Name Nora’s Cat! A Contest

Happy New Year! As promised, it’s time for this blog’s first (and perhaps only) cat-naming contest!

Onslow, clearly thinking very hard about this contest

Onslow, clearly thinking very hard about this contest

Here’s the background: one of my heroines in my novel in progress, Nora, is known to have had a cat. We don’t know anything else about the cat, including its name. So I thought for a little fun, I would let my readers have a contest to name the cat. The rules are simple: leave your cat name in a comment or if you prefer, e-mail me privately at mail at susanhigginbotham dot com. You have until January 15 to enter, after which an impartial panel, consisting of my husband and my daughter, will choose the name from an anonymous list I submit to them. The winner gets a mention in the acknowledgments of my novel (working title, The Assassin’s Kiss), a signed copy of the novel, and, of course, his  or her choice of name being used in the novel itself. (As I’m still in the early stages of writing, the winner’s gratification will be delayed, but I hope it’ll be worth it.)

A few guidelines:

  1. The cat can be either female or male, depending on the name.
  2. No description of the cat’s appearance exists, so this too can be tailored to the name.
  3. My heroine is a 19-year-old Irish-American Catholic, well educated at Catholic girls’ schools and gently reared.
  4. My heroine is fond of novels, especially those of Charlotte Brontë.
  5. The cat will make its appearance sometime in 1864.
  6. The novel is set in Washington, D.C.
  7. Most of my heroine’s friends and acquaintances sympathize with the South, but it would be inconvenient for the plot for Nora to have a cat with a blatantly pro-Confederate name (e.g., “Stonewall.”)

That’s it!  Rest assured that Onslow and Stripes, as well as our dogs, will be cheering you on from the futon.

Stripes, devotedly holding down a box top.

Stripes, devotedly holding down a box top.

Update: In order to give everyone a fair shake, I will not publish comments until after the contest is over. If the winning name is a duplicate (that is, suggested by several entrants), all will get acknowledgments and books.

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37 Responses to Name Nora’s Cat! A Contest

  1. Nicky Moxey says:

    Gertie – or more formally, Gertrude; after the patron saint of cats (and dogs, and those with mental illness…).

  2. Cyndi Williamson says:


  3. Kris Milashus says:

    My daughter’s suggestion is “Meowser”. I would go with Clementine, Jane or Shirley 😉 Fun!

  4. Currer Bell -after Charlotte Bronte’s pen name

  5. Margaret Michaels says:

    I like the name “Mrs. Fairfax’ for an older, female cat. Or perhaps St. John Rivers for a black cat, with white on the chest, and white paws ( looking like a minister).

    Would love the name Lady Blanche for a white cat, but don’t know if Nora would go that far.

  6. My son ‘s cat is called Salem…so I’ll suggest that, he is a black cat, who loves cheese …. and thought the name would be a bit of a contradiction to a gently reared Catholic girl

  7. Anne Tudor says:

    Would love you to name Nora’s cat Lily Hart a nod to one of Charlotte Bronte’s early works

  8. Sam fisher says:

    Car’s Name: Mrs Bennett

  9. Nita Pitts says:

    Two possibles.
    1. Branwell
    2. Currer Bell (or Belle if a female)

  10. Evelyn Dangerfield says:

    I’m sure I will not be the only one, but what about Rochester or Mr Rochester? He could be a wild cat she found who is partially sighted and only responds to her, she is the only one who can calm him.

    Or Pius for the Pope at the time?

  11. Scout ( cat name) boy or girl .

  12. Heather McElyea says:

    How about Snowe after Lucy Snowe from Charlotte Brontë’s novel Vilette?
    Lucy seems like a strong character which would go along with many of your characters and Snowe sounds like a great name for a cat to me. (Not as good as our own kitten’s name of Luna which has turned out to be short for Lunatic!)

  13. Marsha says:

    What a fantastic contest. My pick is Wellesley and it would be a boy cat. This was one of Charlotte Bronte’s pen names.

  14. I knew a cat called ‘cooking fat’. As in ‘where’s that cooking fat?’ But what about ‘Heathcliff’.

  15. Dassa Roche says:

    My idea was a tabby cat called Nancy .. About five years of age . Many Thanks , Dassa ( Liverpool , UK )

  16. Jacqueline Baird says:

    Call the cat Drusilla! Drusilla is an English female given name derived ultimately from the Roman Drusus, in turn from the Greek drosos (dew). It has the meaning “fruitful” or “dewy-eyed”.

  17. Mikki says:

    if cat is black and white – Oreo or Cookie – for a name

  18. Katy says:

    You could name Nora’s cat Cecelia, after Saint Cecelia. For some reason it seems like a good cat name >^•_•^<

  19. Jessica Janson says:


  20. Maria says:

    I like Jessapina as a cat name = Verdi’s 2nd wife’s name

  21. J McCormick says:

    Cushla, pronounced Coo-sh-la…….an old (Irish) Gaelic term of endearment, male or female, often used with children…..similar to usage of terms such as ‘A Gra’ (my love) and ‘A Leanbh’ (pronounced A Lanna), meaning my child. 🙂

  22. cathy says:

    I pick Kendra, and of course she’s a brown tabby 🙂

  23. Denise Duvall says:

    I like the name “Winter” for a white cat.

  24. Sonetka says:

    I propose Miss Griselda Grantly (Griselda for short). If Nora reads novels, I’m sure she’s encountered Trollope as well as Bronte, and Miss Grantly is described as being very beautiful but “impassive … and inclined to show but little of her feeling.” It would be a good name for a good-looking but standoffish cat — and make it all the more surprising when the cat decides to leap onto Nora’s visitor!

  25. Fran says:


  26. Fran says:


  27. Cat says:

    Cat name possibilities:

  28. Patricia Crow says:

    Michelle (since Washington D.C is in the novel) The name of our current first lady.

  29. Linda Moffitt says:

    I think Nora’s cat is a gray cat. If it is a female, her name is Lady Grey. If it is a male, then he is called Earl Grey.

  30. Grace Elliot says:

    The name ‘Bernadette’ springs to mind – perhaps because of the Irish connection. The name could affectionately be shortened to ‘Bernie’.

    Love, love, love, naming cats – perhaps that’s why I have 5 ‘real’ ones at home – Wallace, Gromit, Pilchard, Widget and Noni.

  31. Lisa says:

    Maybe it has already been suggested, but what about Brunty? This incorporates both Charlotte Brontë and the fact that the heroine is Irish-American, as Patrick Brontë was Irish and this would have been the original Irish spelling of the name. Also I think it’s a cute name for a cat, probably a temperamental tom cat.

  32. Mary R says:

    I like Brocklehurst for a cat, especially if it’s not an altogether nice kitty.

  33. Susan Permut says:

    Name for Nora’s cat: Tabitha

  34. Julia says:

    I just keep coming back to Rochester. And, I think it would a black cat with just a spot of white on his neck, where a gentleman’s cravat would tied. Of course he is a gentleman cat.