Not all characters are human. Sometimes your main character may have a furry little friend who pops up in your story, whether it’s in a big or a small role. Maybe your MC’s pet just cuddles up with her at night, or maybe it helps solve crimes. And unless you want your fictional pet to be a no-name slob, then he needs a name!
The great thing about pet names is that they don’t have to be your normal, average everyday names. You can name your pet something crazy and no one would think twice about it. In fact, naming your cat or dog something like Meghan, Paul, or Greg might get a raised eyebrow (although this is definitely an option, as well). You don’t have to limit yourself to the typical Spot or Fluffy, either. Think outside the box. You can name your pet after a TV or book character, your favorite food, or even an inanimate object. And while you probably wouldn’t name a human character based on their hair color, you can certainly name a cat or dog after their fur color(s).
SOME PET NAMES BASED ON FOOD: Butterscotch, Pickles, Oreo, Marshmallow, Pumpkin, Snickers, Nacho, Waffles, Biscuit, Meatball, Peanut, Cheddar, Ginger, Muffin, Peppermint.
The name of your fictional pet can reflect the personality of the pet itself or of the character who owns it. If your dog is sweet, you could name it Sweetie. An intelligent pet could be named Einstein. If you have a sneaky cat, name it Sneakers. Or think about how this pet is reflective of its owner. How can you show your character’s personality through their pet’s name? A pet name is another great place to sneak in some symbolism. What is this pet representing? Why is it in the story at all? The name you choose for it could be representative of that.
WHAT I'VE DONE: We named our cat Gizmo because he reminded us of a Gremlin…but a cute one.
Think of a fictional pet’s name the way you would if you were actually naming your own pet. Remember this is a name that your character is going to have to use and possibly call out in public. What kind of attention will the name get from other people? Will it be a conversation starter that completely gets your plot going? Who knows? Remember that a pet can be an important character, too! It should have a name that fits.
Have you ever put a pet in one of your stories? How have you come up with names for your own pets? Share your pets' names in the comments!