I have a cat named Kevin. My 5-year-old named him after a minion named Kevin on Despicable Me. I have a dog named Cilia because flagellum was a terrible name!

I chose my child’s name because I liked the name, but there is a story behind every one of my pet’s names.  I have found that when asked, clients usually have a story behind their pet’s names too.  This has become one of my favorite parts of getting to know new owners and pets.  When I decided to write this blog I walked around our clinic and asked the staff to think about the best pet names they have heard.  That sparked a number of spin-off conversations all about pets and their names.  Sadly, two names brought up most often were deemed not appropriate for this blog.

No matter where you found him, or how malnourished and flea-bitten he was, don’t name your pet Lucky.   Any veterinarian or veterinary technician can tell you that bad things happen to pets named Lucky.  On that note, never put your hand in the cage with a cat named Sweetie.

I have only treated one cat named Toonces in my 8-year veterinary career, and that was a very old cat.  I imagine the more seasoned veterinarians remember a rash of cats by that name after the SNL skit, Toonces the Driving Cat that aired in 1988.  I have seen my share of Katrinas, though.  If you rescued a female dog or cat from New Orleans in 2005, there is a good chance you named her Katrina or NOLA.

The most common pet names of 2013 were Max and Belle according to VPI (Veterinary Pet Insurance), though I think the last time I checked our software, the most common male name was Beau (or Bo, Beaux).  For those of you who don’t know, in Louisiana, we substitute –eaux for o in a lot of words.

The receptionists get utterly confused when my dad comes in with one of his pets.  He likes to give nicknames.  Often, nicknames evolve over time, so that what we actually call the pet bears almost no resemblance to the name that we have on file.  Our clinic is near a college campus, so we have a lot of college students as clients.  Trying to find their pets in our computer can be a lot of “fun” for the staff.  The owner of record may have been the ex-boyfriend or the estranged roommate.  This is why our receptionists ask “what is the pet’s last name?” and not the last name of the person in front of them.

I came across an old Golden Retriever while I was in vet school named Abacus.  I thought that was a great name.  Here are some others worth mentioning.

  • A pug named Professor Jellyroll
  • A large bulldog named Big Tuna
  • A cat named Chairman Meow
  • A pair of dogs named Fergie and Will-i-am.  Our staff refers to them only as The Black Eyed Peas.
  • A pair of dogs found in a Wal-Mart parking lot named Wally and Marty
  • A cat named Kohl’s – guess where he was found?
  • A bulldog named Lord Nottingham (shortened to Hammie) and his predecessor Friar Tuck
  • A cat named CATniss
  • Guess when the owners found these pets:
  • Super Bowl Sunday, Mardi Gras, Cats named Trick & Treat, Christmas Belle, Noel