Popular cat names

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The popularity of cat names differs by nation, even nations with the same language, and new names become popular over time. The ranking of most popular cat names can be assessed, in part, from pet insurance registrations, microchip registrations, and breed registries.

In the English language[edit]

Adrian Franklin, senior lecturer of the School of Sociology and Social Work at the University of Tasmania and author of Animals and Modern Cultures, told the Sunday Tasmanian in 2001: "In the 1950s and '60s dogs and cats were given 'dog' and 'cat' names. [...] Cats had names like 'Blackie' and 'Spotty', names that illustrated their physical appearance. The 1980s marked a turning point, with the 10 most popular dog names all being compatible as human names, but in the '90s this progressed even further. People are now giving animals the same names as contemporary names given to babies." He believed that as people have fewer children or no children at all, pets become more important in their lives.[1]

In Australia, the United Kingdom[2] and in the United States, news accounts have noted that the same popular baby names were also being given to pets. The new names for dogs more closely echoed human baby names, said Lindsey Basserabie,a company official, but the trend occurred for both pet species. "In fact, this year's list of top 10 dog and cat names could nearly be straight from the birth pages."[3] In the United States, according to an article in The Tampa Tribune, some of the most popular cat names also appeared on the Social Security Administration's list of most common baby names: "Isabella (Bella) is No. 4 for girls, and Sophia ranks ninth on both the Social Security and pet lists."[4]

Australia[edit]

According to "Bow Wow Meow", an Australian company that provides pet tags to pet stores and veterinarians, the 10 most popular cat names its Australian customers chose, as of 2010, are:

Rank in 2010[5] in 2008[3]
1 Oscar Oscar
2 Max Bella
3 Tiger Molly
4 Sam Max
5 Misty Coco
6 Simba Milo
7 Coco Angel
8 Chloe Tigger
9 Lucy Missy
10 Missy Lily

In 2006, a survey of 270,000 Nestle Purina PetCare customers in Australia came up with these most popular cat names:[6]

  1. Tiger
  2. Puss
  3. Smokey
  4. Misty
  5. Tigger
  6. Kitty
  7. Oscar
  8. Missy
  9. Max
  10. Ginger

United Kingdom[edit]

In 2006, Direct Line, a pet insurance company, created this list of the most popular cat names chosen by its customers: The company's lists of popular cat and dog names "overlaps heavily with the same year’s 100 most popular children’s names in England and Wales", according to Melissa Lafsky, writing in the "Freakonomics" blog at the New York Times website:[7]


  1. Molly
  2. Charlie
  3. Tigger
  4. Poppy
  5. Oscar
  6. Smudge
  7. Millie
  8. Daisy
  9. Max
  10. Jasper

Another survey conducted in 2006 came up with different results. In that poll, conducted for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 2,000 people in the United Kingdom were asked about their pets' names. The most popular names were:[8]

  1. Molly
  2. Felix
  3. Smudge
  4. Sooty
  5. Tigger
  6. Charlie
  7. Alfie
  8. Oscar
  9. Millie
  10. Misty

A 1998 poll in Britain conducted for Petplan, an animal insurer, found the most popular cat names to be Charlie, Milly, Oscar, Tiger, Poppy, Sophie, Rosie, Smudge and Lucy.[2]

United States[edit]

According 2005-2006 statistics from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association 34 percent of United States households own at least one cat, an estimated 90 million cats in total.[9]

The United States' largest pet insurer, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), releases annual rankings of its customers' most popular cat names and dog names. The 2010 list (based on information from 2009 and released in January 2010) was gathered from 475,000 policies.[10] Curtis Steinhoff, senior director of corporate communications for VPI, attributed the popularity of "Bella" (No. 3 on the cat list but No. 1 for dogs) on the 2010 list as probably having "something to do with Bella being the name of the heroine in a certain vampire book/film series that's pretty popular these days."[11] In the 2012 list from VPI (collected from information from 2011) listed the top 5 female cat names as Bella, Lucy, Kitty, Chloe and Sophie. The top 5 male cat names were Max, Oliver, Charlie, Tiger and Smokey.[12]

In 2009, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that according to government databases, the three most popular cat names in that city were, in order, Kitty, Tiger and Max.[13] In 2004, the same newspaper reported differently based on information from the Cook County Department of Animal Control. The Sun-Times reported in 1987 that the same Cook County department had checked its database of 27,863 cats that had been vaccinated from 1984 through 1986 and found yet different results.

Finally, Gallup poll of 1,242 Americans was completed in 1990. The results of all of the above polls are summarized in the table below:

Source VPI 2010[10] VPI 2009[14] VPI 2008[4] VPI 2006[15] YouPet.com [16] BabyNames.com (male)[17] BabyNames.com (female)[17] BowWow.com[18] Washington Post[19] PetFinder.com (Male)[20] PetFinder.com (Female)[20] Gallup 1990[21] Cook County[22] Sun Times[23]
1 Max Max Max Max Tiger Max Chloe Tigger Kitty Max Molly Baby Tiger Kitty
2 Chloe Chloe Chloe Tigger Smokey Tigger Lucy Tiger Tiger Charlie Angel Blackie Kitty Tiger
3 Bella Tigger Lucy Smokey Kitty Tiger Molly Max Max Simon Lucy Samantha Smokey Smokey
4 Oliver Tiger Tigger Tiger Shadow Smokey Bella Smokey Smokey Jack Princess Tom Max Sam
5 Tiger Lucy Tiger Chloe Tigger Oliver Sophie Sam Tigger Sammy Chloe Tiger Shadow Misty
6 Smokey Smokey Smokey Shadow Baby Buddy Princess Kitty Patches Casper Tigger Samantha
7 Tigger Oliver Oliver Lucy Oreo Charlie Cleo Sassy Misty Sylvester Lucky Muffin
8 Lucy Bella Bella Angel Angel Simba Angel Shadow Sam Whiskers Baby Fluffy
9 Shadow Shadow Sophie Oliver Princess Sammy Lily Simba Shadow Fraidy Angel Tigger
10 Angel Charlie Princess Simba Max Oscar Maggie Patch Samantha Scaredy Buddy Max

In other languages[edit]

Germany[edit]

In Germany, "'exotic English and other non-German names are popular with German pet owners", according to an article in the About.com website.[24] Typical, clichéd names for cats in Germany include that language's equivalent for "kitty", Mieze or Miezekatze ("pussycat"). Muschi was also quite common and carries the same meanings as "pussy" in English, which led to its sharp decline as a popular name in the last 20 years.[25]

According to another About.com article, one German list of popular cat names in that country gave these rankings:[25]

  1. Felix
  2. Minka
  3. Moritz
  4. Charly
  5. Tiger (tee-gher)
  6. Max
  7. Susi
  8. Lisa
  9. Blacky
  10. Muschi

In 2006, according to an article in The Guardian the three most popular cat names in Germany were Felix, Gismo and Charlie.[26]

South Korea[edit]

In South Korea the most common name for a cat of either gender is Nabi which translates to "Butterfly" in English. This name is even used for cats in Korea cartoons such as There She Is!!.

Quebec (Canada)[edit]

According to a survey by the website Veterinet, the 10 most popular cat names in Quebec are:[27]

  1. Minou
  2. Grisou
  3. Ti-Mine
  4. Félix
  5. Caramel
  6. Mimi
  7. Pacha
  8. Charlotte
  9. Minette
  10. Chanel

Veterinet found that nine out of the ten names are the same as 15 years ago, but in a different order. They also discovered that the 25 most popular cat names in Quebec sound French.

China[edit]

Mimi (咪咪) is the generic name for a cat in Chinese. It is onomatopoeic, coming from the cat's meow, and is also used to call cats. [28]

Cultural references to the naming of cats[edit]

Cat names were the subject of T.S. Eliot’s fanciful, well-known poem The Naming of Cats, written in the 1930s and first published in Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats in 1939.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stubbs, Brett, "Joys of picking a pet project", Sunday Tasmanian, August 27, 2000, retrieved via Newsbank.com on May 19, 2010
  2. ^ a b Poole, Shona Crawford, "Down Henry! Time to call this trend to heel - Pet names", The Times, London, May 16, 1998, retrieved via NewsBank.com on May 19, 2010
  3. ^ a b Rogers, Jenny, "Humanising pets with a real name", The Gold Coast Bulletin, February 2, 2008, retrieved via Newsbank.com on May 19, 2010
  4. ^ a b Levine, Kristin, "Dog, Cat Names Taken To The Max", The Tampa Tribune, January 26, 2008, retrieved from the NewsBank.com website on May 19, 2010
  5. ^ Search results page for "Top 20 / Sex: Both / Cat Names from Australia" [1] at "Bow Meow" website, retrieved May 15, 2010
  6. ^ Firkin, Katherine, "Max factor in pet name", Herald Sun of Melbourne, Australia, October 18, 2006, retrieved via Newsbank.com on May 19, 2010
  7. ^ Melissa Lafsky (12 June 2007). "The Most Popular Names for British Pets". Freakonomics. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "Molly is top dog and cat but Ben goes out of fashion", article, Yorkshire Post, December 27, 2006, retrieved via Newsbank.com, May 19, 2010
  9. ^ "How Many Pets Are in the U.S.? - Netscape Home & Living". Webcenters.netscape.compuserve.com. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  10. ^ a b http://newsblaze.com/story/2010010406010600027.pnw/topstory.html also, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) - Saturday, January 9, 2010
  11. ^ News release, "Nation's Largest Pet Insurer Reveals Top 10 Dog and Cat Names of 2009", January 4, 2010, retrieved May 15, 2010
  12. ^ News release, [2] VetStreet.com February 12, 2012
  13. ^ Spielman, Fran, "Fix is in for city's pets - Burke says he has the votes to mandate dog, cat sterilization", Chicago Sun-Times, March 10, 2009, retrieved from the NewsBank.com website on May 19, 2010
  14. ^ Levine, Kristen, "Spot Remover - New Crop of Pet Names Marks Its Turf", "Baylife Magazine" section, The Tampa Tribune, Tampa, Florida, January 18, 2009, retrieved from the NewsBank.com website on May 19, 2010
  15. ^ "Human names are going to the dogs--and cats", article, Chicago Tribune, RedEye Edition, September 28, 2006, retrieved from the NewsBank.com website on May 19, 2010
  16. ^ "Cat Names | Top 100 most popular cat names on". Youpet.com. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  17. ^ a b [3][dead link]
  18. ^ "Pet Name Popularity Ratings". Bowwow.com.au. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  19. ^ Washington Post
  20. ^ a b Fernandez, Don, "Four-legged friends' names more fetching than cutesy", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 27, 2005, retrieved from the NewsBank.com website on May 19, 2010
  21. ^ Gallup, Alec M., "Dogs still lead cats in poll of pet owners", Chicago Sun-Times, September 9, 1990, retrieved from the NewsBank.com website on May 19, 2010
  22. ^ Golab, Art, "Max jumps way past Fido as most popular dog name", Chicago Sun-Times, April 4, 2004, retrieved from the NewsBank.com website on May 19, 2010
  23. ^ Hermann, Andrew, "Brandy, Kitty claw way to the top of pet names", Chicago Sun-Times, February 24, 1987, retrieved from the NewsBank.com website on May 19, 2010
  24. ^ Web page titled "Dog and Cat Names in German", About.com website, retrieved May 15, 2010
  25. ^ a b Web page titled "German Dog and Cat Names/Part 2: Katzen und Katzenkrimis", About.com website, retrieved May 15, 2010
  26. ^ Harding, Luke, "G2: Shortcuts: The life and death of Spotty the cat", The Guardian, March 2, 2006, retrieved via Newsbank.com on May 19, 2010
  27. ^ http://www.veterinet.net/services/nouvelle.asp?categ=3.4&no=580
  28. ^ http://www.baike.com/wiki/咪咪
  29. ^ Simon, John (1982). "Notes on Cats, People and Related Matters". In Fireman, Judy. Cat Catalog, The Ultimate Cat Book. New York: Crown Publishers. pp. 272–275. ISBN 0-517-39074-4. 

Further reading[edit]