18

Since the definition of cat falls under the name Felidae I will specify my question to the domesticated cat (Felis catus).

These days almost all domesticated cats have a name given to them by their owner/fellow being. Since my last question was about the oldest dog name and got a very well referenced and written answer, I wondered what might the oldest known cat name be? I am specifically looking for domesticated cat pet names. Theophoric names would also be acceptable though.

Wikipedia notes that

Cats were first domesticated in the Near East around 7500 BC. It was long thought that cat domestication was initiated in Ancient Egypt, as since around 3100 BC veneration was given to cats in ancient Egypt

Cat worship is made most famous by ancient Egypt, for instance pictured below is the Sarcophagus of Prince Thutmose's cat, exhibited in the Museum of Fine Arts of Valenciennes, France

Sarcophagus of Prince Thutmose's cat by Madam Rafaèle

  • 1
    Most likely the recording of such a thing would have to wait until phonetic writing systems were first created (1600BC or so). – T.E.D. Jul 6 at 16:35
  • 1
    Ah, my bad. One of the things I seem to like to conveniently forget is that there is usually some phonemic component to pictographic writing systems. – T.E.D. Jul 6 at 16:48
  • 2
    I assume you're looking for the names of domesticated cats as pets, rather than - for example - the First Dynasty Egyptian feline / cat-headed goddess, Mafdet? – sempaiscuba Jul 6 at 17:30
  • 1
    This also prompts the question, "What is the oldest representation of an animal wearing a Snoopy scarf?" sarakayhartmann.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/snoopy-scarf.jpg – chasly - supports Monica Jul 8 at 10:29
  • 1
    @chaslyfromUK I think we might be looking at it. – Sebastian Lenartowicz Jul 8 at 13:40
28

The Guinness Book of World Records says:

The first known cat with a name was called Nedjem meaning 'sweet' or 'pleasant' and dates from the reign of Thutmose III (1479-1425 BC).

This is also mentioned in the book The Cat in Ancient Egypt, which adds that Nedjem was found in the tomb of a nobleman named Puimre and that unlike dogs, naming cats in ancient Egypt was uncommon.

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    This answer would be better with a picture. – Robert Columbia Jul 7 at 10:33
  • 11
    If you can find one that is actually relevant let us know. – Brian Z Jul 7 at 10:52
  • 13
    @Paul: That meme wouldn't really add anything. The overlaid text is less informative than the quote in this answer, and the cat picture chosen for the meme is (really unsurprisingly) a totally different cat – it's the Gayer-Anderson cat, which is about 1,000 years younger than the first mention of a named cat in Egypt texts. – Schmuddi Jul 7 at 15:43
  • 5
    With a name like that, it must have been a different species than modern cats. :) – Barmar Jul 7 at 17:33
  • 1
    @RobertColumbia What, like a selfie with the cat? 🤣 – Asteroids With Wings Jul 7 at 22:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.