote down about eight of their name choices on tiny slips of paper, wadded them up and tossed them in front of the kitten. We would give her the name written on the wad she played with first. Well, on that initial scattering of the paper wads, the kitten simply sat and stared at the wads. I guess she didn’t like any of the names.
Plan B: we dipped the wads in gravy and tossed them again. This time, the kitten ate the first one she approached before we could take it from her. Rather than open all the rest of the gravy-soaked pieces of paper to try determining which name she ate, we called that a foul and tossed the wads again. This time we grabbed her before she could eat the one she picked. We opened it and that’s when we knew her name would be PomPom–my youngest daughter’s choice.
One of the cats we rescued came with the name Katy. We already had a cat named Katy, so we went to work trying to come up with a more appropriate name for the calico. We observed her for several days looking for clues as to the perfect name for her.
This cat seemed always to be in the kitchen when we were. One evening when I entered the kitchen to start dinner, and the cat, as usual, joined me, I broke into song: “Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah…” And so it was that Dinah became her name.
When we rescued a family of three kittens who’d taken up residence in our woodpile, we gave them temporary names—we didn’t plan to keep any of them. We already had three cats. We would find homes for them. We called the girls, Braveheart and Bella and I tagged the beautiful snowshoe type male kitten, Creamy. Well, I thought he was a girl, for one thing. When we discovered he was a boy and that we would be keeping him, I had to find him a more fitting name and I was coming up against all kinds of brick walls.
I looked for names everywhere and I finally found one at a grandson’s high school graduation. I listened to the names of the students as they were called to receive their diplomas and when I heard Max, that one stuck.
Do any of you have a name or a few names already picked for your next cat or dog? How do you choose a name for your pets?