I have a veterinary book that states the name given to a cat should end with a vowel. The paragraph in which I read this is here:

Naming your new pet should be fun and involve the entire family. You can even find at your local bookstore entire books that are dedicated to choosing the right name for your cat. Stick to names having two syllables; This will allow it to differentiate between its name and those one syllable commands you may choose to teach it. You can further set its name apart from potential commands or reprimands by adding a vowel sound to the end of it.

Does anybody know if this is true? Has anybody read or heard this anywhere? If so, where?

The book is called The Illustrated Veterinary Guide for Dogs, Cats, Birds, and Exotic Pets. It is written by Chris C. Pinney, DVM. It's not as if you are going to run out and buy the book just to read about this though.

I want to know if cats should given names ending with a vowel, and if giving them names of two syllables would help.

  • 1
    Before we named our stray cat "Sam", I used to call him by shouting "come on", so guess what he thinks his name is?
    – Mick
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 2:22
  • My cat doesn't come when his name is called, instead, we call him using a clicking noise. I don't know why he associated the clicking with coming to us, but now he does. Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 14:02
  • When I was training my Papillon for therapy certification, I remember this coming up as a topic for DOGS when my trainer got a new puppy. As a group/class we talked about "two syllables is easier to call than multiple syllables, and one syllable may sound like the end or beginning of another word, & for the name not to sound like a command". We used to have a dog named "Yogi", & his ears would perk up every time someone said a happy word ending in the same sound "ē, ee, ey or y". Seems like a "depends on the cat & YOUR dialect" type answer to me...But I'll research it
    – Christy B.
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 6:48

1 Answer 1


I bet millions of cats are named with names like "Sam". Are they less well trained? I bet no (But I have no proof either).

Let us focus on the reason Chris C. Pinney gives you for his suggestion:

This will allow it to differentiate between its name and those one syllable commands you may choose to teach it.

What is a name?

As a human, we identify with our name. We do not only say: "I am called Anna", or "My name is Anna", but we also say: "I am Anna". Our names are an identifier for our whole personality.

For pets this is not the same. They don't identify themselves by using a name. But they can learn that when someone calls a special command (their "name"), it is good to give this person their attention. They know that they may get some treats or stroke if they come to this person when they hear that command. They can even differentiate between different names. E.g. if you have two cats named "Kitty" and "Chloe", Kitty knows that "Kitty" is her special command, but she does not have to react when Chloe is called.

To teach a pet a name it is necessary to always be consistent. If it is important for the owner that the pet knows its name, it is good to train it like any other command (e.g. give the pet a treat if it gives you attention after calling its name). If there are more than one pet it is important that always only the pet is rewarded which was meant and not the others, too.

The biggest problem with names and commands which can confuse pets is the repetition of commands without being strict. E.g. when you always say: "Stop Max, don't scratch...", "Stop Max, don't eat...", "Stop Max, don't jump..." after a while Max will think that his name is "Stop Max" even if you trained him before to stop when you give the command "Stop." And you can't prevent this confusion by using a name with more syllables or ending with a vowel. Because the cat does not care it it is named "No Max" or "No Maxi".

Because names are like commands for pets, I would suggest that it does not matter, how many syllables a name has and if it ends with a vowel or not.

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