From Ernest Hemingway to Charles Dickens, it’s pretty obvious that cats are the favored pets of some of the most iconic writers in classic literature. Maybe it’s their stand-off nature, their penchant for naps, or the similarities between the isolation of writing and a cat’s constant need to be alone, but writers seem to be drawn to cats—sometimes to the extent that they include them in their work.
Check out these 6 iconic names from classic literature and gets some inspiration for a literary-themed name for your own furry friend (dogs included too)!
1. Pluto – The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe
What cuter name for your kitty than to call it after an adorable dwarf planet which people seem weirdly invested in defending for full-on planethood? Indeed, the name is cute, but the tale (or should I say tail), not so much.
In Poe’s gruesome story, The Black Cat, a man kills his cat, Pluto, then is driven insane when a cat who looks exactly the same—with the exception of a white mark around his neck resembling a gallows—shows up and starts stalking him.
2. Algernon— Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Algernon is a mouse in Keyes’ famous sci-fi story, but it still makes for an excellent name for a pup, cat, bird, or lizard (we don’t judge here). Flowers for Algernon follows a mentally disabled man who undergoes an experiment to make him more intelligent. The increase in his mental capabilities mirrors that of Algernon, a lab mouse, up until the final moments when they both come to a tragic end.
Recommended reading as long as you’ve got your own furry Algernon nearby to soothe and keep you company!
3. Captain Nemo - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Who says Nemo is a name for a fish but not a cat? In fact, given the moody and mysterious nature of cats, I'd say Captain Nemo from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is the perfect literary character to name your whiskery companion after. In Verne's book, Captain Nemo's character is defined by his at times strange behavior.
By the end, the reader continues to understand Captain Nemo and his motivations even less than at the start—which, let's face it, is basically how humans feel about their cats most of the time, too.
4. Behemoth – The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
We all know cats have a penchant for sarcasm—it comes across even when we don’t understand each other! But if you suspect your kitten has a bit more pizzazz than usual, AND a secret love for vodka and chess, then Behemoth is the perfect name.
In Bulgakov’s raucous tale about Soviet life in 1930s Russia, we are introduced to such a cat: the loud, immense Behemoth who does indeed drink plenty of vodka and loves a good game of chess.
5. Gatsby - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Does your cat have a taste for the flashier, finer things in life? Do they spend a lot of time staring off into space at random points of light? Then perhaps you should consider naming your furry friend after the title character from Fitzgerald's Jazz Age tale, The Great Gatsby.
Come on...get your cat that bowtie and green laser pointer he's always wanted, and help him to fulfill his destiny as the coolest cat on the block.
6. Any name from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot
You may be familiar with Eliot’s more ‘serious’ work such as the The Wasteland, which is considered one of the most important poems of the 20th century, but did you know he loved to write whimsical and light-hearted poetry too? Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats definitely shows T.S. Eliot’s lighter side and is chock-full of some of the best feline titles.
Bombalurina, Skimbleshanks, and Bustopher Jones are just a few of the endearing names you can choose from!
Which is your favorite literary cat, and why?