There are so many different ways to name a cat. In this post I am more interested in the process of naming a cat than the name itself although they are closely related.
For instance, I tend to name cats on gut feel and sound. The name reflects the character and appearance of the cat and comes straight from me, not via a list of names on the Internet. That process does not necessarily result in better names. It does, however, result in a name that speaks to the person who created the name. It has meaning.
Missie My Late Lady Cat
So, I gave the name, “Missie”, to my late lady cat. In human, female, terms she was “petite” but athletic. A pert, opinionated lady. “Missie” seemed to fit that character and appearance. There is a phrase, “she is a right miss” not often used, but it means she is a female with attitude. “Missie” is an extension of “miss”.
Missie had a brother. He was a big, friendly, relatively lumbering cat. I called him “Boo Boo”. No idea where that name came from 😉 Out of the deepest recesses of my brain. Perhaps there was some cinematic influence. I am thinking of the human name “Bubba”. It seems to apply to a decent but poorly educated young American man. Bubba sounds a bit like Boo Boo. Perhaps that is where I go the name from.
Sometimes we inherit a cat’s name. “Charlie” was given his name by my late mother. I believe it is a fitting name. The name is a different style or type to the one I would normally provide. It is a human name. I tend to go for sounds rather than real names.
After an Event
Sometimes, rarely, we name our cat after an event. There is a case in the newspaper today of a ginger kitten trapped inside a cavity wall for days. The rescuers named him Macavity! Neat name.
Cal calls her cat “Mr Shrimpster” or “Shrimp” for short. That is a visual name similar to my method of naming. The name conjures up a vision of a small cat, perhaps curled up, vulnerable etc. but with a bit of attitude when the “Mr” is added. I’d like to hear from Cal in a comment as to how she came up with the name.
Marc called his beloved red tabby cat “Red”. This name suits the coat color, of course, so the inspiration, in part, came from that. Also, for me, “Red” conjures up an image of a dynamic or strong willed male human. That image probably comes from Red Adair the person who put out oil well fires. I also think of John Wayne! LOL. He played the role of Red Adair in a movie once.
When you keep an exotic purebred cat such as a Siamese, there might be a desire to use a Thai name. There are some good short ones.
Short names of a maximum of two syllables would seem to be best because you can say them faster. The length of the name is another factor in deciding a name. It is a factor that is probably used instinctively. “Red”, “Shrimp”, “Missie” are all short.
Do you ever name your cat and then, over time, dream up nicknames (or they just arrive out of your head) and gradually, little by little, the name evolves into something different?
My late lady cat “Binnie” was initially named “Judders”, which is a slightly odd and harsh name for a lady cat. Not very feminine, either. The name “Judders” was born out of the fact that I found her under a car sheltering from the rain on a cold night. We saw each other, I spoke to her and her tail started to judder excitedly. I named her after that initial moment. Inspiration for a name can come from the initial meeting. Perhaps it always should. First impressions count. Sometimes the best comes first, on the first take.
If you trawl through a whole pile of internet cat names and select one, it is a very dry, rather stale process. I am not saying it is necessarily a bad way. Each person has their own method.
However, inspiration for a cat’s name is best plucked out of one’s own brain from a blank sheet using one’s heart.