When you have a high volume of animals entering your shelter (hello, kitten season!) and your creativity is ebbing, it can be tough making sure everyone is named at intake.
At the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City, our staff assigns names to nearly 4,000 animals each year, so the task of coming up with yet another moniker is always front and center. Here are some tips from our crew to assist you in the naming process.
Ask for Suggestions
The ASPCA uses a suggestion box as a fun and efficient way for staff and volunteers to share ideas for names. They aim for names that:
Are easy to pronounce
Contain three or fewer syllables
Can be related to by adopters
Are simple to remember
“Avoid names that evoke antagonistic or aggressive imagery,” adds Gail Buchwald, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA’s Adoption Center. “We aim to select names that convey a pet’s role as a new member of the household.”
Pick a Theme
Themes come in handy for naming litters or multiple animals who come in from hoarding or cruelty cases. Examples include gems and stones (Ruby, Sapphire, Jade); colors (Burgundy, Violet, Indigo); inspiration from nature (Rose, Lily, Aster, Clover, Buttercup, Daisy, Dahlia, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme); and even pastas (Linguini, Tortellini, Macaroni). The possibilities are endless!
However, keep in mind that if an animal comes in who already knows his name, it’s better to retain it since he’s used to responding to that name.
Which cheesy name was ultimately selected for this kitty? Manchego!
Choose Favorite Characters
To commemorate the launch of the last season of “Mad Men,” cats and dogs at the ASPCA were named after characters on the show, including Don, Megan, Joan, Roger, and Peggy. Your staff can really have fun drawing inspiration from the media. Choose characters from your favorite books or shows (Hermione, Harry, Ron, Dumbledore, Ginny; Frodo, Bilbo, Gandalf, Gimli) – you get the picture!
Select Real People
Buchwald suggests using names that your adopters can relate to. “We mine our own adopter database for first names. This helps to ensure that our animals’ names reflect the diversity of our adopters,” she explains.
Mine the Baby Lists
Use the Internet to stay on top of modern, trendy baby names, since the most popular names change from year to year. You’ll find plenty of websites and blogs devoted to the subject. P.S. You can search for lists of top pet names, too!