Saturday, July 24, 2010

Playing the Name Game Never Gets Dull

The cutest takeover mankind has ever witnessed has begun and....there is no end in sight.

It seems the most common question one might ask during a cat adoption is: "Who names the cats?". After all, there must be some mad genius writer behind the scenes whose sole purpose is to come up with unique and creative names for every cat and kitten that enters the SF/SPCA, right? Well, almost. Some of the cats come in with names from previous homes while others simply have names invented or reinvented by our intake staff. Usually it's the first person to see the cat and enter the information in a computer.

You can imagine how difficult it can be to find individual titles for over 4,000 cats a year without repeating or confusing two that already exist. It truly boggles the mind, but the challenge is a fun one, when it gets down to it.

 In fact, for some of us, it becomes an obsession.

Picture yourself at home, reading a book or watching your favorite tv show. Suddenly... POP... a series of names, themes and categories enters your thought process. The next thing you know, you are writing down names on a scratch pad, searching the Internet or filling your mental Rolodex.

The wipe board outside the Non-contagious Kitten Room
There are methods to our madness. Litters of kittens are named with themes that keep them together. An example would be : Corona, Pacifico and Modelo. Maybe someone was at a BBQ and they thought, " Hmm, I think I'll name some kittens after my favorite beers!" Sometimes we choose to name them by First Initial, like Reggie, Ronald and Ralphie. Moms with kittens get named with themes that tie the kittens to the mom. For instance: A mom named Petrolina will have kittens named Exxon, Texaco, Mobil, Shell & Chevron. Not the most conventional labels but hey....we have SO MANY kittens it gets creatively competitive.

"BONES" the cat whose face looks like a skull

Then, there's the obvious technique of naming a cat based on physical features that stand out. A cat with an amputated tail will be named "Nubbin". An older more dignified mom cat that has had one too many litters is called "Grandma". A cat that was born with some toes missing will be "Little Foot". The sweet tabby with glowing orange eyes is dubbed 'XRAY Specks". The possibilities are endless folks.


We take our naming seriously. Sometimes we take it so seriously that we get offended when someone doesn't like our choices and changes the name of an overweight cat from Tsunami  to Tugboat. Or, we secretly feel proud when we hear the names we created mentioned around the shelter, on the news or from an admiring would be-adopter. Imagine just how far a name can travel.

There are over 260 individual and amazing cats in our shelter. Each with a name that calls to you. Please help put the SF/SPCA this summer and put a name to a face. The name game has no losers, only winners.

Don't forget about our upcoming adopt-a-thon next weekend!!!!

Daniel Quagliozzi
SF/SPCA Feline Care Coordinator

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