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2021 Pet Names

How We Named Our Pets During the Pandemic (2021)

9/14/2021Başak Tamay

Pets have been our loyal companions for many years. They’re comforting, loving friends which keep us from loneliness. And with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been lonelier than ever which increased the interest in adopting pets. According to Google trends, searches for cat adoption have increased by more than double in the end of March 2020, and have been more popular compared to the times before the pandemic ever since. The interest in adopting dogs has increased from the beginning of the pandemic and until the end of summer 2021. Whether it’s a cat or a dog, since the beginning of the pandemic more and more people welcomed pets into their lives.

Because of the pandemic, we spend most of our time in our homes now and we can spend most of our time caring for our pets. However, we shouldn’t forget that our friends will be around after the pandemic too, and we have to take care of them when the world turns back to normal too. This is why the naming of our pets is an important decision too. The internet searches for the perfect pet name has been increasing together with the searches for pet adoption. I’ve analysed what people chose to name their new pets in 2021 and the possible reasons behind it.

In 2021, more cats have pre-names that can be considered aristocratic. Especially on social media, I encountered many cats which have Mr., Miss., and even Princess and Queen in their names. It seems that as the time we spent in our homes increased, we chose to give our time and attention to our pets, treating them like royalty.

A research done by the UK company Yappy has some interesting results, in 2021 people naming their pets after political figures has increased significantly. Many people named their pets Boris, after the prime minister of the United Kingdom; Donald, the previous president of the United States and Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor in the United States. This might be because we looked at the news more frequently during the pandemic, we were curious about the COVID-19 cases, restrictions and vaccines; which turned checking the news into a frequent habit for most of us.

There has also been an increase in the number and variety of pets named after foods and drinks this year. Tabby kittens were named Mango, Pumpkin or Orange, tuxedo kittens

were named Whiskey or Oreo, white cats Mochi and Cream. Names like KitKat, Wasabi and Bean were popular too. It seems that naming pets after foods was popular amongst new owners since they can be connected with not only the physical appearance or the likes of the owner, but also the characteristics of the pet, which owners had more time to observe during the lockdowns. Lots of puppies were named after comfort foods like Nugget, Big Mac, Waffles, Whopper, Cookie, Costa, Coffee and Mocha. And surprisingly, the usage of some more child-like names like Rainbow and Bubbles for dogs increased this year. This might be because many new dog owners may have let their children name their furry friends. But the quirkiest pandemic puppy name I heard is Zoom, which was given 75% more in 2021 than other years.

Despite the drastic changes in our everyday lives, the top names for dogs and cats have not changed much compared to previous years. According to Trupanion, the list for dogs consists of classic names like Luna, Charlie, Cooper, Bella, Milo, Lucy, Bailey, Daisy, Coco, Max. The list for the most popular cat names includes Bella, Max, Oliver, Charlie, Lucy, Chloe, Shadow, Lily, Jack, Simba and Nala. Perhaps most owners were aware that they were adopting lifelong friends and decided to go for more traditional, even human names. The popularity of the puppy name Charlie has been increasing in the past few years. I think that this might be because more families adopted dogs, the adults in the family might have opted for a classic name and the children might have been okay with it, with the rising popularity of the teenage social media star Charli D'amelio. The cat names Simba and Nala made it back into the list in 2020 and hasn’t lost its popularity in 2021 too, and I believe that this is because of the interest in the new animated version of Disney’s Lion King which was released in late 2019.

The pandemic has changed our lives completely, it even changed the way we care for our pets and how we name them. This year, we were able to see the patterns of how people name their pets and understand the reasons behind them very clearly. Whether it’s common or unique, every pet deserves a name that’s well thought out since they’ll carry it and respond to it for the rest of their lives.