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:
“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
“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 became 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
Read more articles by Linda Cole