Fun Friday Question: Catholic names for pets

Happy feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe!! He will always be one of my very favorites, and I know so many of you feel the same way.

I’ve been charmed recently by the names I’ve heard on two new dogs: a friend of mine and her family recently got a dog they named Ignacio, because they loved the idea of calling it Nacho but wanted a faith connection (Nacho is a diminutive of Ignacio!), and Simcha Fisher and her family recently got a dog they named Santino, called Sonny (of course there’s The Godfather reference, but I also just love Santino [“little saint”], and Sonny is such a great nickname).

We don’t have any pets, but I’ve often thought that if we were to ever find ourselves the owners of a German shepherd, how could we not name it Benedict?? (Because Pope Emeritus Benedict is German! And the former shepherd of a worldwide flock!) And wouldn’t Ratzinger be great for a cat? (Gotta zing them rats!) Maybe Patrick as an ironic name for a pet snake? (Because of how St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland.) Then there’s the whole Dominican “hounds of heaven” line of thinking — St. Dominic’s mother had a dream “that a dog jumped from her womb holding a torch and set everything around them on fire,” and then St. Dominic was conceived. I love that the Dominicans have been known as the “hounds of heaven,” and how cool is it that Domini canes means “dogs/hounds of the Lord” in Latin, which sounds just like the Latin for the Dominican Order, Dominicanus?! Obviously, it’s completely necessary to get two dogs: a German shepherd named Benedict, and another dog named Dominic. Makes perfect sense to me!

I asked about pet names several years ago, in the wake of the death of my brother’s dog, and one of you commented that Gertrude would be great for a cat, since she (St. Gertrude of Nivelles) is the patron of cats. I’d never heard that before, but indeed it’s true!

What names-with-faith-connections have you used for or heard on pets that you think are particularly clever? Or what ideas do you have for future pets?

Have a great Friday!! Happy name day to all the little Maximilians and Kolbes!!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

 

13 thoughts on “Fun Friday Question: Catholic names for pets

  1. Love your Domini-canes idea!

    We are getting a puppy and here are some faith based names we’ve been considering:
    Bosco (After the Saint)
    Lucy (After the Saint)
    Benny (Benedict after the Pope)
    Grigio (was St. John Bosco’s dog)
    Petra (St. Peter)
    Reggie (for Regina/queen)
    Adorio or Gloria
    Maximilian (for the Saint who’s feast day is today, pray for us St. Kolbe)
    Theo (for Theotokos – our puppy is due tomorrow on the Assumption of Mary!)
    Doxy (for Orthodoxy- wouldn’t it be great for a dachshund?)

    That’s about it! There are also some pretty Latin and Italian words we’re considering that we like as a link to tradition! Hope this is helpful. Appreciate your article! Have a blessed weekend.

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  2. We named the stray cat we took in Gertrude, called Trudy after the saint.

    Later we found out it was a boy cat… how were we to know (he/she was fixed!)

    Kept the name Trudy!

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  3. I’ve always had extremely ambivalent feelings about giving pets’ names of saints, especially the obviously associated ones. On one hand it sounds so sweet and could be a strengthening of your faith connections, but on the other, I always have doubts about it because whenever I see a pet with an actual Christian name, I am reminded of my grandma who once told me that it’s very wrong to do so, that it’s a profanity because they’re saint names, people are christened with them and they absolutely shouldn’t be used on pets. And it’s not like my grandma is a fanatic or a very scrupulous person, though she is what some could call conservative or orthodox, and she also has studied theology so generally I tend to think she’s right in the matters of faith and consider her an authority.
    But perhaps this is a similar issue as with the blessing of animals (something I love very much) or praying for them, like for that they stay healthy etc. where some people who don’t understand it see humanisation of animals in such customs when in fact it doesn’t work like this and these are just great Franciscan traditions, though my grandma has nothing against these particular ones as far as I know.
    In any case, I personally rather try to be cautious with giving pets obviously Christian names.
    Still, I have a Russian blue cat named Misha, as it felt to me the only right name for him (I felt justified to use Misha because it’s not a saint’s name as such, there’s no actual saint Misha, and traditionally it doesn’t even function as a human name or even as a nickname here in Poland either). And Misha is of course a Russian diminutive of Michael for those who might not know.
    The funny thing in it is that Russian blues come from Arkhangelsk, and thus are called Archangelic cats, and before I even learned about this I often called Misha my guardian. It’s hard not to think about st. Michael Archangel when you put all those things together, isn’t it?! 🙂 But I figured it out quite some time after Misha has come into my life. It’s so cool as I love st. Michael Archangel a lot. So, I don’t know, perhaps my little Mishball is his favourite cat or something, haha.

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  4. Most of my pets have not had people names, but as a kid we had a cat named Sylvester. As a young adult I gave my cats old man names and had a Mortimer and a George.

    Of our current pets we have a rabbit named Pip which I would totally use as a nickname for a son named Philip.

    I quite like Jean-Louis or Louis-Philip but that is too much for a human for my husband, so maybe a future French bulldog?

    And if I ever have cats again I would use Myrtle & Gladys which I don’t think have saint connections.

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  5. My parents just got a golden retriever puppy and named her Edith Stein 😂 It’s one of my moms favorite saints and they decided they were getting the puppy on her feast day! We call her Edie. I also know a few dogs named Bosco which I’d definitely consider for a future dog.

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