Due to a viral tweet, the talk of the town has been our, as many have put it, eclectic cat names. You may have seen the tweet which simply asks, “Who is in charge of naming the poor kittens at Austin Pets Alive!?” Some of the cats featured in this tweet have the names of Atomic Toaster, iPad 4, Glycolysis 6, and Unicycle 7 – safe to say those aren’t the typical cat names you’re used to hearing.
The tweet led to many people digging through our adoptable cats and picking out the names they found to be the funniest – a list that seems to continue to grow. The viral tweet also gathered some comments that we name our cats this way so that we don’t get attached. That’s when we decided it was time to reveal the true method.
Austin Pets Alive! names thousands of kittens and cats a year. If we went with traditional names each time, imagine how many callicos named Callie we’d have, or black cats named Midnight? It’s much easier to find Atomic Toaster in our system versus searching through 20 different cats all with the same name. We believe the more unique the name, the better, because it ensures you’re talking about the right cat.
As far as the numbers behind the name … no, we aren’t talking about the 4th version of the iPad. It’s the way we keep track of how many litters of neonatal kittens we receive a year! Our process is very similar to how the World Meteorological Organization name hurricanes. Each kitten in a litter gets a name with the same letter. This helps us organize and know which kittens belong to which litter. Each January we start at A and work our way through the alphabet. The number behind the name represents how many times we’ve been through the alphabet that year. We usually go through the cycle around 30 times. Glycolysis 6 means we were on our 6th round of G names this year when she received her name.
Concerns have been expressed that we name them these weird names so we don’t get attached. This is actually a myth! Names don’t stand in the way between feeling a connection towards an animal. We name every cat that comes through our doors, whether that be a neonatal kitten or a barn cat – even our own feral cats get a unique name based off of their personalities. It’s our way of honoring them as living beings. Naming things, no matter how strange the name, is a bonding experience.
Take the cat Hunky Hullabaloo for example (pictured left). She has big black chubby cheeks decorated with fighting scars. She’s described as an excellent cat with tons of personality, a real hunk. Or Tofu, who’s named after his squishy belly!
So who names the cats and where do they come from? Well, it’s a group effort from our amazing cat team. When a team member comes up with a name, they jot it down in The Big Book of Cat Names, which shows a genuine reflection of everyone’s personality on the team. If they’re naming cats around lunch time, it’s a safe bet the names will be food related. If someone on the team is obsessed with a new television show or movie, those characters’ names are sure to pop up. A latest favorite from a team member who loves puns is Oscar Wild Cat. Want to see one of our cat naming experts, Natascha Hamman, in action? Watch her do her thing here!
The names draw people in to meet the cat, and whether or not they decide to change them, we bet they always remember the name that first bonded them with their fur baby.
Now you know our “secret” cat naming procedure here at APA!. If you have a purrfect name in mind, let us know! We’re always looking for creative names – the more unique the better! Want to continue supporting the cats and kittens that come into our care, and many times receive their very first name? Give today!