How to Pick the Best Name for Your Cat

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You’ve adopted a new kitty and now you may be wondering: what should I name my cat? Part of the fun of adopting a new pet comes with giving them the perfect name, but choosing the best name for a cat isn’t always easy. It’s almost like finding the right name for your children.

There are so many name options out there to choose from and while it’s a fun task, it can sometimes become exhausting. Especially if no one in your house can seem to agree.

What to name your cat Pinterest pin image

Take your time, and keep these guidelines in mind. Here are some rules to abide by when coming up with the perfect name for your cat.

If Your Cat Already Has A Name, Don’t Change It Too Much 

If you adopt a shelter cat they already have a name. Switching names can be confusing if you adopt an adult cat who has had its name for years and knows it already.

If you really don’t like the name your cat already has and you still want to change it, try to pick one that sounds similar. For example, Millie can be renamed Lily or Gizmo can be renamed Cosmo.

If you adopt a kitten or a previous stray, chances are that they aren’t familiar with their name and it won’t matter if you choose something completely different.

Consider Your Cat’s Personality And Appearance

If your pet reminds you of your favorite character, singer, or food, why not name her after them? A mischievous cat could be named Loki, while a white cat could be named Chowder.

You can also take into account your pet’s physical appearance. You can choose Mittens for your white-pawed cat or Dusty for your grey cat.

Sometimes, pet parents decide to be ironic and name their cats the opposite of what they look like. There are black cats named Snowflake, big cats named Tiny, and hairless cats named Fluffy.

Be Creative

Calling “Oliver” inside the house is one thing, but calling “Oliver” outside when there are likely to be other animals named Oliver in your neighborhood could mean that multiple animals will come running.

Oliver is one of the most common pet names for both dogs and cats (and also not uncommon for humans), so while it’s a good name, you may want to consider something more unique.  

Keep It Short And Sweet

The shorter the name, the easier your feline friend can recognize their name.  If the kids insist on a longer name, choose a short catchy nickname for everyday use.

Try to choose a pet name that is no more than two syllables, or a name that can be shortened when convenient.

Keep It Clean

Be creative when naming your cat, but without a negative connotation. Avoid names that might be gross, a swear, or that could be considered racially, religiously, or ethnically offensive. 

Remember, you will eventually need to bring your cat to the veterinarian or board your cat while you’re on vacation. If you would be embarrassed or get a dirty look when you say the cat’s name, it’s probably not a good choice.

Make A List Of Names

If you are having a difficult time choosing the best name for your pet and need a bit of help, you can always turn to the internet for huge lists of names.

Those who don’t want traditional names may consider those inspired by pop culture, food, places, colors, or nature.

If your children love Star Wars, for example, you could name a cat “Padme” or “Vader.” Children’s books and TV shows are good also places to look for cat name inspiration. 

Family with a kitten

Get The Whole Family Involved

Hold a family meeting and have each person bring their own list of name ideas that everyone can choose from.

If you live alone, you may skip this step, but this is important for every member of a household to decide on a name together. Especially if you have children. They love the idea of naming a family pet so sit down and decide on a name together.

Kids and even adults in the household will appreciate having their opinion considered. Since you are taking everyone’s ideas seriously, they feel more included and involved in this decision that will be with your family for many years to come.

Don’t Give Your Cat The Same Name As Another Pet

We don’t know why anyone would want to do this, but having a cat named Chloe and a parrot named Chloe in the same house is confusing. It’s best to give them separate, unique, and different-sounding names. Jim and Tim or Ben and Ken would probably be confusing as well.

It’s okay to use the name of a previous pet as a tribute, but having two pets in the same home at the same time isn’t the best idea.

Choose A Theme

Cat owners who are expecting to name more than one cat, either through birth, adoption, or foster might choose a theme like flowers, fruits, or television characters.

A litter of kittens can be named after trees such as Willow, Aspen, Maple, and Birch. Or if you already have two cats named Kate and Kevin and adopt another, you could name him Randall as a nod to This Is Us.

Don’t Rush It

There is no rule that says your cat needs a name in a day, a week, or even a few weeks. This is a name that you and your cat will live with for possibly twenty years, so take the time to come up with one that you really like.

Say It Out Loud

When you come up with a name that you might want to use, say it out loud a few times. Envision yourself calling the cat. Is it too much of a mouthful like Miss Kitty McSnugglepuss?

In some cases, short and sweet is the way to go. Especially if you have young children. It’s easier for a small child to say Fred than it is for them to say Bartholomew.

What Should I Name My Cat?

Here are a few ideas for cat names based on their color or other themes. Maybe some of these will help jumpstart the naming process for you.

Black cat sitting

Names For Black Cats


People Names For Cats


Flower Names For Cats


Food Names For Cats


Superhero Names For Cats


Names For Orange Cats

Orange tabby cat sitting

Final Thoughts

What will you call your new cat? Some people find naming their cats to be almost as difficult as naming their children, while others seem to come up with cat names easily.

So if you’re stuck wondering “what should I name my cat?”, keep these guidelines in mind to help you make a decision.

At the end of the day, no matter what you name your pet, make it a name that you love and something that perfectly suits your new best friend.

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