What’s In a Name? (A Lot, Actually)


Fluffy, Tiger, Snowball, and Whiskers are out. Max, Chloe, Lucy, and Simon are in. Why the shift in the names we give our cats? Anthropologists posit that the more we consider our cats to be our family members, the more we’re apt to give them names that a person might have rather than a cutesy moniker.

We’ve come a long way from centuries ago, when people often gave their cats names to highlight an aspect of their appearance. (Imagine naming your cat “Little Paws.”) Often, cats didn’t even get names. They were just “the cat.”

But even in the 1970s and 80s cats were still often getting cat names rather than people names. Ginger was the most popular choice for felines in the 70s; Tiger in the 80s. Today the most popular cat names include Oliver, Leo, Bella, and Charlie. In other words, today’s names for cats often overlap with those you’d find in books on what to call your baby. If Puss in Boots were written today, the main character might be called Pete instead.


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