With a population of over 15 million, France is among the countries in Europe with the largest number of chats (cats). A furry feline is by far the most common pet you’ll find in French homes, and breeds such as the Maine Coon, Ragdoll and Bengal regularly feature among the most popular. So, if you’re moving to France and want to blend in with the locals, you may consider getting a cat. Better yet, you may consider giving that cat a proper French name.
Famous French people, food or physical features: You can find inspiration from just about anywhere when it comes to picking the perfect French name for your new feline friend. To help you along, we’ve gathered a few rules you need to be aware of — plus several suggestions for cat names in French.
How to choose names for cats in French
Before you start considering your options, you should know the rules the French usually follow when picking cat names.
Following the same process they use to choose the names of dogs, the French use the year of a cat’s birth to determine the first letter of its name. For instance, the year 2025 has been allocated the letter A, the year 2026 the letter B, the year 2027 the letter C and so on.
The aim is to streamline the Livre Officiel des Origines Félines (Official Book of Feline Origins), also known by the acronym LOOF. This book records basic information about all registered cats, such as their name, breed and genealogy. The system of one letter per year makes for better bookkeeping.
Certain letters that are not so commonly used in French have been put together with the letter that comes before them in the French alphabet. For instance, in 2024, the letters W, X, Y and Z stand alongside the letter V. This way, cat owners have more options to choose from.
5 French names for female cats
Coco Chanel is one of the most iconic French designers, renowned not only for the elegance of her style but also for revolutionizing women’s clothing. She was a free-spirited woman with a strong character, so it’s no surprise that her name is often chosen for such independent animals as cats.
This type of sweetened whipped cream is a staple of several French pastries and cakes. But unless you have a fully white cat, you probably won’t choose Chantilly as its sweet name. If you wonder why Chantilly is a more popular name for female cats than for male cats, it may well be because crème (cream) is a feminine word in French.
No, you don’t need to own a blue-blood cat to call it Duchesse. But it’s the perfect name if your new feline friend looks like it belongs to French nobility. It also works if you love Les Aristochats. The French title of the Disney classic The Aristocats plays on the same pun, combining the words aristocrates (aristocrats) and chats (cats).
In French, noisette means hazelnut. So, this name is often used for cats with light brown fur. As with Chantilly, it goes better with female cats because noisette is a feminine word in French.
This name is a variation of the word satin. The soft and silky fabric is a perfect image to describe any cat with a soft and silky coat. But since satin is a masculine word in French, it doesn’t quite work for female cats. So, following the French grammar rule for the feminine form of adjectives, an extra –e is added to the end of the word.
5 French names for male cats
From château (castle) to chat (cat)… You may already know the city of Amboise for its famous Loire Valley castle. But you may not be aware that Amboise is also a French male first name that can be used for male cats.
In French, fripon is a colloquial noun and adjective describing somebody — particularly a young boy — who is mischievous and naughty. So it’s a perfect fit if your cat demonstrates a playful streak from the minute you welcome it into your home.
Physical features, such as an unusually long mustache, can be a good source of inspiration when christening your cat. So, it’s not hard to see why Moustache is such a common name among French male cats. But it’s a little more difficult to understand why une moustache (a mustache) is a feminine word in French, as is une barbe (a beard)…
Does the task of picking a good name for your cat trigger a full-blown existential crisis?? Then you may want to consider Sartre, the last name of one of the most famous French philosophers of all time.
Tigrou, which comes from the word tigre (tiger), is the French name of Tigger, one of the main characters from the Winnie-the-Pooh series of books. It’s a particularly good fit if your cat has tabby fur.
Take your pick with these 10 purr-fect French names
The 10 French cat names in our list take their inspiration from everywhere — from famous people and characters to aristocratic titles, food and fabrics. Beyond simply sounding nice, they may actually reflect the character or physical features of your feline friend, be it a female or a male cat.