So, you’ve decided to get a cat or expand your kitty family. Regardless of whether you’ve chosen the pure breed or agreed on a moggy – now comes the hardest decision of them all – what Egyptian cat name will you call your new feline?
Egyptian cat names are a terrific option, as cats are almost synonymous with ancient Egypt. They feature quite prominently in art and writing going back thousands of years, so it’s clear they were highly thought of.
Thankfully, I have done some of the hard work for you, so you don’t have to sift through ancient documents to get a fitting and cute cat name. I have also reduced the number of potential Egyptian cat names based on sound criteria about what can make for a good cat name.
Plus, I’ll take you through some things to think about to help you decide which of those names is best for your new kitty.
The History of Egyptians and Cats
Ancient Egyptians worshiped many animals, from the ibis and cobra to the more common scarab beetle. Each animal (or insect) was valued for different reasons. Cats were thought of as a little higher than all of the others.
To them, cats were magical creatures that could bring them good luck, so they made sure to keep cats protected. Another reason for their pampering of their feline friends is that the goddess Bastet, the deity of protection and pleasure, shows up as a cat or a divine figure with a cat head.
If a cat had a royal owner, it would be dressed in gold jewelry and would be allowed to eat from its owner’s plate. Cats were often mummified and laid to rest with their owners. (My cat Alexei thinks the Egyptians were very intelligent and that we should be learning a lot from them!).
Type Egyptian Cat Breeds
You don’t need to have an Egyptian cat breed to give your pet an Egyptian name, but you do score extra points if they are one of these iconic breeds.
How can we talk about Egyptian cats and not mention the most well-known cat breed in the region? An Egyptian Mau is considered one of the oldest domesticated cat breeds and is possibly a descendant of the spotted African Wild Cat.
These hereditary characteristics can easily be seen in this breed’s light coat with black spots. But, you find them looking familiar for a different reason. These cats look very similar to the ones depicted in tombs and ancient ruins. Although there is no telling for certain, the evidence is quite damning.
They are considered quite long, strong, and muscular. They are also energetic and agile and can jump up to six feet in the air if needed — all necessary things in the wild for the best hunt. So, if you get this lively breed, ensure you have enough things to stimulate them.
Many people consider a Chausie one of the most dangerous cat breeds out there. This may have to do with their genetic makeup.
A Chausie has existed for thousands of years in Egypt, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. It is a breed mixed with domestic and non-domestic or jungle cats.
Even its name ‘Chausie’ is derived from the scientific name for ‘jungle cat.’ But rest assured that their bite isn’t so mighty. They are actually quite friendly and cuddly.
They are medium to large-sized cats with quite an athletic build. And, since their parent breed is a jungle cat, they’ll need a lot of exercise and entertainment, and they will also love being in and around water. This characteristic also makes them wonderful family and kid-friendly companions.
An Abyssinian is one of the best cat breeds out there, so much so that it was Cleopatra’s cat breed of choice — besides an Egyptian Mau.
You can recognize them by their short red-hued hair and alert, upright ears. They are one of the oldest domesticated cat breeds and resemble the ancient cats painted on ancient tombs and ruins.
They often carry a regal air about them, confirming their royal blood. However, today they are actually quite common in the United States, so you have a better chance of finding one and having their luck rubbing off on you.
An Abyssinian is a slender, athletic cat with big green, hazel, or gold eyes. They are very playful and affectionate, so that they would make wonderful family cats. But note that they can be pretty shy around strangers sometimes, so give them time to warm up to you to see their full cuddle potential.
Nile Valley Egyptian Cat
As the name suggests, this cat is definitely native to Egypt and the Middle East. This breed is part of the African wild cat breeds that inhabited the valley thousands of years ago. Even today, they are still considered a feral breed.
However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be domesticated, and many companies are currently making rescue efforts to protect this endangered breed. This is an interesting breed with few exclusive characteristics, as they can have short or long hair and come in various coat colors and patterns.
Egyptian Cat Names – Will My Cat Even Notice?
Sure, humans get excited about cat names – but does our kitty even know its name, let alone care? Research shows that domesticated cats do know and recognize their names.
The research was appropriately carried out by the University of Tokyo (home to many cat cafes which were actually used in this study) and was published in the well-reputed Nature Journal.
It had been well known that domesticated cats were more vocal than wild cats and that their owners’ moods and facial expressions influenced a domesticated cat’s behavior.
But considering that humans began domesticating cats about 9,500 years ago, it is about time a more in-depth study was done about whether our cats even knew their own names.
The study worked with 78 cats across single and multi-cat homes and in cat cafes. The study found that most cats can distinguish their names from similar-sounding words and other cat names.
The evidence was that the cats perked up when they heard their names and responded by moving their heads, meowing, and wiggling their ears.
This result was witnessed when both their owners and strangers used their names. And the results were similar in multi-cat households, where cats didn’t react to the names of other cats in their homes but did when their name was used.
Naming a cat gives it an individual identity and helps to build a relationship between the cat and its owner. And you can help your cat to learn its own name by avoiding using too many nicknames, mainly when they are younger.
Key Things to Think About When Giving Egyptian Names for Cats
Here are a few things to keep in mind before settling on a name for your kitten.
1. Your Cat’s Appearance
The color of your cat or its markings can help you make an appropriate name choice. Ebony is a great Egyptian cat name for a black cat.
However, if your cat is light and looks like a little lion, then maybe a name like Sekhmet (warrior lion goddess) or Mihos (the lion-headed son of Bastet, the Egyptian god of the cats).
Look at your kitty’s shape as well – are they sleek and slender or bigger and round? Pointy ears or flat back ears? Fluffy or sleek? Think about the concept of onomatopoeia. This is when a word looks like what it describes.
2. The Personality of Your Cat
An outstanding cat name may reflect your cat’s personality. This can be difficult with a new cat. Of course, you haven’t gotten to know them yet, and your cat may be very young, so its personality is still developing. Take a few days to observe your new kitty and see what it is like.
The Egyptians even had a goddess whose name translates to ‘she who scratches’ — Pakhet. But I am not sure you want to encourage this behavior in your kitty.
3. Your Cat’s Breed
If your cat is a Sphynx or an Egyptian Mau, it is particularly suited to an Egyptian name. This is because ‘Mau’ was actually the Egyptian word for cat. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to only giving your pet Cleopatra’s cat’s name just because they are an Egyptian breed.
Similarly, this doesn’t mean that you can only give your cat an Egyptian name if their breed’s origin is from this specific country. This decision is based on your own taste and wants. Remember, the naming process should be fun and unique to you.
4. Keep the Name Short
You will use your cat’s name an awful lot – so the fewer the syllables, the better. Also, this will be easier for your cat to absorb and remember. Plus, you will likely be introducing your cat to friends, family, vets, and others, so a shorter name is easier for everyone to understand and remember.
5. Don’t Choose a Name That Is Bigger Than Your Cat
If you call your kitty Tutankhamun, the odds are it will be a more prominent name than your cat. And it has far too many syllables for a name you are going to be using very regularly.
6. The Name Should Have Longevity
It may seem hilarious to give your cat a lengthy name when you first get it, but you may well tire of calling this name out and sharing it with others.
Osiris, the god of the underworld and the judge of the dead, could seem like a hilarious name when you first get your cat, but you may well tire of using it and explaining to others that whilst you love your kitty, you have given him a rather morbid name.
7. Be Nice
Again it may seem very amusing to name your cat Isis (which did mean motherhood in Egypt) in its early days. But does it feel right to be having some loving time with your kitty and saying the name Isis sweetly in light of its modern connotations?
And do you really want a cat named ‘Kiwu’, which means Obese?
8. Make Sure It Fits With Other Cats in Your Household
The key thing here is to choose a cat name that sounds less like the name of another cat in your household, as this may lead to confusion, e.g., Sven and Ben.
What if I Choose the Wrong Name?
I know I let you know that your cat does learn its name, but if you choose to change it after a few weeks, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
There is no evidence one way or the other as to what happens when a new owner changes the name of an older cat, e.g., if you were to get a rescue kitty who was already several years old. Try your name of choice, give it a few months to stick, and then decide from there.
How Did Some Famous Cats Get Their Names?
Names are important. Do you know how these popular cats got their names?
The Grumpy Cat only became The Grumpy Cat after an image of her frown went wild on social media. Her real name was Tartar Sauce.
The show Garfield was based on the cats that creator Jim Davis grew up around. It is also the inspiration for the Garfield breed.
The actual name and personality came from Jim Davis’ grandfather, James A Garfield Davis. Davis described his grandfather as “a large, cantankerous man.”
Choupette Lagerfeld was given to Karl Lagerfeld by French model Baptiste Giabiconi when the kitten was ten weeks old. Choupette is a common nickname in French for cute girls.
13 Best Egyptian Cat Names
Did you know that it is believed the Egyptians were the first to domesticate cats? And to embrace the kitty? Very wise in many ways, those Egyptians. As mentioned, cats frequently appeared in art and writings and were revered.
The Egyptians also prized cats as hunters. They were great at getting rid of mice and other vermin that roamed the homes of ancient Egyptians.
It is believed that Tivali was Queen Cleopatra’s favorite cat. The name is short and sharp and perfect for a beloved cat as it means ‘Gift of God.’ It could be used for a male or female cat.
My thought here is to shorten the name Cleopatra, which is more of a mouthful. And to give a nod to all things Egyptian.
This is another short and easy name to remember. It translates to ‘The Victorious’ in Arabic and could be male or female.
Short and easy to remember. Again could be male or female.
Tutankhamun is a great name but not something you want to say regularly. So, consider shortening it to ‘King Tut’ or simply just ‘Tut’ to make it easier. This is a short and sharp version that is more fun and manageable.
Giza is an area in Cairo and home to the Great Pyramids. It is also a cute short name for a kitty.
Obviously, this works best with a black cat :-). Unless you think you could find this funny for your white cat for 15+ years.
This name belonged to a 19th-century princess, so it’s perfect for a pampered female kitty.
This name sounds nice and sounds close to ‘tabby’ but with a bit more exotic flair. It means talented, so you can gauge for yourself whether your kitty would be a good fit for this meaning.
This name means ‘precious’, which is perfect for your favorite pussy cat. I also love how those Zs roll off the tongue.
A popular male name today in Egypt with an excellent rounded O beginning. It is also short and sharp.
Although this name is a very popular Egyptian name for boys, it actually has Slavic roots. Regardless of which language you consider it from, it means ‘peace’ or ‘world’.
Sometimes spelled ‘Sphinx’, this is a short and sweet name that can easily be associated with Egypt. And the monument set in the Giza desert is also a mythical creature with the body of a lion. And, what is a lion but just a big cat — so it’s destined to be.
Pronounced ‘Ko-sey’, this Egyptian name means ‘lion’. So, this name is best suited for cats with a big presence or breeds that look lion-like, like Maine Coons or Chausie.
More Egyptian Names to Choose From for Your Cat
As mentioned, a name is significant to your cat’s personality. So, here are a few more name options, whether you’re looking for black Egyptian cat names or names with a more regal ring to them.
Egyptian Black Cat Names
- Osiris – The god of the dead, often depicted with a black face.
- Kohl – The black eyeliner many Egyptians still use to this day.
- Onyx – A very black gemstone often used to ward off evil spirits.
- Keket – The goddess of night and darkness.
- Layla – An Arabic name meaning ‘night’ or ‘dark’.
- Apep – The god of chaos.
- Ebony – West African word that translates to ‘black’.
Egyptian Cat God Names
- Seth – The god of deserts and storms.
- Nefertum – A youthful god often depicted with a lotus flower.
- Mafdet – The goddess who slayed serpents and was portrayed as having the head of a wild cat.
- Sekhmet – The goddess of the sun, war, and healing. She is often portrayed as a lioness.
- Bastet – The goddess of cats and often depicted with a black cat’s head.
- Mihos – The lion-headed son of Bastet.
- Pakhet – The lioness goddess whose name translates to ‘she who scratches’.
Places in Egypt
- Cairo – Egypt’s capital city.
- Luxor – One of the most ancient Egyptian cities.
- Aswan – A city in Egypt known for its well-preserved archeological sites.
- Nile – This is Egypt’s famous river and the longest river in Africa.
- Giza – The third largest city in Egypt known for housing the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx.
- Sinai – A mountain renowned for its religious significance.
- Alexandria – The second largest city in Egypt, which translates to ‘defender of men’.
- Cleopatra – Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt (Cleopatra’s favorite cat was called Tivali).
- Nefertiti – Queen of the 18th Dynasty.
- Menes – Early Dynastic pharaoh.
- Pharaoh – Rulers of ancient Egypt and often looked at as the links between man and the gods.
- Ramses – Also known as ‘Ramses the Great’, was a pharaoh of the 19th dynasty.
- Tutankhamun – Perhaps one of the most well-known pharaohs, King Tut, translates to ‘living image of the Aten’.
Classic Egyptian Names and their Meanings – Females
- Femi – Love me.
- Halima – Gentle
- Jamila – Beauty
- Kissa – Sister of twins
- Mosi – Born first
- Neema – Born to wealthy parents
- Sagira – Little One
- Selma – Secure
- Tabia – Talented
- Tia – The name of a princess during the 19th century
- Thema – Queen
- Zahra – Flower
Popular Names in Egypt Today – Female
- Rana – A gender-neutral name meaning beautiful.
- Salma – Arabic name that means ‘peace’.
- Doha – Roundness
- Yasmin – Relating to a Jasmine flower.
- Amal – Hope
- Amirah – Princess or leader.
- Jana – Harvest
Classic Egyptian Names and Their Meanings – Males
- Adio – Righteous
- Azizi – Precious
- Darius – Pharoah name
- Husani – Handsome
- Oba – King
- Seb – God of the Earth
- Tarik – Name of a warrior
Popular Names in Egypt Today – Male
- Omar – Flourishing
- Mahmoud – Praiseworthy
- Mostafa – The chosen one.
- Karim – Noble, generous, or honorable.
- Youssef – Translates to ‘God increases.’
- Miro – Translates to ‘peace’ or ‘world’.
FAQs About Egyptian Cats and Their Names
Here are a few frequently asked questions that come along with Egyptian cats and their interesting names.
What Is the Egyptian Name for a Cat?
The ancient Egyptian word for cat was ‘mau’. However, in modern-day Egypt, most people speak Arabic. So, the modern Egyptian word for cat is now ‘qitt’, which sounds very similar to the English word.
What Were Cleopatra’s Cat Names?
It is believed that Cleopatra’s favorite cat was an Egyptian Mau named Tivali. There is also another story that claims she even had a cat named ‘Cleocatra’.
While there is no concrete evidence that Cleopatra had cats, it is possible that she may have had at least a few.
Who is the Most Famous Egyptian Cat?
The most famous Egyptian Cat is the feline goddess of Egypt, Bastet. This goddess symbolizes protection, good health, and pleasure and is often depicted as a woman with a cat head.
Did Egyptian Cats Have Names?
In Ancient Egypt, animals rarely had names, but since cats were seen as part of the family rather than pets, some cats did get pet-like names. One example is the brother of Pharaoh Akhenaten, Tuthmosis, who named his cats’ Little Friar’ and ‘Sweetie.’
Which Egyptian Names for Cats Caught Your Eye?
That concludes our very long list of Egypt cat names. Whether you’re looking for godly nicknames or standard everyday names for your feline, one of these names is sure to catch your attention.
Remember that giving your cat an appropriate name should be a stressful task. As long as you have found a name you like and wouldn’t mind repeating over and over, it shouldn’t be a problem.
However, hopefully, you won’t have to look very far for more Egyptian cat name options when (and if) you decide to go with something else.
If an Egyptian cat name isn’t right for your pet, how about a Grecian cat name instead?