Literary Kitties & Other Naming Dilemmas

Parents often struggle to pick the right name their child. A good friend recently told me that in Denmark parents are not required to pick a name for more than a year. In the US if you leave the hospital without a name on the birth certificate you’re in for a rocky road of bureaucratic bumps.

Animal lovers like me, put a lot of effort into figuring out the right name for a cat or dog. I’m fostering two rescue kittens with the intent to officially adopt them in two weeks. On the original paperwork their names are Benjamin and Alice, but I am calling them Sebastian and Viola after the twins in Shakespeare’s 12th Night.

Before I met the kittens, I had a long list of cat names. My list included everything from Magritte and Pina (for the Belgian artist and the German choreographer) to Bastet and Apollo (for the Egyptian and Greek gods) and Sherlock and Cadfael (for the great fictional detectives). But when I saw these two clearly bonded and nearly identical black cats, I knew I had to give them names related to famous twins.

I often try to make my thought process for naming characters logical. I start with the age, ethnic/family background, and other factors that inform the selection of a real person’s name. A storyteller can be more imaginative and even a little cruel. While a mother or father might not want to give their offspring a name that invites ridicule, an author might go for it and give the character an extra helping of childhood drama.

As for naming cats, I knew I couldn’t pre-select the name with any certainty until I met the cat. (I planned to take only one.) Of course I was thrown off kilter by this adorable duo, and woke up in the middle of the night realizing I needed fraternal twin names. So now, I’m sharing my home with two literary kitties. I don’t know what kind of nicknames will come naturally as I get to know them. Right now, I’m having a hard time telling them apart. They are that alike!

Two pairs of copper eyes…


Is there room on the sofa for me? Not yet… I’m patient.


  1. I would love to get two kittens eventually, but I’m going to take a break from cats for a while now that my last one passed away last months. My cattle dog/corgi mix is named Zoey. Go to any dog park in the land and it soon becomes apparent a good number of dogs share that name 😉

    • Candy Korman

      Dogs are cool and social… All the dog people in any given neighborhood get to know one another. But… I’m a cat person, ensconced at home with feline creature from a Shakespeare comedy, books, my Kindle, and my computers.

      Zoey is a nice name. It’s friendly. I can see why it’s so popular.