Taking a close look at the list, today's top cat and dog names are more likely to sound like human names rather than traditional pet monikers. A few of the top 10 pet names even appear on the Social Security Administration's list of most common baby names. Isabella (Bella) is number four for girls, and Sophia ranks ninth on both the SSA's list and VPI's cat name list.
"The continuing popularity of Max is largely due to the fact that it is monosyllabic and simple for people and pets to remember, yet easy to distinguish from common commands," said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary officer for VPI. "Plus, it's a fitting name for an active, energetic pet."
There's a reasonable theory to support this new naming tendency. Pets are family, now more than ever before.
Consider these findings from a pet owner survey conducted by the American Animal Hospital Association; 93 percent of pet parents would risk their own life for a pet; 40 percent of pets sleep in our bed; and half of us carry a pet photo in our wallet!
"The prevalence of pets with human names clearly reflects the growing human-animal bond," added McConnell.
But not all pet parents run with the pack when it comes to choosing a nom de plume for pets. Ask them how they decided on a name, and you'll likely hear a special story.
When the Rotunda family from Parker Colorado arrived home with their new Golden-Doodle puppy last winter, three-year old Jett exclaimed, "Her name is Soupy".
"I thought he meant 'Snoopy', but he corrected me," recalls Jett's mom, Stephanie Rotunda, "We don't know where it came from but it stuck".
Sometimes it's cat names and dog names are inspired by the credo name-at-first-sight.
'Reina' means princess in Spanish. "It had to be her name," recalls Jennifer Almodovar of Tampa Florida. "The way she was sleeping when I first saw her--she looked like a little princess."
Other times, pets are named in honor of people we admire.
"Yogi got his name because of our love for baseball," beams Lanie Maes of Denver Colorado. "He's named after Yogi Berra and he's a pug, so he has a smooshed face just like Yogi Berra"!
Regardless of your motivation, remember that you're labeling cat or dog names need to last a lifetime. It's a good idea to be creative and thoughtful about the name you select.
Sniff out the following books to enhance your search for the perfect pet name.
"The Complete Book of Pet Names: An ASPCA Book" (Paperback), by George Greenfield
"The Big Book of Pet Names: More Than 10,000 Pet Names (Includes Celebrity Pet Names)" Paperback, by Eugene Boone
"The Best Pet Name Book Ever", by Wayne Bryant Eldridge (Paperback)
"Happy Hound: Develop a Great Relationship with Your Adopted Dog or Puppy", by Susan Daffron.