Do You Ever Call Your Cat The Wrong Name?

By Elisa Black-Taylor

Do you ever call your cat the wrong name? By this I mean do you get the cat you have now confused with a cat you had years ago? Not necessarily because they may look alike, but because you recognize the spirit of your previous cat in the new cat.

Wrong cat name?
Collage by Elisa
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The idea for this article is based on my experience as a cat caregiver for the past 32 years. Over the years I’ve had cats leave me for the Rainbow Bridge, only to return years later. The physical similarities have been there, but these “reincarnated cats” even chose the same favorite sleeping spots as before. A couple of them even had the same “meow.”

I know I’ve gotten on my daughter Laura’s last nerve over the years by calling a cat by its previous name. Mostly because she was so young when the cat was in our home that she had forgotten it.

My very first cat as an adult was Smoky. She met her end in the road, and returned a year later. Smoky spent a few weeks with us in January 2012. We fostered her as a cat named Dolly. I knew it was Smoky the first time Dolly followed me and started to climb my leg. She found her own family within a few weeks, and we made the decision to let her go. She was the first of my cats to return, but definitely not the last.

Then there was Tiger, now once again a gray tabby known as Sammy. Tiger died at nine months of age of a tumor wrapped around his intestines. The tumor was wrapped in a way that surgery was impossible. I had him euthanized before he woke up from exploratory surgery.

My sweetest cat Mandy was also with me for several years back in the late 1980’s. She was a beautiful calico/tortie in her past life too when her name was Scrappy. My beautiful Scrappy died after a neighbor placed mothballs under their home to ward off snakes and Scrappy drank water the mothballs had dissolved in after a rain. Mandy doesn’t look as identical to Scrappy as my other cats do, but I can see Scrappy in her eyes every single time I look at her.

I believe as I grow older and my memory slips at times, my daughter may have to accept I’ve been given a second chance with several of my cats. If I call them by their previous name, well, she’s just going to have to make some adjustments.

Do any of you do this? I know Michael has written about cats having souls. I’ve also research the subject of reincarnated cats, where I learned a lot of you also have your cats back. Take a look at my collage. If any of you have pictures of your cats returning in an almost identical form, I feel sure Michael would be glad to add them to this article. I’ve labeled everyone so you can compare.


Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

20 thoughts on “Do You Ever Call Your Cat The Wrong Name?”

  1. I call Midnight “Middy” and Brinkley is “Brink” and MandyLane is “Mandy” or and Sealy is “Stinkybutt” because he still has the worst smelling poops ever. My dog Bama, who died in 2006 was “Bam Bam.”

    1. Mult-names, multi-cats and multi-tasking…. I can’t resist calling my cats nicknames. They are often bizarre names but Charlie responds to them just fine. I convert Charlie to “Chags” or “Chaggers” that kind of stupid stuff. I like the sound of words.

      1. The only cat I have who listens to me is Mandy. You’d think the rest of them were deaf for all the attention they pay me when called. Sealy does lay in my lap at night but it’s on his terms and not mine. Mandys the only one who really acts thrilled to see me.

        1. Shortly after I moved to Turkey, I started feeding a young cat from across the road that no one could get near. Gradually he let me pet him and it wasn’t long before I could hold him upside down and comb his stomach to get the burrs out and he would just hang there and purr. I thought he had a lot of rag-doll charastics. He is a long haired, tabby, Turkish angora type cat. Big wide nose and ig soft paws. In the UK I had a giant tabby that was no doubt descended from a Scottish Wild Cat-domestic cross. I’m sure he was one or more of my previous cats. I just adored him and when he became diabetic, gave him his insulin for 7 years until he developed cancer of the pancreas and went shortly before I left the country. I called him Frodo Baggins. There was a bond there I will never forget. This Turkish version seemed to know me and I often slip and call him Frodo. I fell in the garden one day and couldn’t get up and I was yelling for help. He got this worried look on his face and came over to me, started chirping, and pulling at my shirt with his paws trying to help. He walks with me and the dog everyday and is very protective of his ‘baby’.
          When I brought the puppy home at about 5 weeks, Romeo jumped down from the wall, threw a paw around the puppy and started washing his face. He had attacked every dog in the neighbourhood that has come near the fence as he considered them a threat to Hoover the dog. Hoover is now 4 and as big as a setter, but Romeo still watches and occasionally goes after one although they are on a lead. He accepts the other 10 or 11 cats in the house, but left and moved down the road when I was in the hospital for a month and the dog was in a kennel. When I drove up and parked by a friend’s house well down the road, he rushed out of the garden next door, meowing and rubbing all over me. The dog went wild in the car, and the next day I walked the dog down there and Romeo walked back home with us, happy as could be.
          There are differences of course, but the feeling that I have known this cat for a long long time prevails.

  2. Do any of you call your cats by nicknames or vary the name that you have given your cat? In other words each cat might have two names: their real name and a nickname! For example: Charlie and Chas or something like that.

    If you are like Elisa with lots of cats that is going to get complicated.

    1. Most my cats end up getting nicknames over time and I bet that is true for many of us that at least some of our cat ( or dog or other species) companions have nicknames. You could make a whole post about that if you haven’t already.

      Some of my cats have multiple names / nicknames.
      Louis had a whole bunch of names he acquired over the years. every thing from Schmou to Buddy
      names of course reminds me of the famous poem The Naming of Cats.

      1. Interesting that other people do what I do. Makes me feel more normal 😉 You should list your nicknames. Nicknames can reveal something about the person!

  3. More on topic (you know me, always a bit off): When we had six indoor and one outdoor cat I did get them mixed up. Especially our twin Tortie girls. It took sometime, but I finally realized that Kolob never, ever got near humans. Her sister TC was a total lovekin. The triplets — black, grey and white tabbies — each had one or more names, so I had hard time remembering which was which. We had Black deBob/Buckwheat, Diamond/White deBob/Aloysius and Tiger. We ended up with Black deBob, Aloy and Tiger, but I’d have to work through all the names to get to the ones we decided on. We were young and not to bright.

  4. I see similar spirits to my Nicky in two cats online. Both are Maine Coons and have the similar markings, but there are tons of cats that fit that description. One is male (JB) the other female (Abbie). Since I don’t have any picture of Nicky. I actually have photos of Abbie as my desktop background on my laptop and sister’s PC (with their owners knowledge). JB looks a lot more like him, but Abbie has is spirit.

    This is a very unique article. I really enjoyed it. I don’t believe in reincarnation. In fact I was really sad one Sunday in church and during a prayer I suddenly had a connection with Nicky. It was astonishing. He and my mom loved me unconditionally. That really affected me. So I know he out there somewhere. Waiting for me and was somehow able to touch my heart when I really needed it. There was a ton other things making me sad (mom had died in that very chapel 5 years earlier) and it was like he wanted to reach out and comfort me. I would never tell anyone this, but considering the topic. I’m curious what you all will think. I know what I felt in my heart and saw in my minds eye.

    1. I pretty much believe everything these days. I’ve heard my dogs claws on my bedroom floor. He died Sept 6. And I’ve made a few pictures with orbs showing clearly. Since I take my photos in groups of 3 and 2 are clear and one orbed I know he’s telling me he’s still with me. I’ve even dreamed of cats I never met.

  5. I came back to mama too. But she doesn’t get us mixed up because I get in trouble a lot an she says my name a lot so she doesn’t forget it. I may have some time to work off at the brige cause I been a bad kitty in this life. I knock things down on purpose and I jump on mama and sissys heads with my claws out and I slap other cats in the head. Here’s my come back story . Hi &odfather Michael! Love you!

  6. Ruth (Monty's Mom)

    I sometimes mix up Monty and Kobe. Kobe is my sister’s cat. He lives upstairs. If I go up to care for him when she is gone I will accidentally call him Monty sometimes and then when I come back downstairs I’ll call Monty by the wrong name.
    My cat before Monty was named Mittens and she was about twenty years before Monty came along. She earned the nickname Muttonhead because of her stubborn insistence to keep trying to do things she shouldn’t be doing that weren’t really a good idea. My mom would say, “Oh, that Muttonheaded cat!” after rescuing her and the name kind of stuck. I have realized that Monty is much more of a Muttonhead than Mutsy ever was. I did accidentally call him Muttonhead once or twice. She was white and black, he’s all black. She had longer fur than he has.

    All my cats end up with more than one name. Monty gets called “Small Stuff” quite frequently or I’ll simply say, “Hi, Beautiful” when he walks by, because he is such a beautiful cat. He’s just stunning really. He also sometimes gets called Dipshit, which goes to his being quite a bit like Muttonhead. Like despite the fact that he’d been stung seven times in his short life he had to go for number eight and try to eat a bee this summer. The other day I opened the back door as I was saying to Jeff, “I’m going out to check on Dipshit,” and Monty came running up. So he answers to that name now also. Oops. But I can’t call him Muttonhead, because it wouldn’t be right. He’s not her. She didn’t come back to me in Monty.

    None of my cats have come back to me in the way Elisa’s have. I don’t rule it out. I don’t believe humans get reincarnated. We get judged after death and there are no second chances. I think most humans just end up in hell, even ones who believe in Jesus. Jesus said that many who called after Him, “Lord, Lord” would be considered strangers in the end and would be cast out into eternal darkness. But animals are innocent. There is a soul in every animal, but not one that stands under any judgement like a human soul. They also never deserved death, unlike humans who deserve only death.

    So could an animal come back and live again in a new body? I think they could. If they wanted to. I think Elisa’s cats wanted to come back to her. Maybe someday Mutsy or Tippy will come back to me. Or maybe I’ll see them only in the next life. Or maybe I won’t. People spend too much time worrying whether their cat will be in heaven with them and don’t reflect that it is probably they who won’t be in heaven. I don’t know for sure anymore that my own soul will end up anywhere but in hell. It just doesn’t seem right that sinful humans should have eternal peace and happiness after causing such hell for animals here on earth. There is one thing we can certainly agree on, whatever deity we believe in or whether we question whether there are any deities: and that is that no humans deserve any kind of reward after they die. There isn’t a human alive who doesn’t merit at least some punishment that they have escaped somehow in this life. At the same time there is no animal who deserves any suffering, and yet they suffer, any punishment, yet it seems that they are being punished along with us.

    So certainly a cat could come back and live again, if that is what he wanted to do. If I had been one of Elisa’s cats I would certainly want to come back and be with her again. She’s only one of the best cat caretakers on the planet. But the cat would probably have unselfish motives as well. Maybe the cat knew Elisa needed him/her again. Or maybe God sent the animal back to her for that reason– because it is what Elisa needed at that time. Monty came to me when I needed him. He needed me, but it certainly goes both ways.

    So sometimes I reflect that I certainly deserve nothing but hell for the life I have lived and the kind of person I have been and that all my efforts at self improvement have come to nothing in 44 years and it’s hopeless. I pretty much resign myself to the fact that I am going to hell. But then I reflect that I’ve been so blessed with Monty coming into my life and I certainly never deserved to live with such a beautiful, wonderful little companion. So if God would bless me with Monty, and bless Elisa with all her wonderful cats (some of them coming into her life twice) then we are certainly getting better than what we deserve in this life, so maybe there is hope for the next. But if there is it is only out of the goodness and mercy of God. I believe that goodness and mercy could include a reunion (even in this life) with an animal companion we have long missed, but only if the animal also desired that reunion.

    1. It was very hard letting Dolly go to her own home. I don’t really confuse Tiger and Sammy. They’re identical tho. But I call Mandy her past life name of Scrappy quite a lot. I even had her fixed at a very young age because Scrappy had kittens and bit the head off of one. Even tho Scrappy was beautiful she was a horrible mother. Mandy would likely have licked hers to death. So she was fixed when Cassie was. I also called Tom by his past name of Buster. I really hope Dreyfuss stays at the bridge. He was a black lab named Baby the last time I knew him. Sometimes they look different. I’m too old to handle a huge dog. Dreyfuss was special. I also had a cat Taz whom I’d cranked up on as a kitten and killed in her past life. Both were deaf and I beat the hood and tooted the horn. Taz came back fast. I stopped at the vet and the secretary wanted to know if I could take an 8 week old kitten that had wandered up to a lady a few hours before. Identical to the one I killed.

  7. I just get my living cats mixed up sometimes. It’s funny because when I do I always say ‘oh sorry I mean’t ……” because I think they might be offended I got their name wrong.

    However I have accidentally used the names of previous cats in Canada with current cats but it’s very rare. The ones in Canada are still alive. Like Rowwdy I sometimes think I see Red when I see one of my cats in my peripheral vision. It’s also a bit of a shock for me. Just like dreaming about Red and then waking up. For me it’s more of an aftershock or something.

    1. I wonder if the post should be titled:

      “I wish I had given my cat a different name”

      A name is given at the beginning and the beginning is very important. Sometimes you can get the name wrong. Should we wait 6 months before naming our cat?

      1. I waited until Red was around 3 months old before I even started calling him Red. I played with him and his siblings long before and just called him the ‘orange one with the longer fur’. I am sad that if/when I have another orange cat I might not feel ok to name him Red. I like the name. I have a habit of re-using names. Like Gigi, and Molly – both are names I gave twice. But Gigi and Molly didn’t die. It’s a bit different maybe. I would only call another orange cat Red after quite some time and if it felt ok and fell into place. It might well do. I like the name.

        1. I am pleased you agree that we should wait a bit before naming a cat or at least you did it that way, deliberately or not. Red is a good name.

    2. Marc, I too kept thinking I saw a glimpse in peripheral vision of my cat who died last year and I didn’t have another cat of his color to mistake. I don’t think there even was one of my other cats there at the times that happened.

      I WISH he would come back like Elisa’s cats. Elisa those are some beautiful cats.

  8. I can’t say I have actually called a cat by another cat’s name. I have definitely looked at some of my cats and thought “oh that’s Digger”, knowing full well Digger was gone. It is usually a momentary shock till I realize it isn’t Digger.

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