Saturday, January 17, 2015

What's in a Name?

Gus:  As a kitten foster parent for a local shelter, Mama often has the privilege to name her litters.  Most people think that naming shelter animals isn't a big deal.  Most people rename their pets after they adopt them anyway.  While it is true that most pets will be renamed, their shelter name is still very important. When you meet someone new, the first thing you do is introduce yourself with your name.  In a shelter the same thing is true.  The name helps create the adopter's first impression of the cat.    Imagine that you meet two black kittens.  One is named Gabrielle and one is named Lucifer.   Which one do you think will leave the better first impression?  Adopters are probably thinking that Gabrielle is going to be the purrfect angel cat while Lucifer is going to be a naughty, devil cat.  Who do you think will be the first one adopted?
When choosing a name, it is always good to choose a name that will help an adopter create an instant connection with the cat.  You want the adopter to have positive, happy thoughts.  People tend to relate more to human names.  Older names like Merle, Betty or Pauline can bring back happy childhood memories of Grandpa Merle, Aunt Betty or the elderly woman, Pauline who lived down the street.
Baby names that are currently popular are a good choice too.  A little girl named Emma is going to be instantly attracted to a kitten named Emma.
Current events is another great place to receive inspiration for cat names, especially when then news is happy.  When Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge was born, Mama named a litter Georgie, Alexander, and Louie.  
A name that is unique is helpful too.  Mama says she is going to scream if she meets another cat named Bella.  Bella is a beautiful name but if there is a new Bella every week, there is nothing to make Bella special and stand out from all the other Bellas.  
The last couple litters, Mama has been using puns for cat names.  She thinks they are punny.  (eye roll) When the rockstar kittens (Kitty Purry, Pitbull, Bruno Meows, JenniPurr Lopez, and Lady Meow Meow) were available for adoption, Mama had so many people say how they loved the names and that they came in to meet them just because of the names.  

Mama also has a thing for themes.  She never throws a party without a theme.  She likes to name her litters based on a theme too.  We've already mentioned the Royal Baby and Rockstar kitten themes, but she has also done Kansas City Chiefs,  Fashion Designers/Models and Star Wars.  Having a theme can also help you market the kittens and reach potential adopters.  
You have to be careful with themes though.  While a name might work as part of  group, it might not be a very good name standing alone.  Take the Seven Dwarfs, for example.  Seems like a cute idea, but what happens when only Sneezy or Grumpy are left?  Would you want a sneezy or grumpy cat?
Having a theme can be as simple as having all the names begin with the same letter or rhyming.  One of Mama's friends names her kittens all with the same letter and it works great!
Not feeling creative?  Just ask your friends on social media for their suggestions.  One post or tweet can quickly become a brainstorming session.  You'll be surprised at how inventive your friends can be. They can really get into it too. One of Mama's friends from Chicago made a donation to the shelter just so he could name the kittens.

Naming your foster kittens can be a lot of fun.  Just remember to keep the names positive and help your kittens put their best paw forward!


  1. We LOVE coming up with fun names. A great name, a great photo... that can make all the difference for these sweet shelter kitties.

    ...woooo!!! we're loving your new look!!!

    1. When kitten season is finally here, we'll have to ask for your help naming the kittens!

      And thank YOU for helping with the new look!

  2. It does sound like fun naming them with a theme- I would go with the characters on The Big Bang Theory.

    1. That would be a great theme! Now if only kitten season would arrive....

  3. We like the idea of theme names. Though many people change the cats' names once they're adopted.