We know a cat by any other name would still smell as… cat-like, but we still think names are pretty important. Your cat's name gives him a certain air, and gives you a certain way of addressing him. There's a big difference between a name like Sir Snufflebottom and Bob, is what we're saying.
As poet T.S. Eliot and the musical "Cats" point out, "the naming of cats is a difficult matter" (but more on T.S.Eliot later). In fact, the musical and the work is was based on point out that every cat has three names: his given name, the name you actually use to call him, and a secret name that only the cat himself will ever know.
Our cats' real names will remain a mystery forever, but the first two names are something we already do. You know what we mean: your cat's name might officially be Richard, but somehow within a week everyone's calling him Bear. It just happens.
Choosing the perfect cat name
You might have no say in your cat's nickname, but you (and your family) are responsible with giving your cat an official moniker. How do you find the perfect cat name?
As a token of cats' power over us, we love giving our cats royal-sounding names. We tack on the fancy titles and names, ending up with silly names like Duke Forsyth the Great, or Queen Elizabeth, Supreme Ruler of the World (Liz for short). Historic names are also a favorite go-to for ideas, like Napoleon, Alexander the Great, and Eisenhower.
Pop culture is another source of excellent cat names. Your sassy cat might earn the name Deadpool, while a beautiful white cat might be a good Daenerys. Maybe you just want to name your cat after other famous cats like Garfield or Tom. Of course, the musical and T.S. Eliot's work we mentioned above has given rise to many great cat names, including our very own Tabby James kitties, Jellico and Tugger! The poet himself suggests a number of names in his poem "The Naming of Cats."
The most popular cat names
Despite the many unique names we can give our cats, the most popular cat names are… actually surprisingly normal. According to data gathered on Rover.com, the most popular male cat names in 2016 were Oliver, Leo, and Charlie; the most popular female cat names were Luna, Chloe, and Bella.
And this isn't a new trend: according to information collected by the Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the largest pet insurer in the US, the top ten most popular names have remained basically the same since at least 2006. (Wikipedia has a pretty impressive table of top cat names from different years and sources if you're curious for more information!)
Whether your cat's name is Smokey or Lady Butterfingers Brooke, Esq., just remember T.S. Eliot's words:
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.
Cat name inspiration from our Instagram community:
Draper's kitty mama got him in 2010 at the height of her Mad Men obsession. She initially wanted to name him Sterling or Cooper but once she met him, she knew this orange tabby's mischievous and fiery personality was more fitting of her favorite character: Don Draper.
Fergie used to go by the name Miss Bigglesworth, which totally didn't suit this adorable sassy thang. She was given her fabulous name Fergalicious so Delicious to match her fabulous floof!
Max's kitty mama relented to her daughter's request for an orange tabby. His name was picked out before he was even adopted!
Maximus was found very sick and scared in an alley in the city and taken to a shelter. Within a few days he was adopted into his loving forever home. Maxi's mom thought he needed a strong name since he was such a little guy and had gone through so much. She named him Maximus for strength and honor.
Simon was the name given to this ginger tabby by his first family. His cat mama felt like it was a perfect name that fitted his goofy smile and personality so she kept it. For their little tortie fluff ball, the name Layla was inspired by Eric Clapton's song, and it is now a playlist staple in their kitty household.
Where did you get the inspiration for your cat's name?