How to Name a Cat + Naming Tips & Ideas

Your kitten deserves a lovely name. Her name will help you to catch their attention and even steer them away from dangerous situations – like when they’re running into a high-traffic street. Her name may also denote something personal to you, like your favorite childhood memories.

So how do you come up with a name that’s meaningful to you; a name that your family members love; and a name that won’t mortify when you call you cat with visitors around?

Take your Time

You’ll likely live with your cat for the next decade; you’ll use your cat’s name for a long time to come. So if you haven’t settled on one before the arrival of your new cat, that’s not a disaster. You’re better off delaying than choosing a name you’ll have to change weeks later, just as your cat is getting used to it.

Consider the Names in Your Household

Avoid names that are similar to the name of anybody else in the household. If your pup is named Brook, then calling your kitten Cook will cause confusion when you want to call only one of them.

Keep it Simple

A cat’s name should ideally be easy to say, like Ark or Kenny. Cats may find it hard to ‘absorb’ complicated names. Unlike dogs that can be super-responsive to their names, cats are more sensitive to owners’ tone and voice.

If you choose a long name due to its personal significance, you should be prepared to teach your cat an abbreviated version that you’ll be using daily. If want to name your cat Arya Stark after the Game of Thrones character, you should use Arya, which is easier and simple for both you and your cat.

Cute Cats
Cute Kittens

Consider Personality

By waiting until you interact with your cat a little more, you’ll have a chance to see their personality; this can give you name ideas. If your cat is small but feisty, you may go with a name like Ripper or Madonna. If they are clowns, you can call them Joker or Bozo.

Your cat’s name should ideally be less than two syllables. Anything name that exceeds two syllables is confusing and harder to learn for your cat.

Don’t Be Too ‘Adventurous.’

Your buddies may goad you to give your cat an overly ‘funny’ name. But you should remember that you have to use this name in various situations, including in front of your family and your pet sitters and vet.

Besides, be careful that you don’t choose a name that may be culturally, sexually, or racially offensive. But if you want to be a provocateur, have a go at it!

Consider Their Appearance

Some cats have distinctive markings or a certain look that can inspire your choice of name. For instance, if your kitty looks like a leopard or a wild feline, you can name them Leo or Lynx.

Consider the Breed

There are countless breeds of cats and each breed comes with different features and characteristics from which you can pick ideas for an awesome name.

Looking Further a Field for Inspiration?

If you’re still struggling, many other aspects of your life can inspire you.


The things you love, be it sports, gardening, or even your favorite drink or food, can inspire you. Yeah, you can call your kitten after your favorite flowers in your garden, like Alyssa or Aster.

Fond Memories

Your fondest memories can inspire you to give your cat a brilliant name. This could be your favorite holiday destination or a dear friend with whom you’ve lost touch. It can be even something ridiculous like your favorite ice cream growing up.

Favorite Famous Figures

This could be your favorite author, a character on literature and screen, or a historical figure.

Pick a Name You and Your Kitten Love

Don’t be overwhelmed by the small stuff. If your cat is responsive to a given name, that’s what’s important. Whether it’s incredibly unique, overly common, or a bit odd is irrelevant. 

How to Teach Your Cat its Name

Start Training Early

The younger the kitten, the easier it’ll be for it to learn its name. You can still teach older cat new tricks, but they likely won’t be as quick.

Choose the Right Rewards

Using only verbal praise won’t motivate or impress your cat. What you need are tangible and immediate rewards that your kitten enjoys. Cats love tasty food treats like small bits of cheese or tuna, some wet food, or commercial cat treats.

Cats are also responsive to nonfood rewards like a nice scratch at the back of their ears or some laser pointer tag.  Remember;

  • The most effective reward will depend on your cat; be willing to experiment.
  • Ensure your enough treats for the whole training process

Understand Your Cat’s Biggest Motivators

Training dogs is easier because they are eager to please humans, and they feel rewarded even by verbal praise. Conversely, cats aren’t terribly interested in pleasing you; they only respond to what you offer if they find it rewarding. Cats can learn new tricks only when you’re patient, and you provide them with things they really want.

Female and Male Cats
Brown Pair

Training Process

Help Your Cat Create a Positive Connection With their Name

Always have a positive tone and a cheerful voice when you’re calling your kitty’s name. When you need to scold them, a firm “No” is enough.

Start Active Training

To sway your cat into participating in your name training, feed them a bit less and leave them yearning for food treats. You should then approach your cat, call it by its name, and then give it a tiny food treat. Do this two to three times.

Then, you should move a couple of feet away and repeat the process. In this case, add “here” or “come” to the dog’s name.  You could say, “Arya, here” or “Here, Alyser.” Do this consistently. When your pet comes over, pet her and give them a treat. Move further and repeat this process.


  • Repeat this process 10 to 20 times for each session; once to twice per day till your kitty becomes reliably responsive to their name.

Train Your Cat in Longer Ranges

After a week of the above process, start training your cat in much more expansive spaces. Start by calling your cat when you’re in the next room. Eventually, try to call them from all rooms in the house. Once they can consistently respond when called from every corner in the house, you can now venture outside (that’s if they are an outside cat).

Rope in the whole Family in the Training

Everyone in your household you involved in helping your cat learn its name. Everyone should call the cat by the same name. Eventually, you can get the cat to ran, to and fro, between two family members who alternately call their name and offer a treat.

Get Help if You Aren’t Making Any Progress

If your cat doesn’t respond to their name even after weeks of training attempts, they could be having hearing issues. So let a vet check the hearing.


  • Some cats will take more effort and time to learn. But if a cat’s general behavior is problematic, you should seek an animal behaviorist’s counsel. 

Tips to Make your Cat Learn its Name Fast

Cats are brilliant and can learn fast when given the right incentive. To help your cat learn quickly, here is what you should keep in mind:

Choose the Appropriate Time

The ideal time to get your cat to learn its name is when they’re most receptive to training. Avoid training when your cat is taking a nap, eating, or playing by itself. Besides, ensure your cat is relaxed.

If you try name training in inappropriate times, you won’t get its interest. Also, you may stress it, and you can hamper further training.  when they’re paying attention to you or playing with you.

Avoid Negative Association

Cats learn better with negative stimuli than positive stimuli. This means a single negative experience can undo all the skills imparted through positive association. So while you’re training your cat, don’t use its new moniker in scolding them or in a way they may lead them to associate it with stressful situations like visiting a vet or a bath.

While they may still learn the name, the negative experience will spur negative responses like hiding when you call them by that name.

Limit the Food Treats

Food treats are an essential positive reinforcement tool. But use small quantities, and ensure they provide a nutritious and balanced diet. Cat obesity is a big issue; keep your cat healthy by feeding it an appropriate diet.

Tutorial: Teaching a cat its name

Understanding the Cat Language

Further Reading: Do Cats Know Their Names

Cat Names A-Z

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Other Pet Names & Ideas