03 August 2012

Pet Names

Welcome back. After my recent blog post on names more popular than my own, I was tickled to come upon a Parade Magazine mention of the most popular pet names. (That’s pet as in animal, not Honey or Babe or other terms of endearment.) The top choices appeared in a sidebar to the article, What’s Going on inside Your Pet’s Head, by Catherine Price, 8 July 2012.

Photo from a pet portrait session
Unlike human names, which are tallied by the Social Security Administration and whose rankings are thus government certified, pet names are not a government responsibility. Not yet anyway. As such, we’re forced to rely on other, less complete sources.

For its source, the Parade Magazine sidebar chose the Banfield Pet Hospital, which I learned has hundreds of pet-care facilities across the U.S. (Full disclosure: I also learned that I’ve a niece, who used to play a flute and is now a brilliant veterinarian with Banfield. It’s ok, though; I haven’t seen her in years.)

It would be a leap of faith to assume that the ranking of names of patients of this one organization could be extended to represent the entire country’s pet population, so I proceeded with caution.

Most Popular Dog and Cat Names

Banfield’s top female dog name for 2011 was “Bella.” Could it be that Banfield’s female dog namers are dominantly female devotees of the Twilight series? That’s not to say that guys couldn’t get into love stories about vampires; it’s just to go with the probable numbers.

Having climbed out on a limb, I was a tad surprised that “Max” and “Buddy” shared Banfield’s male dog name honors. Where was “Edward,” “James” or “Jacob” from Bella’s adventures?

Then the alarm sounded. Banfield’s most popular cat name for 2011 was “Kitty.” A cat conversant in English will come when you call “kitty, kitty, kitty,” if it feels like it; yet I’ve never encountered a cat named Kitty. Does Banfield cater to unimaginative cat namers?

Digging deeper, I discovered an entirely different pet name popularity ranking. This one is from the Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) Company’s database of more than 485,000 insured pets. Guess what; Kitty was nowhere to be seen.

Resolving this issue does not call for a congressional investigation despite what many dedicated congressmen might suggest while blaming the other party for the discrepancy. We’re simply sampling two populations. One includes pet owners who fret and can afford VPI pet insurance; the other includes pet owners who visit Banfield facilities, with or without fretting and with or without VPI’s insurance.

All this aside, “Bella” also topped VPI’s list for dogs. And get this. Bella is Number 1 on the VPI list for cats! Go Vampires!  

Wrap Up

You may recall that our son, Noah, has a cat, Henry, who has been boarding with us for the past year because Noah moved into a no-pets college apartment. It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Henry is gone. Not gone, gone; just moved. Noah reclaimed him when Noah’s mother and I were away, roasting in Wisconsin.

For Henry’s final act of, well, being Henry, he so intimidated the professional pet sitter, who has 20 years’ experience, that she could not enter the house to care for him and our cat, Boss.

“Ahhh,” Henry purred, as Noah carried him away, “Boss terrorized, humans defeated, furniture scratched, screens pierced, carpets clawed, fur embedded in untold fibers, cracks and crevices. My job is done.

Oh, the name Henry is from the German, “ruler of the household.” I thought that was true of all cats. Thanks for stopping by.


Next Tuesday’s photo addendum will have a frontal view of the pet shown above, in the pet portrait.

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