White Serval Kongo

Who Names the Cats?

Who Names the Cats?

One of the most common questions that we come across is – Who names the cats?

Servals, like Cleo Cat Tra have become the next biggest cat people buy since they cannot trade in great cats and cougars as pets across state linesIf the cat already has a name when it arrives, we try to keep that name.  It is confusing for a cat to be in a new environment and surrounded by strangers.  Keeping their name provides them with some sort of comfort during their transition.

There are some very common names that we come across frequently including; Cleo-Cat-Tra, Nakita, and Sassy.  In order to keep our veterinary and observation records in order the spelling of a name may be altered or a last name assigned.  For instance Sassy Cougar and Sassy Caracal or Nakita (tiger) and Nikita (lion), note the different spellings.

In the early days of the sanctuary we rescued large groups of bobcat and lynx from fur farms.  At the time BCR President Jamie Veronica was just a child and assigned names from Disney movies to the cats.

Occasionally the name a cat has on arrival is just too mean.  One animal arrived with the name of Stupid, so we changed his name to Cupid.  Sounds similar, but not as demeaning.

Some cats come here as members of the witness protection program, so their names are changed to protect them until the litigation is done and they become residents of the sanctuary.  Those details remain private until we are cleared by the government agencies involved in the seizure to reveal them.

Wild bobcats that are rescued as part of our bobcat rehabilitation program are named something that reflects the time of year or the circumstance in which the cat was found like Gator (found in Gainesville home of the UF Gators) or Coptor (rescued from an island and flown in a helicopter to the mainland). Otherwise the bobcat is given a name that reflects a positive feeling like Faith, Hope, and Chance.  The person who led the rescue, netted the cat, may choose the name, or the entire team that was part of the rescue will brainstorm ideas.

Sometimes the cats are left at the gate (Moses), found in the desert (Desiree) or have been abandoned by their owners and their names are unknown.  In these situations we may hold a naming contest.  However submissions are usually vetted to avoid naming three legged cats Tripod, black cats Shadow and white cats Snowball.

So there you have it, the many ways in which the cats get named.


Perhaps no one said it better than T.S. Elliot

The Naming of Cats

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey –
All of them sensible everyday names.

There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter –
But all of them sensible everyday names.

But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?

50 ways to say cat in Europe
50 ways to say cat in Europe

Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum –
Names that never belong to more than one cat.

But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover –
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:

His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

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