The selection of kitten names is as diverse and interesting as cats themselves!
As such, choosing the right name for your kitten is not always easy.
Despite what many have tried to say in the past, cats do learn their names.
While some cats typically do not respond to their names as enthusiastically as dogs, many cats will at least react to their name in some way.
Many cats will come when their names are called, although it may take some coaxing at first to get them trained.
Whether it is a look, a flick of the tail, or even coming to you when called, most cats do react to their names being used. But, it may take several tries each time you want them to come to you, especially if they are wrapped up in a task.
Some sources say that the best kitten names end in an “ee” sound. Supposedly, both kittens and adult cats respond best to names that end with this sound.
Below are some rules and recommendations on kitten names, and how to get your cat to respond to the one you’ve chosen.
I can tell you from personal experience, however, that a cat can and will learn a name that does not fit this mold. For example, my oldest cat, Priscilla, knows her name and always responds to it.
“Smokey” or “Silky” or something like that would probably have been an easier cat name for her, but she seems to do just fine with the name she has. I know, Smokey is often used to name male cats, but you get my point.
Try to keep cat names fairly simple. Shorter is usually better. No more than 3 syllables, and use long vowel sounds. For example, a not so good kitten name would be “kitten.” Even though it is short (two syllables), it has short vowel sounds. Something like “Marty” or “Katie” would be better, since they have a long “a” and end in the “ee” sound.
- Be specific – choose a good kitten name that you think fits and decide how to pronounce it – then stick to it. Don’t send your cat mixed signals about the sound of the name by pronouncing it differently each time.
- Don’t truncate the name – if you name your cat “Smokey,” then don’t start calling him “Smoke” instead. Always call him “Smokey,” or choose “Smoke” in the first place.
- Be consistent – once you choose “Misty,” then “Misty” doesn’t become “Maria” all of a sudden – once kitten names are chosen and the training starts, that’s it. Again, no mixed signals.
- Be nice – always use a nice tone when saying the kitten’s name – would you respond well to a strange word that someone always yelled at you?
- Use positive reinforcement – put your cat in a “feel good” mood by petting your cat for a while, then begin saying her name as you stroke her.
- Use Play – say your cat’s name repeatedly during a light play session with a toy she likes.
- Use food – pet your cat and say her name while she’s eating, or feed her a treat.
- Don’t use negative reinforcement – this might seem like common sense given number five, but you might be surprised how many people will use kitten names in a harsh voice to punish their cats! If your cat is doing something you don’t want her to do, use other sounds and words, like “no” or a loud noise as a behavior modification tool – not her name.
- Reward your cat – every time your kitten reacts to her name, praise her in a soft, high pitched voice, and reward her with lots of physical attention like petting, hugs, and treats.
- Never use punishment – when using the kitten’s name doesn’t produce the desired reaction, simply ignore your kitten’s behavior and go back to using the techniques described here. Never yell at your cat or punish her for not responding to her name.
Remember, whether it’s kitten names or litter box training, you are using a behavior modification technique.
The basic rules here are to get your cat in a positive mood, ignore undesired behavior, and reward your cat whenever you catch her doing something you want her to do.
Those are also solid tips to keep in mind when training your cat in any way.
As a final note on the “rules” I would say to have fun with it, and do whatever works.
House cats have proven over and over again that they’re a pretty smart bunch, and will adapt to whatever name you choose. I’ve seen cat health experts name their cats in total opposition to the rules, so have at it!
Click here to read this article on their website – http://www.cat-lovers-only.com/kitten-names.html