Cat Names: Tips on What to Name Your Cat

Dr. Ragen T.S. McGowan, PhD
By Dr. Ragen T.S. McGowan, PhD
Updated: 5/10/20242-4 minutes
Cat and man

So you’re adopting a kitten or cat – lucky you! Now that you’ve made this important decision, you might have another to make… one that will certainly demonstrate whether you are truly worthy of the privilege of cat ownership.

The Decision: Choosing a Name for Your Cat

Right now, some of you might be thinking, “No big deal. It’s just a name.” If this is what’s going through your head, take it from us – you are not worthy. No cat wants to spend her entire life with a name you spent only three seconds to choose. So let’s move past “Kitty” and find a name that truly fits the exceptional feline who is your newest family member.

Bringing a new kitten or cat home is an important transition for everyone. Check out this article and find out how to make the experience positive.

Ready to Get Creative?

Here are some suggestions to help you and your cat come up with the perfect name:

  • Judge your cat by her cover. With a myriad of colors, combinations and patterns, a cat’s coat can be all the inspiration you need to come up with the perfect name. Maybe it’s black or has patches of color. And sure – some easy names probably come to mind… but come on. You know there’s a more distinctive one out there, like “Bagheera” (Jungle Book, anyone?) or “Versace.” So take some time and find the right one.
  • Take a cue from your cat. Cats know what they like, and they’re not shy about sharing this. Observe your cat in action, and you’ll quickly get to know her personality – which could inspire a name that is uniquely her. Is she a high-energy prankster (“Sprite”), a stately princess (“Duchess”), or something entirely different?
  • Where does your cat’s story start? Is she a breed like a Russian Blue, a Japanese Bobtail or a Maine Coon? (Some names are already popping to mind, right?) Where and when did she come into your life? Maybe she was under the carport at your first apartment (“Parker”), or she’s a country cat who walked up to you on the farmhouse porch (“Shania”). This could be another great opportunity for a one-of-a-kind moniker.
  • Go with a scientific approach. Cat behaviorists and other experts have noted that cats respond more to some sounds we humans make than to others. When it comes to what we call them, cats seem to respond to names containing the long e (“ee”) vowel sound, like “Phoebe” or “Zeke.” So get out those Scrabble tiles and start spelling.
  • Go beyond the expected. Looking for a name that goes where no cat name has gone before? Think outside the box, and invite your family and friends to step out with you. Hold a contest for the craziest cat name, and give your Facebook friends something to post about (besides what they had for breakfast, or their bubble game high score).

A Backup Plan

In the event that these handy tips don’t get you to a name your cat can live with, see the links below for more ideas. Then curl up with your cat and start shopping. Sooner or later, you’re sure to find something appropriately remarkable… which is, of course, no less than your cat deserves. And by the way, if the perfect name for your cat is “Kitty,” congratulations! More power to both of you.



  • Cespedes Y. “Choosing the Best Cat Names for Your Kitten.” <>
  • Olson R. “The Top 10 Names NOT to Give Your Cat. 2012.” <>
  • petMD. “Male Kitten Names.” <>

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