by Ewa Nowogorski
When speaking of pet names, what common names can you think of for cats and dogs in your country? In America, “Lucky”, “Bella”, and “Max” are some of the most common and classic. These are names that you can just as easily give to people as well. They are endearing names that seal the pets’ status as a true family member, and not just an accessory. The reasons why these particular names are so popular is not entirely clear, although there are ideas that the names are reflections of beloved movie/book characters. For example, “Bella” is the name of one of the characters from the Twilight series, and it means “beautiful”, so it most likely became a popular name because of this background.
In Japan, the most common name given to dogs is ”Coco” and “Leo”, and for cats, it’s ”Maru”. These are names that are not given to people, and usually they are chosen for their cute sounds or because they represent/reflect something cute. For example, “Maru” means “round” in Japanese, and may be given to cats because they are chubby or have round faces. Pets are not usually given human names because pets are usually seen as sub-human, and while they are most certainly treated as family and sometimes treated even better than human children by their parents, pets are seen as distinctly different from people. Their names are also usually spelled out in katakana.