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Cat Names - What's in a Name?

Unique Ways for Choosing Names for Our Cats


Shannon, departed GuideCat for this site

Shannon, named for a park

Franny Syufy
We Syufys have always been pretty eclectic in choosing cat names, and more imaginative sometimes than at others. On a couple of occasions we goofed on gender when selecting a cat name; thus Figero became Figueroa, who subsequently gifted us with our first "career cat," Tinker, who ruled our home for seventeen years. (Tinker, incidentally, was named after the first Tinker, whom my husband claims he was raised by.) Arthur remained Arthur, however, as it didn't seem fair to change her name again, after changing it from Chablis (the name our allergic friend had given her).

Like many other people, we found the sources for various cat names in things around us, such as people, song titles, movies, and from serendipity, as in the case of our recently demised Shannon, who was named after the park in which he was found.

One of our forum members recently started a thread on the various ways in which people choose cat names. There were almost as many ways as there are names.

Cats Named for People (Real or Fictitious)

  • Vicki (named after her foster care worker)
  • Jerry "got his name from the one and only Jerry Garcia"
  • Krystle "named after Linda Evans character 'Krystle Carrington' on the TV show Dynasty"
  • Anais "named after the author Anais Nin, I've always loved that name and her stories!"
  • Kato a TV character performed by Bruce Lee
  • Soren "named after Soren Kierkegaard, the philosopher"
  • Doris "She thought he was female, and called him Doris after Doris Day"
  • Lizzie "which I hope everyone here knows is the friendly nickname of one Elizabeth Bennett, greatest character in all of literature"

Cats Named for Looks or Personality Traits

  • Bubba Because he seemed like a "Bubba" kinda guy
  • Malcolm "probably because he looks like he's wearing a tux and he's a charming cad"
  • Clawed a play on words?
  • Agrippa another?
  • Trouble (pretty self-explanatory)
  • Mayhem "(probable mama of Trouble)"
  • Paranoia "would vanish under the verandah when he saw you even look at him)"
  • Snow Balls "a hulking (white) battlescarred tom, I called Snow Balls until yesterday, when he became 'SNo Balls."
  • Tyranny "because she was such a little tyrant as a baby"
  • Cassidy "short for Perspicacity"
  • Jasmine "She was such a beautiful kitten, her name just fit"
  • Tequila "She was so fiesty and fiery, just like a shot of tequila going down"
  • Dexter "he is such a little masculine rough and tumble guy, Dexter just seems appropriate"
  • Oreo a natural for black and white cats
  • S'Mores "because she had the colors of a S'mores (graham cracker tan, chocolate brown, marshmellow white)"

Cats Named for TV Shows, Video Games and Cartoons

  • Bonkers: A cartoon show
  • Guido: Video game; a rabbit
  • Strider Video game; a ninja"
  • Kimba: Named after a cartoon character named 'Kimba the White Lion' from the 60's
  • Chynna: Named after the 'China Beach' TV show
  • Gallifrey, or Gally: From Doctor Who - the planet of his origin
  • Tailchaser aka Chase: The hero in Tad Williams' book called Tailchaser's Song
  • Simba: Named after the character in "The Lions' King"
  • Gizmo: A dead ringer for Gizmo of Gremlins fame"
  • Barnabas: After Barnabas Collins of the old Dark Shadows TV show
  • Sloopy: An early cat in the Syufy household, named after the song, "Hang on, Sloopy"
  • Arthur: Named after the Dudley Moore movie
  • Alfie: Another Syufy marmelade kitty, named after the song

Cats Named for Origins

  • Reject (But this poster's Mom didn't)
  • Oakie "because he came from Oak St. Figure that!"
  • Shannon From Shannon Park
  • Shasta named for a lost dog ad in the newspaper

A Real Twist on Cat Names

Speaking of naming cats for their location, here's a true story about a location named for a cat! Our Shannon may be the only cat in the U.S. with a street named after him. My husband was an engineer who was designing a new industrial subdivision in a nearby town. The City had requested street names related to space exploration, and on a whim, my certifiable cat-nut hubby put Shannon on one of the streets. Somehow the name survived the city review board (I can only imagine that discussion), and the street sign stands there today (photo shown above). In my opinion, it's a fitting memorial to Shannon, who is now a star in the heavens.

Next > More stories about cats and their names

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