Got a saintly dog (or a blessed cat?)

This is incredibly dorky but…that has rarely stopped me from making many of the choices I’ve made in life. So here goes: I was reading one of my perennial favorites, Sancta Nomina, and I got to wondering if anyone out there has ever polled the audience on how many Catholics out there use, ahem, magisterial monikers for their furry family members.

I’ll admit to having a cat named Pia, dubbed thusly after a somewhat traumatic pilgrimage to Italy including stops at many of Padre Pio’s notable locales.

I’ve also got friends with a dog named Newman – yes, for that Newman. And I recall meeting a plump, orange tabby named Bonaventure who was at the time in residence with the CFRs in the Bronx.

So, there are weirdos out there like me who name their pets after saints. I have a pocketful of rejected baby names, like Tiber, that were simply a bridge too far for Dave (pun intended), but might conceivably one day end up affixed to a creature without a rational soul as a sort of consolation prize.

What about you? Would you ever name a pet after a saint, or a saintly place? Do you have a dog you call Avila, and your neighbors don’t quite grasp the significance of it? Or do you think it’s completely bizarre?

Pia the long-suffering and resigned.


  • Therese

    We currently do not have any pets – but one of my good friends from college has a dog named Bosco, and I love it!

    However, we do name our cars after saints: Elizabeth Van Seton and Bernadette.

  • Christy

    Even though I have no pets at the moment, I would totally name my pet after a saint. I know 2 families with 1 dog each – one is named Bosco and the other family named their dog Bakhita. Go for it!

  • Kellie

    Oh, we totally do this. Our cat is named Benedict, and we call him Benny. A former cat was called Thomas Trapper, after Thomas Merton (full name Thomas Merton the Trappist Monk). We also used to have a cat named Junipero, shortened to Juno. And a black dog named Moses after Moses the Black, wisely shortened to Mosey. A guinea pig named Martha. Not all of our pets have been Saint names- some were already named before we got them- but a lot of them have been.

  • Morgan

    We have a yellow tabby named Nicodemus “Nico” Rex (yes, we – or I should say I…the husband supports my weirdness – do middle names too). His flea-ridden kitten self was saved from the street on Holy Saturday. And as his species and name suggests…he does do most of his busy work at night!

    • Lianna

      Oh wow! I named my cat (black) Niku, after the Greek version of Nicodemus. He only came out at night the first few nights I had him, and he’s also really skeptical about things–noises, new people, etc, as Nicodemus himself was skeptical about many things! I wondered if I was the only one who’d named an animal after him.

  • Bernadette

    No pets, but I remember my theology professor at college suggesting that Anathema would be a great name for a dog, because then you could tell it, “Anathema Sit.” This idea still strikes me as brilliant, but I don’t want a dog.

    • Molly R

      This. It’s brilliant. If we ever get a new pet, I will do my level best to convince my family to break out of the Narnia theme we are in (dogs named for characters in the series), just for this…

  • Katie

    I love this! I am not a pet person but have always thought what kind of Catholic~y name I could give a dog if I were to get one! I think I’d go with Barnabas who is one of my fave guys from Acts but could never in good conscience name a child that;)

    • Dana

      Love this. We named our chubby gray cat “Chester” after G.K. Chesterton, so not quite a saint but definitely along the same lines!

    • Amanda

      We don’t have any saintly pets now (7 saint name kids though lol) but we have 8 as-yet-unnamed chicks and now I need to do this.

  • Eryn

    Our cat’s birthday is June 29th (Feast of sts Peter and Paul), so we named her Petra. We like to make ourselves laugh by talking about throwing her a birthday party called “fancy feast” 🙂

  • Sarah

    You should ask Father Brian about this….he has interesting thoughts (along the line that pets even when beloved are beasts and beasts should be named for beasts, not saints).

  • Katie Tighe

    Our dog is named Louie after St. Louis who is the patron saint of in-laws. We live on the family farm quite close to my in-laws! Louie goes between our two houses.

  • Brooke

    We have two frenchies: one named Lucy, appropriately named as we got her on the Feast of St. Lucy, the other is named Sophia.

  • Colleen

    We had a dog named Neri because we got him on St. Philip Neri’s feast day… and we couldn’t name him Philip because our priest’s name was Fr. Philip. 😂

  • Catherine

    I don’t have children so I spent more time brainstorming for my dogs name than is probably typical, a pet may be the only thing I ever get to name! I actually used Sancta Nominas website for ideas – I ended up naming my dog Tali (a suggestion from her for a nickname to Talitha from Mark 5:41).

    My sister’s dog is Bosco 🤗

  • Zuza

    Maybe it is just cultural, but my mum, ages ago, used to say, that is not appropriate to use Saint’s names for animals. I have checked it on Polish catholic sites now and it is still an issue here. I have red a quote from the Cathehism that: “the name needs to be respected because of the dignity of the one, who bears it”.

    • Jenny Uebbing

      This is actually so fascinating to me that it’s Polish, specifically. Way back when our oldest was a baby, we were traveling in Assisi with him and met a table full of Polish Capuchin friars in a restaurant who were admiring the baby and asked for his name. When we told them it was “Joseph Kolbe” they looked taken aback, and one of them asked in a shocked voice “you took his family name?” We laughed and said yes, but…they didn’t! I wonder if names are held in higher esteem or something in Poland? Anyway, so fascinating! and I love *your* name.

  • Grace

    Not quite magisterium, but Golden Retriever named Abigail, Havanese named Ezekiel James, we call him Zeke, & a bird named Apollos.

  • Lisa

    Love this idea for if we ever get a dog (whose care I will 1000% be delegating to completely to the kids).
    Re: names- currently one of our neighbors has a dog named Evie and another neighbor a dog Heidi, which makes me feel a tad self conscious in our offspring naming abilities!

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