Choosing the right name for your cat – Part 2

The most important thing to remember is that you are naming a living creature. Your cat will learn its name and respond to it. You will have to say the cat’s name a lot, sometimes in public, sometimes loudly. Imagine yourself striding around your neighborhood on a Saturday morning shouting “Grandma’s Bunions! Here, Grandma’s Bunions! Kiss kiss kiss, Grandma’s Bunions! Din dins!” in the hopes of attracting your lost cat. You’ll never live it down. A good rule of thumb is to avoid names you’d be uncomfortable shouting in a crowded mall.

Shorter is definitely better with pet names. You can name your cat “Alexandr Griboyedov” after the 19th century Russian diplomat if you like, but in the end you’re going to call him “Alex”. A tabby I once knew was named “The Duchess of Foxwood Estates”. She was never referred to as anything but “Dutchie”. Make your life easy, keep it simple.

What you name your pet says a lot about you. A pair of cats named “Stoli” and “Jaeger” speaks volumes about your lifestyle. “Sulu”, “Spock” and “Chekov” do too. At some point you may have to introduce your pets to your boss or a potential romantic partner. A pet named “Donkey Punch” or “Roach Eater” may not make the desired impression.

Original is good, but there’s such a thing as being too creative. Case in point: my brother had a pair of cats he named Argos and Grendel, characters from Greek mythology and “Beowulf”, respectively. Sadly, he found that every time he said the names he had to explain who the characters were. After a few months he caved and changed their names to something more familiar: Bill and Ted.

There is a subset of pet owners who name their cats something odd in order to get people to ask about it. I tend to avoid these questions. If someone’s cat is called “Four-thirty AM”, “Dropped Twinkie”, or “Corky’s Shadow”, there’s a story behind it, one they are clamoring to tell. These stories are inevitably both precious and boring.

If there’s one point I’m trying to get across, it’s don’t be too cute. A cat is a living breathing thing with its own personality. You will need to interact with the cat and you will need to live in the real world with your cat. Don’t invite trouble into your life by trying to make your cat’s name a conversation point.

Now if you will excuse me, my cats, “Tipsy-top Humvee”, “Bong-tipper” and “Doctor Girlfriend” need their dinner.

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