How to Name Your Cat

Some Pointers for Making a Sensible Name Choice

White, tan and gray cat with green eyes and collar named Mia

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Bringing home a newly adopted cat or kitten can be a super exciting time. It can also be overwhelming between making sure you have considered everything, gathering all the gear you need, figuring out vets and insurance, beginning litter training, and finding potential cat sitters.

With all these important things to think about, trying to be creative and come up with a good name for your new family member can prove a challenge. You want to pick something that all family members agree on, and something that won't require extensive explanations when you refer to your cat in front of others.

Below are some of our top tips when it comes to figuring out how to name your cat.

Don't Rush Into Selecting a Name

Remember that you could be using this name for more than 15 years! If you haven't picked one before your new cat arrives, it is not a disaster. It is much better to have a delay in selecting a name than allowing them to get used to a name, and then changing it a few weeks in, just as they are getting used to it.

Don't Over-Complicate It

Pick a name that is simple and easy to say. If your name is too complicated, your cat will likely get confused. You could also end up feeling silly shouting their name when you want them to come to you.

If you do opt for a long name because it has some personal significance, then be ready to use an abbreviated version for everyday use. If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings, for example, and want to call your cat Samwise Gamgee, then using Sam would be simpler and easier.


When naming your cat, go for a name that is two syllables or less. More than two syllables or tough pronunciations could result in your cat becoming confused and never learning their name properly.

Consider the Other Names in the Household

Try not to pick something that sounds too similar to anyone else living in the house, two or four-legged. If you have a dog that is named Joe, then picking the name Mo for your cat could cause confusion when you are trying to get the attention of just one of them.

Don't Get Too Funny

You may think it is hilarious to call your cat a borderline-inappropriate name, but don't forget that you have to use this name then when registering with your vet. It will be called out in the waiting area, and you will have to tell your pet sitter, work colleagues, and family members what your cat is called, too.


Be careful you don't unwittingly select something that could be racially, culturally, or sexually offensive. A quick online search of your intended name will reveal whether your supposedly clever name is actually rude or offensive to others.

Consider Their Personality

By waiting until the cat arrives to name them, you'll have a chance to see what their personality is like, and this may inspire a name choice. If they are a small cat with a feisty personality, maybe you will want to go for something like Bruiser. If they are a big clown, maybe you will want to go with Goofy.

Consider Their Appearance

Some cats may have unique markings or certain things about their appearance that inspire a name choice. If they are a bald Sphynx, maybe you will want to go with Yul, after the famous bald actor. If they are a ginger tabby, maybe you will want to go with Rusty or Ginger.

Looking for Further Inspiration?

Aside from naming your cat based on their personality or appearance, there are lots of other options for inspiration if you are struggling.

Favorite Famous Figures

If you have a favorite character from the screen or literature or a character from history inspires you, this might influence your choice. In recent years, for example, cats being named after Game of Thrones characters has become increasingly common.


Are you a fan of a particular sports team or player? Maybe you are an enthusiastic gardener and want to name your cat after your most loved small flower; Daisy, for example.

Names can be inspired by hobbies, fandoms, studies, or even a favorite food or drink (or wine): It is not unusual to hear of a cat being called Rioja or Merlot.

What About a Nostalgic Name?

Picking something that brings back fond memories can attach more meaning to a name. Maybe you want to name them after a much loved holiday destination, or after a person you were close to and have lost touch with. The name could also be something fun, like the name of your favorite candy when you were growing up.

Above All Else, Pick a Name You Like

Don't stress too much about the small stuff. If your cat responds well to the name and you like it, really, that is all that matters. Your cat won't mind if it is overly common, extremely unique, or one that other people may find odd.