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Make your cat’s ears twitch and prompt a curious nyan (meow!) with one of these clever names.

By Tracey L. Kelley
March 12, 2021
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Top Japanese cat names with meanings are rather easy to come by, because if you could relive your existence as a cat, the 'Land of the Rising Sun' is the place to be! Japan has numerous neko-shima (cat islands). These dedicated locations have few people but large cat colonies. According to All About Japan, many of the cats were raised by resident fishermen or brought into an area to help control rodent populations around silkworm operations. The humans who remain are ardent caretakers of the free-roaming felines.

Another reason to come back as a cat in Japan are all the neko kafe (cat cafes!) The first reported cat cafe opened in Taiwan in 1998, but Mental Floss states they "really took off when they made their way to Japan." In Nippon (the Japanese name for the country), many rental residents have pet restrictions, so cat cafes give them a chance to socialize and even work among friendly kitties.

Two of the most popular Japanese cat breeds are the Kurilian bobtail, who hails from neighboring Russia; and the Japanese bobtail. Both have—you guessed it!—adorable bobbed-tails, which make their fuzzy bums look almost like rabbits! But even if you don't have one of these cuties, you can still honor your heritage by giving your new fluffball an appropriate Japanese cat name! Here are some aidea (ideas).

Popular Japanese Names for Cats

What's trendy? What's fun? Here are some top namae (names) that might be purrfect for your kitten or cat.

  • Nyan (meow)
  • Yoshi (good or good luck)
  • Haruki (spring child)
  • Kenzo (wise one)
  • Momo (peach)
  • Yuki (good fortune)
  • Fuwafuwa (fluffy)
  • Tadeo (loyal)
  • Yuuma (leisurely)
  • Adzuki (red bean)
  • Taro (eldest son or boy)
  • Sota (big or thick)
  • Fuku (lucky)

Japanese Names for Cats With White Fur

Here are some creative ways to reference your yukidama (snowball) kitty inspired by everything from nature to food!

  • Yuki (snow)
  • Yukigafuru (snowy or full snow)
  • Shiroi or shiroi neko (white or white cat)
  • Raisupati (rice patty)
  • Kumo (cloud)
  • Ume no hana (plum blossom)
  • Shirasagi (white egret)
  • Mashumaro (marshmallow)
  • Shinju (pearl)
  • Kaiko (silkworm)
  • Hakahu (white crane)
  • Wata no kyū (cottonball)
  • Tofu (block of condensed soy milk)

Japanese Black Cat Names

To come up with a unique black cat name, let your mind wander. For example, if you respect ninjutsu (the art of the ninja) and your kitty is suterusu (stealthy), you're on to something! 

  • Kuro neko (black cat)
  • Hai (ashes)
  • Sumōkī (smoky)
  • Yami (dark)
  • Karasu (raven)
  • Daku (also dark)
  • Kage (shadow)
  • Kuromai (black rice)
  • Kazan (volcano)
  • Makkuro (inky)
  • Mayonaka (midnight)
  • Kyoho (dark grapes)
Portrait of Japanese Bobtail with yellow eyes
Credit: Vagengeym_Elena / Getty

Cutest Japanese Cat Names

The Japanese have a special term for something adorable, tiny, or lovable: kawaii. Merriam-Webster defines it as "the cute aesthetic—with its bold, nearly cartoon-like lines and rounded forms—informs a large segment of Japanese popular culture." You're probably most familiar with kawaii if you've seen characters such as Hello Kitty or Pusheen. Does your amai mafin (sweet muffin) fit this category? If so, one of these names might be a great fit!

  • Suitopi (sweet pea flower)
  • Mei (sprout)
  • Kirei (pretty)
  • Chisai tori (little bird)
  • Shuga (sugar) 
  • Maru (round)
  • Fuji (unique)
  • Chīsana (pocket-size)
  • Chiisai (small)
  • Kei (style)
  • Doki doki (excited)
  • Aiko (little love)
  • Koro (roly-poly)
  • Kichōna (precious) 
  • Akachan (baby)
  • Chibi (small child)
  • Chika (scattered flowers)

Female Japanese Cat Names

Your girl cat can be both fierce and beautiful! Call out a few of these monikers to see what makes her trill, "Yes? Me?"

  • Chiyo (thousand generations or world)
  • Akari (light)
  • Nakano (warrior)
  • Yua (binding love and affection)
  • Mio (beautiful)
  • Eiji (cheerful) 
  • Sara (vivid blossom)
  • Riki (strength)
  • Himari (light and love)
  • Bashira (joyful)
  • Hana (flower)
  • Makoto (true)
  • Danuja (a ruler)
  • Kiyo (pure)
  • Yamato (great harmony)
  • Haia (nimble)

Male Japanese Cat Names

Giving your special boy cat a Japanese name—or even a nickname!—that describes his spirit and personality is a terrific choice.

  • Tatsuki (honor)
  • Taeko (brave)
  • Hiroshi (generous)
  • Kimi (noble)
  • Hitoshi (even-tempered)
  • Akio (hero)
  • Katoro (small boy)
  • Senshi (warrior)
  • Toshiro (talented)
  • Tadaaki (faithful light)
  • Ichiro (first son)
  • Ryuu (dragon)
  • Masanori (model of justice)
  • Benjiro (enjoys peace)
  • Kento (happiness)
  • Shohei (respect)

Cat Names Borrowed from Famous Japanese Celebrities

Adorn your kitty with some extra pizzazz with a name from one of these social and mass media tarento (talents).  

  • Mokomichi (model, actor, and author)
  • Rola (the face of gyaru fashion)
  • Nozomi (singer and model)
  • Haruna (former pop idol, current Instagram influencer)
  • Takashi (filmmaker)
  • Naomi (comedian, celebrity impersonator, and actress)
  • Toma (TV and film actor)
  • Masami (TV, movie, and voice actress)

Nature-Inspired Japanese Names for Cats

An important aspect of Japanese culture is to "appreciate the presence of life in all aspects of nature," according to The University of Tokyo. Bond with your kitty and her beautiful surroundings with one of these names. 

  • Hotaru (firefly)
  • Sakura (cherry blossoms) 
  • Kawa (river)
  • Hoshi (star)
  • Yuri (lily)
  • Ohisama or Taiyou (sun)
  • Aito (sea or ocean)
  • Rina (jasmine)
  • Mori (forest)
  • Amaya (night rain)
  • Haru (sunlight)
  • Tsuki (moon)
  • Uchuu (the cosmos)
  • Cho or Chou (butterfly or butterflies)
  • Taki (waterfall)
  • Sora (sky)
  • Kuuki (air)
  • Rini (little bunny)
  • Daichi (from the earth)
  • Nami (wave)
  • Shino (bamboo stalk)

Unusual Japanese Cat Names

You know your kitty is unique. These options give you a chance to express her individuality. 

  • Kanaye (zealous one)
  • Toshiko (alert and valued child)
  • Ichika (gift)
  • Shiori (guide)
  • Kisho (one who knows his own mind)
  • Nen (deep hope)
  • Teru or Teruma (true illumination)
  • Tamako (precious stone)
  • Kaori (fragrant beautiful girl) 
  • Setsuko (temperate child)
  • Miami (smiling with truth)