One of the best parts about adopting a new animal into the family is naming him or her! It’s so fun to play with words, read baby name books and even hit the web in search of the perfect fit. My youngest sis recently did just that: She and her husband welcomed home two eight-month-old sister kittens from the local shelter. They finally decided on two beautiful names: Tig (the alpha kitten, after the comedian Tig Notaro) and Quinn (they wanted a beautiful one-syllable Irish name).

A few weeks ago, all the top name lists for 2014 came out: top baby names of 2014, popular puppy names of 2014, and most popular kitten names 2014. If you’re looking to name a new furry family member, these are great places to start your search.

As for me, I’ve been honored to be able to name five animal family members over the years. Here are their names and how they came to be:

Cassie: The name of my childhood cat came from Cassandra, a name I always thought was so beautiful and elegant. How funny to end up as the name of a tiny tortoiseshell hellion of a cat that used to chase dogs!


Dakota: This is the Native American word for “friend” … and truly, Dakota, my first dog adopted when I was adult, was the very best friend one could ever ask for—all 16 years he was by my side. He was also my first animal Reiki teacher!


Shawnee: My first horse came to me with that name, although his birth name is actually “Brownie’s Paychex” (not my favorite!). I think Shawnee fits him so well with his long, orange mane. I can almost see Native American feathers decorating it.

shawnee portrait

Kodiak: Kodiak is a twist on his official birth name—“Kodak Instant Color.” My second horse already knew himself as “Kody” when I got him, and he is big and burly like a bear (and also can be fierce like one), so I changed it to Kodiak.

kody portrait

Mystic: I was looking for a spiritual type of name, and she was gray, so people were suggesting Misty, and so Mystic just popped in as a spiritual twist on it! She does seem to see things that aren’t there and walk a bit in a different world, so the name seems to fit her well.


I absolutely love the name Luna for a dog—that was a close second choice for Mystic. Maybe next time … ?

What’s your animal’s name and the inspiration behind it? Is it a good fit?

{P.S. An amusing quiz to help you name your animal, via Buzzfeed.}

10 thoughts on “What’s your animal’s name?”

  1. I have had a few fur babies in my life, many have come with their own names. 3 of my ultimate favorite names have been my first male ginger boy, Tiger, when I was much younger, he was sO playful! Then :Nursy,(like nurse) who’s real name is Lucy, but she adorse older dogs and is forever licking them and trying to make them feel better???? Then there is Boomer! Beautiful male tabby, with th thickest black stripes on silver I have ever seen. It took almost a week to name him, but it was worth it! He was a handful sized kitten and even then, not scared of dogs! He ran over the bed and through the house at night, and then just as fast as he would get wound up, he would wind down. So it’s almost like his presence was like a Boom, when he made himself known ???? and it suites him so well now that he’s getting older. Best name iv ever given a fur baby????

  2. We have two beautiful cats, brother & sister. Our boy is Roger- named by my husband who was a policeman at that time and named him after the ‘Roger that’ affirmative! I named our girl Leilani- which is a Hawaiian name meaning ‘heavenly garland of flowers’. Leilani is such a pretty and dainty little girl she needed a pretty name to match!

  3. I wanted to name my dog Jupiter for his coat color looks exactly like the planet! But it was too long to call and I took the name suggestion from my boss which is Astro from the Japanese cartoon Astroboy. He does have a heroic look and I always imagine seeing a galaxy through his multi-colored eyes. 🙂

  4. I’ve had the pleasure of naming 3 cats. The first came to me the day by Kane died and I was not ready to have another fur baby yet and so would not name her. Friends and family came by that weekend to see the “new cat” and repeatedly I heard … “she’s so pretty.” I named her Kanani – Hawaiian meaning Pretty One. Strays showed up at my door and not being to to get close to them so I couldn’t tell gender, I decided on generic names and named them Patches (he is white with 6 gray spots on his back) and Mittens (he is black with white paws).

    1. Hi Robin,
      Thanks for sharing — you are a cat magnet 🙂 that is so sweet! Kanani is a pretty sounding word to go along with its meaning too. Patches and Mittens sound like very cute ferals 🙂

  5. My cat was born with a back leg that didn’t work. He dragged it behind him when he walked, and it got in the way when he was going up and down stairs. So the vet amputated it right after I adopted him. He is much better off without the bum leg, and now he hops around like a rabbit! I named him Toki. “Rabbit” is 토끼 (to-kki) in Korean. (I spell his name with one K) He is my rabbit cat and I love him.

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