Can You Rename a Cat After Adoption?

Adopting a cat requires a special kind of heart to take them out of their past and bring them a good future in your home, but you think twice of renaming your cat after adoption. Is it a good decision?

Renaming a cat who responds to its old name will cause confusion for a while but the cat will learn to associate the new name to himself with good training and positive reinforcement.

It will take patience and many hours to train your cat to a new name. So, for this article, we’re going to know more about renaming cats and how you can do it with toys and tips.

Is It Okay to Rename Your Cat?

This scenario is common for cats that are adopted into new forever homes. You as the owner or yet-to-be one would want to be more personal with your new friend especially if they came from an abusive or neglectful care. Sometimes, they don’t even have a name.

Renaming your cat or even giving them their first name gives your cat an identity. It prompts them to be reminded of you as their new owner and that they are in a better care.

Dr. Kersti Seksel, an animal behavior specialist, told ABC Radio Melbourne‘s Jacinta Parsons and Sami Shah that changing your pet’s name is not going to cause it to have an identity crisis.

Can You Change a Cat’s Name at 6 Months Old?

At 6 months old, your cat is still a kitten. They are very curious at this stage and will learn to pick up habits more quickly.

They will be a handful as they will unleash their energy full time. Don’t expect the kitten to pick up on the name quickly. Be patient and give rewards when it’s earned.

Read: Say Goodbye to Cat Allergies: 5 Natural Remedies for Relief

Do Cats Get Confused If You Change their Name?

Cats are smart animals and they will know that there’s a change in the way you say their name and how it sounds. This will confuse them for a while.

Something you should consider is that cats don’t have the ability to interpret words but they can understand that you are talking to them using their name much like how we know that they use certain “meows” to ask for something.

If they used to be called Molly by their previous owner with a high-pitched voice, most likely they will respond to you if you do it with a different name. Still, they will be confused but the pitch of voice is very familiar to them.

In this video, Japanese researchers try to confirm if cats know their names and concluded that cats can separate their names from random sounds that are close to it. Jump to 0:08 to start immediately.

How Late Can You Change a Cat’s Name?

Kittens aged 1 to 6 months easily learn their name, and cats older than that can still adopt a new name with training and positive associations to it. Older cats will be more confused but can eventually respond to a new name.

Senior cats over the age of 10 that have a hard time hearing and have cognitive dysfunction will be challenged with this change as they themselves are going through mental and physical adjustments. It is best to change a cat’s name while they are still healthy in mind and body.

Read: The Unique Personality of the Bengal Cat: Do They Only Attach To One Person?

Should You Change Your Adopted Cat’s Name?

When you plan of changing your adopted cat’s name, it is advisable to gradually change their name. For a cat named Lily and you want it changed to Jane, add it next to their old name: “Lily-Jane”. When they get used to their new name, you can start erasing the old one until they’re comfortable.

Is it easy for a cat to transition to a new name? There are more factors that play into it such as age and cognitive health.

Pet Adoption Statistics found that in 2020, Americans adopted 1.1 million cats and 50.4% of them were kittens up to 5 months old. You are more likely to adopt a kitten, and this will be easier to rename them while older cats will require more efforts, time, and patience to give them a new identity.

Read: Comparing the Asian Leopard Cat and the Ocelot: Which Is Right for You?

How Do I Introduce My Cat to a New Name?

When talking to them, make sure to call them by their new name in a calm and approachable voice. Upon approach, give them treats, pet them, or play with them while repeating the intended name.

Do this several times throughout the day until you notice that they start to perk up more when called. Don’t raise your voice or appear physically intimidating when she makes mistakes, otherwise she will associate the new name to those acts.

How to Get My Cat to Get Used to Her New Name?

To further teach your cat that it has a new name, you should start with a treat. Approach your cat within an arm’s away and call it by the new name. Give them treats whenever they approach.

Repeat this until your cat comes willingly. Then, add more distance between you and your cat. Keep up with this routine for two weeks. When you call them by the new name and they perk up or turn their head to you, you know you’re getting there or have succeeded.

Read: The Fascinating Similarities and Differences Between Asian Leopard Cats and Bengal Cats

How Long Does It Take for a Cat to Adjust to a New Name?

It usually takes a few weeks for cats to adjust to changes. When moving to a new home, it takes around two weeks for them to get used to it.

When it comes to names, it takes just as long as two weeks if not longer. For younger cats aged 2 years and below, they should have a shorter time adjusting to the new name. Older cats will take a longer time to associate with the change.

Can a Cat Learn Two Names?

Pet owner call their pets several nicknames throughout the day and cat owners aren’t any different. It shouldn’t be a surprise when Kitty Purry responds the same to Kitty Purrs or Kitty. You might be doing it too, you just don’t know it.

Most of the time cat owners call their felines affectionate nicknames when giving them food or wanting to spend time with them. The cat responds to the name and is rewarded by the owner, whether intentionally done or not.

Read: The Importance of Identifying the Cause of Your Bengal Cat’s Crying


Loving owners wanting a personal relationship with their newly adopted cat will expectedly want to rename it. Cats younger than two years will have an easier time learning and older cats will understandably be a bit more stubborn with the changes.

Set up a routine and slowly introduce the new name. Don’t be hasty. After adoption, your cat will adjust comfortably in your home with a new name within a few weeks as long as you put work into it.