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Animal Nomenclature - Choosing the Right Name for Your New Pet!

Animal Nomenclature - Choosing the Right Name for Your New Pet!
Do you need some help in naming the newest, fluffiest member of your family? Well, here are some tips...
PetPonder Staff
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
When I was around nine or ten years old, I thought that Maggie was a great name for our dog. She is a Gordon Setter, a Scottish breed, so we thought a Scottish name would be fitting. Soon enough, I realized that everyone and their dog (pun intended) had a pet named Maggie! I then decided that when I got older and had a pet of my own, that I would try to be more unique. Sure, while names like Maggie, Max, Fluffy, and Sam are perfectly fine, they are also a little dull. I have always felt that if I think my pet is truly special and unique, it should have a name that reflects that. At the same time, finding a unique name that isn't just plain weird can be a challenge as well.
Though, I must admit, when I was much younger (sometime in the 1st grade I believe) I did name my guinea pig Hamhock. We called her Hammy for short, so it worked out, but my parents thought I was a little strange. So, now that I'm a big kid (i.e. an adult), I've found a few simple ways to give a pet a name, that not only suits their personality or looks, but also is unique and reflects my own tastes, as well.
Names of fictional characters
My pets named after fictional characters: Wesley (from Star Trek: The Next Generation) the cat, and Helena and Hermia (Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream) the rats.
I'm not saying that just because Dwight is your favorite character from The Office that you should necessarily name your cat after him. If your cat is a little neurotic, a suck up, and proficient in beet farming techniques, then perhaps the name fits. I didn't name my new little kitten Wesley because I really liked Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: TNG. I gave him that name because his personality was similar to the character. He's very vocal (whiny and obnoxious), immature, and yet somehow can be incredibly intelligent. It just fit! Or, maybe you just like the name of the character and there's no real connection. Whatever the case, movies, TV, and literature are a treasure trove for those searching for pet names.
Names of celebrities or politicians
My pets named after famous people: Hubert and Humphrey (former vice president of the United States Hubert Humphrey) the guinea pigs, Jiro (bass guitar player for the band GLAY) the cat
Are you a huge fan of George Clooney? Then maybe Clooney is a good name for your dog. If you are a big Hillary Clinton supporter, then maybe Hillary is a fitting name for your pet hamster. Naming a pet after someone we admire is both a way of expressing our admiration as well as an expression of our personal tastes. Though, to be honest, I wasn't exactly looking to name two guinea pigs after the former vice president. Long story short, we got Humphrey first, but he didn't get along with our existing pair of guinea-guys, so we got him a friend and named him Hubert. It just seemed fitting, I think!
Names or words from other languages
My pets with foreign names: Zumi (short for nezumi, Japanese for mouse) the chinchilla.
When I adopted my chinchilla, she came with the name Ziggy. I didn't like this name much, so I wanted to rename her, but I wanted the name to still start with a Z. This was more difficult than I'd expected, given that the letter Z didn't leave me with a whole lot of options. I scoured my brain for examples in either English or Japanese (the only two languages in which I am proficient), but nothing came up, with the exception of the word "nezumi". Nezumi just happens to mean mouse or rat, but it didn't start with a Z, so I was about to toss that idea out, when it hit me: I could simply drop the first two letters! And thus, she became Zumi.
I've known others who've named their pets after the name for the animal in another language, like Katze (German) or Neko (Japanese) for a cat. It's certainly sounds cooler than naming your new kitty 'cat'!
Names from various baby/pet name lists
My pets with names I found on lists: Sifka the cat
Okay, so Sifka is my boyfriend's cat, but I figure it's an appropriate example. After adopting a scrawny eight-week old kitten from the shelter, it was obvious to both my boyfriend and me that we would need to rename her. Someone at the shelter decided to name the poor stray kitten 'Lil' Homie'. Poor thing! We struggled for a few hours to find a good name, until eventually we broke down and looked up 'cat names' on Google. I was trying to convince my boyfriend that Muffin was a great name, when he came upon the name Sifka. We looked it up later on and found out it had a number of meanings, though the coolest of those was that Sifka is the name of a Finnish princess in Norse mythology. If you really have no idea what to call your kitty (or puppy, bunny, etc.), looking through lists of names can always lead to an inspired idea. Plus, there are tons of baby name sites out there, where you can look up names by meaning, letter, or origin. It can't hurt to take a peek if you're stuck!
These are just a few suggestions if you're really wanting to pick a name with a certain meaning of significance to it. Still, perhaps, the most tried and true name by which most pets (and even people) have been named is to simply look them in the eyes and follow your heart. If you look at your dog and the first thought that comes to mind is Maggie or Fluffy or Max, then don't be afraid if someone thinks you're unoriginal. What matters is that you and your pet are just at the beginning of a new relationship, that will bring love and friendship into both of your lives.
So, I will leave you with one last piece of adviceā€•no matter what your pet's name is, remember that the important thing is not what you call it, but the bond that you and your companion animal share. Even if my boyfriend's cat was still Lil' Homie or if my chinchilla was still Ziggy, it would not have changed how we feel about them, and how we have bonded with them. Don't stress over it too much, because there are far more important things than a name. Besides, your cat won't ever know he was named after George Clooney. All he knows and cares about is that you feed him, scoop his poop, and give him lots of love and attention.
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