Pets that choose their names

I have just realized I have less then 50% influence in the names of my pets. I have a set of rescues and strays, some already had names they liked (Steve the bird, Ceecee the cat), some had names they ignored, and some were nameless. The critters in columns 2 and 3 usually seem to choose names (George the bird, Dammit Barbara Elizabeth Hitler Whippytail). Do you choose your pets names, or do they find them? How do you make a name stick? Share your odd self-selected pet’s names- how did they get them?

Joey got his name about 4 days after I adopted him. He was 9 weeks old and climbing on my head and biting me in my sleep, as kittens are wont to do, when I kind of sat up and said, “Dammit Joey, stop that!” Then a few moments later I sat back up and said, “Who’s Joey? Well, I guess that’s you, huh?” He has been Joey ever since.

When Oliver came to my household he was Spark, which didn’t suit him at all. I put together a list of about 30 names and just read them off to him one by one until he found one he liked and responded to repeatedly. I didn’t want to go through another bitey naming ceremony so I felt the list was important.

Sienna was previously called “brandy” by the rescue group she was fostered with. She never responded to it once. So I started trying out different names that applied to her in some way. At “Sienna” she perked up and wiggled. I guess she liked the sound of the word, and she has been Sienna Marie (lamp) ever since. Now there are endless permutations of her diminutive “nenna” : Nenna, Nenna-bug, Nenna-butt etc…

For our less intelligent pets, we simply give them silly names. Previous rescued guinea pigs have been Nuku-Nuku, Pee-Bee, and Jay(who looked just like John Candy). We also have the fish: Lord Buttplugington’s Tuffy Rumblebutt III, Aloyisius Pendergast,(Ryukin and Shubunkin Goldfish) Klaus, Deiter, and Hans Von Pinchenfinger (crayfish), Amadeu-Ebi (freshwater shrimp), Hoover and Bissel (loaches), And the Golden Horde of snails.

Currently, I have Sydney, Sunshine, and Griffin, although those are frequently abbreviated to Syd, Sunny, and Griffy. Also call them goddamnedbird on occasion. But really, I think they all think their name is “Sweetie”, because I often use that term of endearment with them.

Actually, they do know their names, it’s just that sometimes they choose not to respond to them. What’s weird is when one parrot calls another by name.

I just posted his pic in another thread - here is my Diego. His name was originally going to be Ruben - I just always thought if I had another boy cat, Ruben was just the cutest name. I got Diego home and he was obviously NOT a Ruben, he was wild and active with 10x the personality of a typical cat (ie his sister Serafina). All of a sudden, he was sudden and irrevocably a Diego, it fits him perfectly!

In a way, he picked Serafina’s name too. She was originally going to be Charlotte (Ruben & Charlotte - so cute!) but Charlotte didn’t go with Diego.

I usually let the pet choose; I tend to hit them with random names until one seems to stick. My parrotlet had a name when I got him, which I forget; he eventually, organically, became Bebop.

We had originally named our cat Cinnamon when we adopted her. But then a crazy cat lady friend came to visit, and she looked at the cat and then me and told me, “Her real name is Emily, you know.” I of course asked, “Is that right, Emily?” To which she replied, in completely understandable Cat, “Well, of course it is, you stupid human, why have you been calling me by the wrong name all this time?”

So she’s been Emily ever since. But she still speaks to us with disdain.

Cricket’s story is similar to pbbth and Joey’s. She was a rescue and had to be bottle fed. One night I’m getting out of bed to go warm her bottle and said to my husband “I’m going to feed Cricket.” A few seconds later…“Cricket? Cricket? Whothehell is Cricket?” I asked her if she was Cricket and she replied that she was.

She is often Crickers or Crickerkiddercat.

Lt. Dax is Daximonius. Bill is Horribill or Impossibill. Yogi is Yogums. Magic is You Little Bastard or The Freak of Nature. Valentino is 'Tino. Sugar Magnolia is The Kissing Bandit. Mr. Spock is Meeeester Spock or FatBoy.

One of the kittens I fostered earned the name of Heaten Buzzbutt the Yowler, but she will only answer to Boo.

Our older dog is named Molly, and she answered to it from day one.

Our younger dog we named Scout when we adopted him. He was two, and it took him a while to learn his name. But I’ve been in the habit of jokingly calling him Butt-Boy, and much to my consternation he answers to that more than he does to Scout.

My Ragdoll cat was named Zydeco by the shelter – dumb name, and I wanted to re-name him, but couldn’t think of a name. My son said the day after we got the cat that “he doesn’t look like a Zydeco to me, mom, he looks like a Louie!” to which Louie yowled. So – there is his name.

My current cats’ full names ( never really used ) are horribly pretentious and deeply rooted in my own private geekery, but I did try to base them on something.

The first one was a stray that wandered onto a semi-rural property at about ten weeks of age trailing after a neighbor’s Chihuahua he had spontaneously adopted. He was ( and is ) utterly fearless to the point of foolhardiness and completely flamboyant for a cat. After cogitating on it a bit and discarding a few other names of historical/mythical characters loosely or happenstancely associated with dogs ( like, say, Actaeon ), I settled on Prince Rupert Wittelsbach of the Rhine. He was the flashy nephew of Charles I of England and served as a ( pretty capable ) general in the English Civil War, later became an admiral, then a pirate, then an admiral again. Also later in life he also helped popularize the technique of mezzotint printing. During the English Civil War he was popularly associated with his pet Standard Poodle ( named ‘Boy’ ), that Puritan propagandists cast as his witch’s familiar. My cat usually goes by just plain Rupert to most everybody, though.

When I had to get him a playmate because he was driving me crazy with his incessant demands to play, I had to get the new cat a name to match. He’s an ( almost ) jet black neutered male, who despite being far less rambunctious, much more reserved ( to strangers ) and a bit smaller than Rupert, regularly thrashes him in wrestling matches. Obviously he HAD to be named Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, Prince Rupert’s more frequently successful nemesis on the battlefield. He goes by Ollie, most days.

Rupert & Ollie

I adopted a kitty from our local animal welfare this year and her name was something horrible (I can’t remember what is was, but it’s still on her microchip papers). I brought her home and said,

‘What’s your name then?’

To which she replied,


And Mia stuck.

Even more amusingly over the next couple of days she revealed this ridiculously cute habit of standing on her back legs and looking around the room meerkat style thus becoming Mia cat the meerkat.

She still does this and will do it while sitting on my lap, chest, on top of exercise equipment, precariously balancing piles of books … I must get a picture.

Bitey bites and chews on stuff more than the average cat. Somewhere I might have a picture of what she did to our vinyl blinds. Originally she was Battle Cat, but Bitey suited her more. I had to bottle-feed her from birth, so I’m sure that has something to do with her oral fixation.

Rubicante’s naming had a little different path. Initially he started just being called a dirty little Malebranche (= type of demon from Dante’s Divine Comedy, usually translated as “evil claw”. When I rescued him he clawed the ever-loving shit out of me). Rubicante is one of the named Malebranche. Sometimes we just call him the Abyss Lord, but usually just Cante, and sometimes Canto to continue the Dante theme. I asked a professor once what Rubicante meant and he said it might mean “he who is being red” (he didn’t seem sure). Cante is black but has a reddish and silver undercoat, so that works for me.

Kitt looks like a baby fox.

They all had to earn their names, however Kitt’s was immediate. We didn’t know Cante had fired off a live one before he got neutered, and consequently didn’t realize Bitey was pregnant until we came home to a mewing kitten under our bed. My husband remarked that he looked just like a kit fox. She was his only kitten. And he’s in my lap right now, watching what I type…crafty little kitsune.

When I was in grad school, my housemates and I got an adorable kitten, whom we named ‘Sweet Jane’. After she had grown up a bit, it became obvious that she was a diminutive ruthless predator who would pounce out at us and attempt to bring us down. I suspect if I’d ever gotten within jugular range of her razor sharp claws, she’d have laboriously dragged my corpse into the back yard and stashed it in the crook of a tree branch.

Anyway, her original name gradually came unstuck from her, and she became

“Ming the Merciless”,

which suited her very well.

You should see my girl eat. I know a lot of girls are named Jinger, but she’s so gentle I couldn’t help it. Of course, I substituted a J for a G on all her official paperwork, because she’s unique. :rolleyes: :smiley:

I’m not a big fan of people-names as pet names. It just seems like you’re setting yourself up for an awkward time if you meet someone who has that same name. “Whadaya know, my dog’s name is Rose too!”

I do like to have a pet for a few days before giving it a name; it just makes sense to learn their personality and find something that matches, ya know? Although, my very first dog was an exception; I was three years old, and we found this poor puppy abandoned at the garbage dump. I apparently ran over, scooped her up, and said, “Shabby!” She was Shabby evermore thereafter.

After I got my Black Lab puppy (1985), a few days later he was constantly getting in the way of my Mom’s attempts to weed her garden. Out of exasperation she said, “Oh you little dickens!” and the moniker stuck. Yes overall Dickens had a mischievous personality and you could never pull one over on him (or, on those rare occasions that you did, he would get very indignant).

I found a starving little stray about 18 years ago. My brother took one look at her and said “she looks like she’ll dig through dumpsters and spit out lots of ugly puppies, she looks like a jezebel.”

And Jezebel she was, for 16 years. She never missed another meal and never once, had puppies, ugly or otherwise. She was also the best dog I ever had. RIP Jezebel.

My cat earned the name I gave him.

I got him about 13 years ago, on a coldish, rainy night. Got home after dark, climbed to my upstairs apartment, and came upon a scene of battle. An aging tomcat had this young–like 3 months or so–kitten backed into a corner. The tom clearly intended to kill the little guy, and there wasn’t much he was gonna do to prevent it. Still, the little ball of grey fluff was bowed up, hissing, snarling defiance, and determined to die fighting. I respect that kind of thing, so I booted the tom across the breezeway, and rescued the kitten. Gave him an honored name.

I call him Mosby.

The last dog I had, Niko, I got from the pound. Her former owners gave her up and her original name was Nikita. I didn’t like that name, so I just called her Niko. (I didn’t want to confuse her…she knew the name Nikita so I wanted to make it easier for her.) Damn, she was a great dog.

Our first cat is named 'Stache because she has a stripe under her nose like a moustache. As soon as my wife saw her that was what she called her and the name stuck. We shoulda named her *Queen *'Stache. That cat has more rights in my house than I do.

The 2nd cat, Banshee we got as a small kitten. She went through several names at first but she developed a habit of wandering around our place at night mewling loudly, so Banshee is the one that made sense.

The third cat was abandoned. The jackass that abandoned him called him “Stinky” but that wasn’t gonna fly with me. He actually got his name from an old Godzilla movie. When I take him to the vet and they write his name down as “Jet” I have to correct them and say "No, look at his nametag…its “Jet Jaguar”. (though we do call him Jet for short.)

And as far as my cats go, Jet Jaguar is the coolest.