Naming the Cat

Jan 27, 2018

Credit Mindy Norton

This is Gypsy.  If you look closely, you will see her "tipped" left ear.  The tip was surgically removed to indicate she has already been spayed, to alert anyone who might find her, to prevent unnecessary surgery in the future.  


We have a new cat at our house. She showed up several months ago. She appeared healthy and we thought she belonged to a neighbor. Then we noticed that her left ear was “tipped” – the tip of the ear had been surgically removed, indicating she had been trapped as a feral cat, spayed and then released. It took weeks to get her to trust us, but now she is a member of our household. We named her “Gypsy” because she was a wanderer, a nomad.

Choosing a name for a cat can be tricky, because you want something easy to say, and that the animal will respond to. You may prefer something more traditional, like Fluffy, or Tiger – or something more elaborate, like Cleopatra or Jellybean. One or two syllables usually work best – you might like a long fancy name, but a shorter one will get a better reaction from your cat.

A friend of mine took in a cat she named “Highway 69” because of where she found it, but she just called it “Highway”. My cousin had a cat named “Useless”. He was crazy about that animal; when it finally died, he missed it so much he got a kitten that he named “U-2”, in memory of his predecessor.

Whether it’s a new kitten or an adult cat, your pet needs time to become accustomed to hearing the name and associating it with itself and with something good. Use the name in a positive tone of voice, especially when you are feeding or petting your furry friend.

This is a great weekend for cat lovers, because more than two hundred cats will be part of the Birmingham Feline Fanciers Annual Cat Show, taking place today and tomorrow at the Zamora Temple in Irondale, Alabama. Sanctioned by the Cat Fanciers of America, the show is open to pure

-bred cats, but there is also a section for household pets. Proceeds from the show benefit a number of animal charities and organizations, and help to fund spay-neuter efforts for cats in low-income households. Visit the website at for more information.

If you're in the Birmingham area this weekend, visit the Birmingham Feline Fanciers Annual Cat Show. You might even get some great ideas for what to name your own furry little feline friend, when you’re speaking of pets.