Atomic Toaster! Chicken Noodle! Tofu! Ketchup! You might think I’m listing random food items, kitchen appliances or outlandish band names, but things aren’t what they seem. These are actually [drumroll] cat names. Yup, you heard me(ow) correctly.
An animal shelter called Austin Pets Alive! (yes, with an exclamation point! because we love those!) gives cats very eccentric names. They made us laugh so hard, our sides started hurting. And now it also hurts to smile. Since we enjoyed these unusual catto monikers so much, we thought you’d like to savor them as well. Cats thrive on attention, so spend at least a few seconds with each one while scrolling down. Oh, and upvote your faves, and check out our interview with Austin Pets Alive!
Bored Panda talked to Katera Berent from Austin Pets Alive! to get a better understanding of the animal shelter and their interesting tradition of naming cats. “Austin Pets Alive! opened its doors as an animal shelter in 2008. We believe in the ‘No Kill’ mission — that every pet deserves a chance at life. We created seven lifesaving programs to target those demographics of animals that were disproportionately killed in traditional shelter settings, and because of that and our work with our city's municipal shelter, the city of Austin is at a 98% save rate.”
When asked which unique cat names were her favorites, Katera had this to say: “That's a tough one, because there are so many great cat names here! My current favorite is Nude Molerat, but Asparagus 25 and Baguette are close seconds.”
Austin Pets Alive! also had some advice for those of you looking to adopt an animal from their shelter. “Work with our matchmakers and adoption counselors on what you are looking for in a pet! We have so many deserving animals here at Austin Pets Alive!, so our teams are excited and ready to find your purrfect match,” Katera said.
Furthermore, she mentioned that after getting media attention due to the unusual way the shelter names cats, “people are more attuned to how we name our cats, but we haven't seen an uptick in adoption.”
“It's great to see more people aware of how accessible it is to adopt cats and kittens, though, and to see our pets get the attention we think they deserve! The kittens that people have been noticing (like Glycolysis 6) are named that way because of our Neonatal Nursery,” Katera explained. “We save the most vulnerable lives in Central Texas — neonatal kittens — where most shelters euthanize them due to a lack of resources. Litters of kittens are named in alphabetical order, with the number attributed based on how many times we've been through the alphabet that year. As of this morning, we're up to H 24!”
On its website, Austin Pets Alive! describes itself as “not your average animal shelter”, and states that it pioneers “innovative lifesaving programs designed to save the animals most at risk of euthanasia.” Now that’s a mission statement a lot of us can get behind. The shelter is popular, with over 146,500 followers on Facebook, 67,300 fans on Instagram and 28,600 devotees on Twitter.
The shelter’s tradition to give adoptable felines weird monikers has been around for some time now, and the animal shelter went viral because of it. While some people thought the names were brilliant, others were less than impressed. That’s why the shelter pulled back the curtain and explained the logic behind what they do.
“Austin Pets Alive! names thousands of kittens and cats a year. If we went with traditional names each time, imagine how many calicos 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,” the shelter clarified. “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.”
A few of us might be tempted to follow Austin Pets Alive!’s naming system, but what about those of us who want more traditional names? According to Rover, the top five most popular male cat names in 2019 are Oliver, Charlie, Leo, Max and Jack. Meanwhile, female cats are mostly called Luna, Lily or Lilly, Bella, Lucy, and Kitty. Kitty is the winner in my books, hands down. Either that or Atomic Toaster.