Naming Your Cat
(A rose by any other name would... ah... purr)

by Lee Harper
Mockingbird Persians & Exotics



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The Most Popular Cat Names in 2001 were:

Misty ~ Max ~ Simba ~ Princess ~ Daisy ~ Missy ~ Oliver ~ Ginger

I suspect Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter will top the list in 2002!

It can be fun naming your cat. Naming your feline creatively is definitely a better way of naming something unusually than choosing a bizarre name for your first-born child.

Fortunately, naming your cat has less restrictions or things to consider than naming your kids :-)

How do you choose a great name for your cat?

Some people face the challenge of naming their kitty by looking to the origins of their cat's breed for a source of inspiration - Oriental names for Japanese Bobtails or Thai names for Korats.

Then there are the Scottish Fold breeders who name their cats using the word Fold in some unusual way... "Foldilocks and the Three Bears", "Sara Jessica Park-Ear", "Fold Over Beethoven", and this year's favorite... "Harry Pott'ear".

Similarly, there are wonderful names for American Curls... "Curl Hand Luke", "Looking for Mr. Goodcurl" and "Curl on a Hot Tin Roof".

And sometimes it is your cat's behavior, personality or appearance that gives it a name - the Escape Artist or Purr-Monster.

When naming a cat, if one's imagination is totally at a loss,
look up the names of kings and queens and emperors.
Male cats in particular like names that link them to feats of greatness
Auriel Douglas

Latest movies or song titles are a popular place to look for names. After Gladiator, a pet buyer named his handsome kitten Caesar. And when they came back to me for a baby brother, the new kitten was named Julius... Perhaps baby #3 will be Brutus?

Dogs come when they are called.
Cats take a message and will get back to you.
Warren Eckstein,
American Cat Expert

OOPS... or Gender Goofs

Do double check the sex of your kitten before naming it. I don't think most kitties appreciate being named after the wrong sex... so although Hannibal can became Hannah, or Sally can be called Sal when the sex you though it was turns out to be wrong. How would you feel if you were a female cat called Gandolf?

Then there was the case of the Himalayan breeder who names all her lynx points with French names. She took her gorgeous little seal lynx point boy named "Mon Dieu" to four kitten shows before one observant judge noted the kitten was a girl not a boy! Red-faced, the breeder changed her kitten's name from "Mon Dieu" to "Quelle Suprise!"... French for "What a Surprise!".

Sometimes, even though you get the sex right, there is too much irony in the name to let the kitty keep it. An especially affectionate kitten was first called "Lover". That seemed too "common" for the kitty so his name was changed to "Casanova". That had a nice ring to it! But that name seemed a bit cruel after he was neutered - so he became "Singin' In The Rain", Skye for short.

My Mockingbird Cat's Names

I am often asked about the unique names of my Mockingbird kitties.

A writer by profession, I feel added pressure to have unique names for my kitties. I am a screenwriter and director, so I decided early that all my homebred cats would have names that relate somehow to writing, film or television.

The first kitten born at Mockingbird was called Fade In. Fade In is the expression that begin every script written for film. It refers to how the first thing you see in the movie theater is the black screen... then the first image of the film fades in to view. It seemed very appropriate for my first kitten... who went on to be also be my first homebred Grand!

Future bi-color kittens have been named "Documentary" (a black and white, of course) and "Screen Test"... who had one litter of bi-colors girls named "Comedy", "Musical" and "Drama" and their solid blue sister called "Out Take".

My tabbys all have the word "Line" in their name to indicate they have tabby stripes, but I still wanted names that refer to writing or films, AND and often I include "Bi" to indicate they are tabby bi-colors. This has resulted in kittens named "My BI-Line", "Headline", "Line-BI-Line".

If that wasn't getting complex enough, when I began breeding Exotics, I decided to name all my zots starting with h an "X" (What was I thinking???). This way, people could always tell just by a Mockingbird cat's name whether it was a Persian or an Exotic.

That's how "X-Periment", "X-Hilaration" and "X-Quiz-It" got their names. Of course, at home, they are Perry, Hilary and Quizzy.


TIPS FOR CHOOSING A GREAT NAME

  • Choose an official name that relates to the "call" name of your cat
  • Choosing a name with one or 2 syllables is usually easier for the cat to recognize then a longer name
  • Choose a name with which both you and your spouse are comfortable
  • Consider if the name you choose will suit your kitten when it's full grown

So... do you need inspiration?

Here are resources for everything you'll ever need to know about cat names, including thousands of suggested cat names and their meanings.

If you have already chosen a name perhaps you want to Find out what Your Cat's Name Means using a searchable database.


"The Naming of Cats" by T.S Eliot
from "The Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats"

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.

 


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