Category Archives: pet names

How Did You Pick Your Pet’s Name?

jabbersBy Linda Cole

Picking a name for a pet is a ritual all pet owners go through. Sometimes a name is chosen based on the pet’s personality, or a name suddenly pops into your mind. Famous people, pop culture, cartoon characters and sports figures often have an influence in picking a name. Ultimately, it’s a personal preference when it comes to the psychology behind picking a name for a pet.

One of my cats, Jabbers, got his name because as a kitten he was constantly talking to me. He has lived up to his name and continues to jabber for his CANIDAE cat treats, or when he feels a need to correct one of the dogs and also whenever I call his name. We’ve had some interesting conversations over the years. I just wish I knew what he was really saying to me.

I was curious about how my neighbors and friends picked their pet’s name, so I asked some of them to share their story. Here are a few:

pet names wolfy“Our dog, Wolfy, is a toy Yorkshire Terrier. He has extremely large ears for a Yorkie, so when I sent his picture as a little three month old pup to my boyfriend, he came back with the name Wolf because of ‘my what big ears you have.’ Not named for viciousness, just for big ears. We also have a 17 year old tabby cat. When we first got him, we were told he was a girl, but a week later discovered he was a boy. We named him Carrot because he was very orange.” – Kali Armstrong and Buck Lia

“We named a kitten we rescued from a dumpster Minnie because she was very tiny when we found her. She was only 5 weeks old. We also like Minnie Mouse and Minnie Riperton. She was like both of them rolled into one with her personality, so we thought it was very fitting.” – April Paul

“I found my cat in a garbage bin looking for food. I remembered my last cat and how harsh consonants grab her attention. All of a sudden while looking at her, Kiya popped into my head.” – Shan-Lyn

pet names milou and sherlock“Our dogs are Milou, a Shilo Shepherd, and Sherlock, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. We seem to name all of our animals after literary characters. Milou comes from the French Tintin comic books. We also have a black and white cat named Watson, and a black cat named Hobbs, who (naturally) had a brother named Calvin.” – Sandra Caldwell

“Mickey got his name because his tiny kitten meow was more of a squeak, like a mouse. I chose the name Rocky for my other boy because although he was in bad shape when I rescued him, I could just tell he had a fighting spirit. I decided to name my other rescue kitty Annabelle because she was essentially an orphan, like Little Orphan Annie from the comics.” – Julia Williams

“We named one of our dogs Big Al because we are huge Alabama football fans and the team mascot is an elephant called Big Al. Our Big Al is a three year old rescue dog, a mixed breed from the bully breed family. He was in pretty bad shape when we got him. He had heart worms, a collapsed trachea and other things, but now he’s as fit as can be.” – Langley Cornwell

“Gunner and Eva are three year old German Shepherd siblings. The first time we saw Gunner, half of his body was in the food bag. When he would come out of his crate it was like a shotgun blast – especially during feeding time – so that’s how he bepet names Gunner and Evacame Gunner. For my other dog Eva, I was looking at a picture of Eva Longoria and I thought they had the same big brown eyes. Eva is so beautiful, but she’s very feminine and I just thought she needed an older name like from the 1940s. It’s sweet, it’s beautiful and has pizazz. We also have three rescued cats. Lucky was found by my son in a junkyard. She was really lucky he found her. Now she sleeps all day, and eats, and is very particular (she only likes to drink bottled water). Max got his name from Mad Max and the Thunderdome, because when he was a kitten his favorite thing to do was to run across the room and throw himself against the wall, and then lie down. He’s crazy! Roy is named after a character in the TV series Arrow. The character is sort of an underling who messes with the main character, so Roy got his name because he likes to mess with Mad Max.” – Michelle Allen

What’s your story? How did you pick your pet’s name?

Photos by Linda Cole
Top to bottom: Jabbers, Wolfy; Milou & Sherlock; Gunner & Eva

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Funny Pet Nicknames

By Julia Williams

Sooner or later, most people will bestow a nickname or two on their pet. We can’t help it. Even when we think we’ve chosen the perfect name for them, one that fits their personality to a T, nicknames will invariably emerge as new quirks are discovered. Sometimes we don’t even know why we start calling our pet a certain nickname; we just do. Some nicknames stick, and some are quickly forgotten.

My childhood cat, Pepper, was called Salt all the time… but not by me. My obnoxious  brother called her that because he knew it annoyed me. My first cat as an adult was Tosha. An accident took one of her back legs, so she hopped around on three legs. I called her Hopalong Catsidy and also Tripod. Binky was called the Binkmeister a lot, but I have no idea why. Tiger’s nickname was “Hoover” because he vacuumed up his Canidae cat food like he was seriously training for a competitive eating competition.

My current three have many nicknames as well. Mickey is called Mickleberry, Slick Mickey and Nuthead. Rocky is Rock Star, Fluffy and Naughty McNaughterson. Annabelle is called Furry Beast (when I am brushing her luxuriously long fur). One of her other nicknames was Bella Boo which became Boo Bear and then Boo Boo and finally Moo Moo. No idea how that all happened, but Moo Moo is what I call her the most. And no, she doesn’t look like a cow!

I asked my pet loving pals on Facebook to share their own funny pet nicknames, and the responses poured in! Here are some of them:

Laure: TJ the kitten has the name Total Jerk (I did not name him) because he gets into so much trouble! TT was short for Table Troll because she used to sit under the kitchen table and stare at everyone. Toot (her real name) gets Rootsie Tootsie or Toot Toot doodley doot. Trooder gets Trooder Dooder because he really leaves a bad smell in the cat box. Mooch gets “Smoochy Moochy” because she likes to give kisses.

Karen C.: My Riley doesn’t really meow, she squeaks. It sounds like she’s saying “squeeeee,” so we started calling her Squee. Cocoa was named because he’s a lovely dark brown/black, but then I started calling him Cocoa Puff. Grr already has the perfect name, but sometimes she gets called Furry Purry Grry when she’s wanting love.

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The Pet Name Game

By Julia Williams

It’s always fun to hear how people picked the name they gave their pet. For starters, there are plenty of great stories about how a pet got their name. There are numerous tales of the inspiration behind a certain name, and just as many stories of names that fit a pet’s personality or names that just ‘clicked’ when someone saw their pet. Sometimes the name we pick means something to us or stands for something, and other times we just like the sound of it.

Regardless of how a pet got their name, I have yet to hear anyone say they picked the wrong name for their dog or cat and decided to change it later. No matter what name we decide upon, it’s seems as if we just somehow know it’s the right one, and it fits. This reminds me of a story about my own name.

When I was born, my mother named me Julia and put that on my birth certificate. However, a day or so later she changed her mind and decided to call me Julie instead. All through my childhood, I disliked my name. I felt it didn’t ‘fit’ me somehow, but didn’t know why. I wasn’t aware that the name on my birth certificate was different than the one everyone knew me by. I eventually found out, and decided I would rather go by Julia.

Once I decided to be Julia instead of Julie, my name instantly felt like it fit.  Now, you might not think one little letter would make a difference, but it did. What I realized was that my mother had known the ‘right’ name all along! Thus, I believe that when it comes to picking the right name for your pet, all you really have to do is trust your first instinct.

The great thing about naming our pets is that we can choose any name that floats our boat, no matter how oddball it might be. No one’s going to stop you. Well…that’s not entirely true. When I was 4, we had a yellow kitten I desperately wanted to name Blackie, but my family nixed that idea. In my young mind, I saw nothing wrong with the name and was very upset. Now that I’m an adult and can choose any pet name I want, I have two black cats – and neither one is named Blackie! Go figure.

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