The Positives and Pitfalls of Naming your Cat

People… we are funny sorts. It’s amazing how hard we try to find the perfect name for our new kitten, we go through a “process” that includes deep thought, research, smugness, humor, hours spent staring at the cat to get a mental image of the name, asking others for help, bouncing ideas off our family members, asking the cat themselves, looking online, searching through “Baby Name” books, attempting to find a quirky/unusual/funny/obscure/puny/perfect name for our ball of fur and fluff. After all, it will be the name you call out in the middle of the night when you step in “Sir Twisty Tail” or “Punky Mewester” vomit, it’s the moniker you’ll cry out when you’re calling for “CATalina” or “Fuzzbutt” to come for dinner. So we want to get something we will be comfortable with, that is unique and fun, but most of all… that the cat likes. But here’s the big question, will your cat care? And the even larger cat-nipped filled mouse in the room… DO THEY RECOGNIZE THEIR OWN NAME?

Yep, We Have Data

Well, believe it or not, extensive research has been done on this subject. Independent studies done in several countries, including the USA and Japan, show that cats do, indeed, know their names. In fact, many are so tuned into their name that when they hear it, they walk away from the person calling them. Unlike dogs, who tend to respond to any words that “sound like” their name, cat’s are much more tuned into their moniker. A study by Atsuko Sato at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan tested this theory. The test case involved 78 cats that were from Japanese households that has been called the same name for a long period of time. These cats were called, by their family members, using four words that were similar sounding to their actual names. Eventually the animals became accustom to hearing those words and no longer responded in any way. Then, the family members included the cats actual name in the rotation of words. When the cat heard their actual given name, they had a more pronounced reaction by moved their ears, tails, walked towards and away from the person talking. So, yes… your cat likely recognizes their own name… but, the chances are when you use their name, you’ll only get the normal cat indifference in response. Cat’s… are… jerks. They are lovable, cuddly, needy, sneaky, mischievous, fuzzy faced, purposeful jerks.

Cats also ignore on a biased basis… it appears that they can distinguish one persons voice from another. So, if your cat comes to your spouses call but seems to ignore yours… yep, they are likely doing it on purpose. Cat’s are just as good at learning information, understanding routines, retaining simple commands and obeying them… they just don’t want to let you in on the secret that they do. Your fuzzy buddy can also pick up tone and emotion in our voices. If they pick up stress or anger when you speak, they are more likely to tell you to “talk to the paw” than if they hear a loving or sweet tone coming at them. Your cat also learns to recognize other words and associates a response from your actions when saying those words. Phrases like “go outside”, “dinner time”, or “lets go to bed” are met with a different cat response than “you did that on purpose”, “stop being a jerk”, “don’t you dare knock that off that shelf” would receive. It’s not clear how large a cats vocabulary can grow, or how clearly they distinguish the meaning of on word from another…and they aren’t giving that secret away.

How People Choose their Cats Name

There is no “right way” to pick a cats name. Much like naming a dog, different people work different ways to slim down from a bigger list to the perfect pet name. Some of the more popular methods to help pick your cats moniker are…

  • Legacy Names – sometimes it’s generational. You name your cat after a childhood pet, or a name that has lived on in your family for generations. Tinkerbell may have been your first cat, so you adopt the same name for your child’s first pet. It’s a right of passage and bonding ritual in some families.

  • Personality Trait – You’re watching your cat and they rip apart stuffed mice, throwing the stuffing all over your living room, and then they deliver the stripped carcass to you. Is that cat a “Killer” or “Hunter”? A cat that snuggles up to you at night or when you’re stressed, they could be “Cuddles” or “Meowbert Einstein”. Naming a cat after a quirk or repeated action has been a favorite for as long as cats have been named.

  • Body Image – A cat with a striped tail is “Stripes” or “Tiger”, a kitten with unruly hair is “Fuzzy”. Naming the cat who has dark paws and a light body “Boots” or one with extra long whiskers, “Whiskers” is easy. A back cat could be “Blackie” or “Midnight”. This is a classic way to tag your cat.

  • Popularity Contest – Cat names are like baby names, they grow in popularity simply by repetition and use. For decades, “Kitty”, “Fluffy”, “Scraps”, “CATerina” and similar names have went in and out of favor. In the same light, people avoid a standard or common name like the plague. Everyone wants an original name for their cat, until that one-of-a-kind name become the trend or fad… then it fades away.

  • Books and Movie Names – How popular did “Hairy Pawter” and associated names like “Dumbledorf”, or “Lord Voldemort” become? Garfield, Felix and Tom were long time cat name favorites from their cartoon counterparts. If your cat looks like Woody Harrelson, “Woody” is a great option. If your love the Die Hard movies, why not call your cat “John McClane”? The world of books, TV, movies, and stage are wide open for you to pick from.

  • Location, Location, Location – If you grew up in Memphis, why not name your cat that? Did you enjoy a vacation at Disney? Well, there is a name for you. Were you devastated by the long drive from the top of Georgia, through Atlanta and finally reached the Florida border? Three possible names in a row. Did you find your cat hiding under a bush at the Marquee Cinema? Two possible names are tied with that event. Love the Waffle House…“Waffle” is a unique and fun name. Go wild and have fun… it’s not like your cat is going to get the reference or even respond when you want them too.

  • Friends and Family – Honor old friends, lost relatives, a passing acquaintance, maybe an old flame (and hide it from your significant other) with naming rights for your cat. It’s a way to keep those people fresh in your mind and a part of your every day.

  • Fun and Quirky Name Game Names – Your cat is crazy, so give them a name that matches. “Marshall Mewthers”, “Cat Stevens”, “Oedipuss Rex”, “Kit Kat”, “Mewdini”, “Gringo”, “Clawdia Schiffer”, “Tabbitha”, “Orange Julius”. Go nuts, but remember… you have to use this name with other people around. If you name your cat “Buttcrack” or “Toenail” might end up come back to haunt you. gave us this list of the 100 most popular cat names of all times. The 100 Most Popular Cat Names of All Time | On that list are some classics like Oliver, Milo, Max, Jasper, Bella, Lucy, Cleo, and Lily. The list the provide has many different CATegories and inspirations for cat names. Have some fun and check it out.

Some of our favorite and funny names that have popped up on our radar are names like “Cindy Clawford”, “Cat Benatar”, “Puma Thurman”, “Furcules” “Funnel Cake”, “Tabbigale”, “White Claw”, “Cola”, “Bacon Bits”, “Yeeze”, “Haiku”, “Hocus Pocus”, “Weenie”, “Armageddon”, “Biggy Smalls”, “Cleocatra”, “Dorito”, “Thanos”, “Thor”, “Starlord”, “Bellatrix”, “Snape”, “Catrick Meowhomes”, “Doobie”, “Stoner”, “Brewski”, “Zelda”, “Mario”, “Barbie”, “Rocky”, “Mr. T”, “Creed”, “FURnado”, “Misfit”, “The Great Gatsby”, “Puff Daddy”, “Catpurrnicus”, “Fish-bait”, “Mr. Jiggles”, “Caty Purry”, “Captain Purrcard”, “Paw Revere”, “Lord Sheddington”, “Meowcleangelo”, “William CATner”, “Sir Purrcival”, “Cat Damon”, “Pawtrick Swayze”, “Cat King Cole”, “Pawla Dean” & “Catmandu”.

There is a great list of these “punny” cat names at 101 Pun Cat Names That Will Make You Laugh In 2023 –

At the end of your long search for the purrfect cat name, you’ll come up with a winner for your bundle of fur. Always keep in mind that no matter how long you search, how hard you try, regardless of the effort you make, and as wonderful as the outcome might seem… YOUR CAT DOESN’T CARE! The name is more about YOU than it is THEM, so find something you like for a reason you choose, and enjoy it.

It seems like a cat is a cat, no matter how you tag them. They will be wild, fun, funny, loving, snuggly, happy go lucky, indifferent, difficult, angry, destructive, always hungry, never satisfied, unjust rulers of your household. A cat is a perfect blend of “I don’t care at all” and “I care too much but only when I want too,” that forms the continuous perfect storm that is a feline. It’s why they are so special and difficult all in the same moment. Just remember, deep down inside they love you… but if they were giants, they’d eat you for a snack!

This weekend is the Labor Day Holiday, so be careful on the highways and byways as you are out and about in this big nation of ours. Keep in mind that Holiday weekends bring a sharp rise in the number of lost and missing pets due to extra traffic in your home and massive celebrations with fireworks in the area. Keep your pets safe and secure so your holiday, and theirs, is fun and happy.

From all of us here at Freddie Central, here’s to a safe, joyous, thrill filled, and exciting weekend. Be good to each other and always remember to be Pet Friendly, #FreddieSez