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]


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 Lucky 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. Tigmokey
  2. Misty
  3. Tigger
  4. Kitty
  5. Oscar
  6. Missy
  7. Max
  8. 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][11] 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."[12] In 2012, 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.[13]

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.[14] 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[15] VPI 2008[4] VPI 2006[16] YouPet.com[17] BabyNames.com (male)[18] BabyNames.com (female)[18] BowWow.com[19] Washington Post[20] PetFinder.com (Male)[21] PetFinder.com (Female)[21] Gallup 1990[22] Cook County[23] Sun Times[24]
1 Lucky 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]


In Germany, "'exotic English and other non-German names are popular with German pet owners", according to an article in the About.com website.[25] 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.[26]

According to another About.com article, one German list of popular cat names in that country gave these rankings:[26]

  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.[27]

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 Korean 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:[28]

  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.


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.[29]

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.[30]

The musical "CATS", very popular among cat lovers, has a lasting influence in the naming of pet cats, Here is a list of pet cat names inspired by various productions of the musical CATS from around the world: Admetus, Alonzo, Asparagus, Bailey, Bill Bailey, Bill, Billy M'Caw, Billy, Bombalurina, Bustopher Jones, Bustopher, Carbucketty, Cassandra, Coricopat, Demeter, Deuteronomy, Electra, Etcetera, Exotica, George, Ghengis, Gilbert, Griddlebone, Grizabella, Growltiger, Gumbie, Gus, Jellicle, Jellylorum, Jemima, Jennyanydots, Jones, M'Caw, Macavity, Mistoffelees, Mr. Mistoffelees, Mungojerrie, Munkustrap, Old Deuteronomy, Plato, Pouncival, Quaxo, Rum Tum Tugger, Rum Tum, Rum, Rumpleteazer, Rumpus, Rumpus Cat, Sillabub, Skimbleshanks, St. James's Street Cat, Tantomile, Tugger, Tum, Tumblebrutus, Victor, Victoria.

Cat names made popular by TV shows, movies, internet, or by having famous owners:

Cat Name Made Famous By
Amelia Gabble The Aristocats
Berlioz The Aristocats
Carlos Marmaduke
Cat Peg + Cat
Chinese Cat The Aristocats
Diana Sailor Moon
Duchess The Aristocats
Edgar The Aristocats
Frou-Frou The Aristocats
Garfield Garfield
Georges Hautecourt The Aristocats
Gilbert Caillou
Hello Kitty Sanrio
Henrietta Pussycat Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Jiji Kiki's Delivery Service
Lafayette The Aristocats
Lolcat Internet slang
Luna Sailor Moon
Madame The Aristocats
Madame Adelaide Bonfamille The Aristocats
Marie The Aristocats
Maru Internet cat
Mew Pokémon
Napoleon The Aristocats
O'Malley The Aristocats
Oliver Oliver & Company
Pebbles Susan Boyle
Pilchard Bob the Builder
Roger Open Season 2
Roquefort The Aristocats
Scat Cat The Aristocats
Snow White Craig Anton
Snowball The Simpsons
Socks Bill Clinton
Stanley Open Season 2
Stevens Cat Stevens
Sylvester Looney Tunes
Tardar Sauce Grumpy Cat
Tom Tom and Jerry
Tomcat The Aristocats


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  20. ^ Washington Post
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Further reading[edit]