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  • Writer's pictureJen Van de Kieft

Do cat names matter for adoption?

Stella and Nicole

With so many dogs and cats entering shelters, and 1.5 million still being euthanized annually, getting adopted quickly to make room for others is extremely important. We recently fostered a pair of adorable kittens. They came with kind of silly, but cute names, Tiny Boots and Dusty Mittens. When they first arrived, I planned on calling them Tiny and Dusty, but my son was not having it. He renamed them Stella and Nicole. We took a bunch of pics and forwarded them to Brooklyn Animal Action who we were fostering them through along with their new names. They were soon adopted. When the potential guardians came to visit, they talked about how much they liked their names. When I mentioned their old names, they had indicated that they had seen those names as they were looking for kittens for the past month, but had passed over Tiny Boots and Dusty Mittens. It seemed that the names made a difference for these adopters. I volunteer at a shelter and some of the animals have great names, and others have silly names. One cat is named Apple. A recent litter of kittens was named after pasta. You don't eat cats! Why not name them real names? It seemed to make Stella and Nicole more attractive. The ASPCA and Hunter College conducted an impressive research study into cat names. Participants were asked to rate cats on various qualities of adoption desirability and were given names in four categories: popular human baby names; pop culture names such as Spock or Kennedy; traditional names such as Cookie or Fluffy; or a Serial #. And what did they find? Turns out I am completely wrong! Names had no significant impact on adopters perception of potential cats. I guess there's always the exception, but that's good news for the Apples and Fusilli's awaiting their forever homes. If interested, you can read about it the study here:

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