It’s naming cats and dogs – Britain’s over 50s reveal their favourite pet names

Wednesday 20 August 2014

• 'Molly' most popular female name for both cats and dogs • 'Oscar' most popular name for tomcats, 'Max' most popular name for a male dog • Most unlucky name is 'Felix' for cats and 'Megan' for dogs.

It’s naming cats and dogs – Britain’s over 50s reveal their favourite pet names

It’s often said that we treat our beloved pets like humans – which is surely no exaggeration when you consider some of the names we give them. Indeed, latest ONS research shows that four of the most popular baby names also happens to be among those given to pets by the over 50s.

A Saga Pet Insurance poll* has revealed the top-10 names that Britain’s over 50s give to their cats and dogs – as well as a few of the more whacky names handed to smaller pets.

Nearly 10,000 Saga customers revealed that the favourite name for both cats and dogs is Molly, while Poppy is also a much-used ID. But that name is more popular with dog owners than cat fans. Other names revealed in the poll, include sausage for a rat, a guinea pig called Chaka Khan and a parrot named Asbo.

The most popular cat and dog names for pets owned by Britain's over 50s:

Further research* by Saga Pet Insurance highlights the most unlucky pet names you can give your cat or dog. After studying the 50 most-popular names of pets with a Saga policy, we ranked them by frequency of vet visits and amount of claims associated with that name over the past 12 months.

The top 10 most unlucky names for cats and dogs:

Records show that pets with these names have had an unusually high amount of claims/vet visits compared to other cats and dogs with a popular name. The figures show that dogs called Megan are three times as likely to have a pet visit as the average dog. While cats called Felix are almost twice as likely to have to see the vet as the average puss.

The poll of over 50s coincidentally chime with national ONS statistics*** for baby names released recently. These include four names that are in the top 10s for pets. Jack, Charlie, Oscar and Poppy were among the most popular names given to babies in England and Wales last year.

Almost two fifths of pet owners (38%) chose their pet’s name simply because it suited the pet, while nearly a fifth (17%) just liked the sound of it. 6% of those asked named their pet for sentimental reasons, while 3% picked the name in reference to a celebrity.  

Regionally, it seems that London is the city of cats, according to the poll. 71% of pet owners living in London have a feline friend, compared to 28% of pet owners who have a dog. The north east gives more paws for thought, as 57% of over 50s there say they own a dog.

Below are some of the unusual names that Britain’s over 50s have given their pets, according to the Saga Pet Insurance poll:

Whacky names

Roger Ramsden, chief executive, Saga Services, commented: “The huge variety of names revealed in the poll goes to show just how much Britain’s over 50s view their pets as one of the family. Just as we take our time over naming a child, it also seems we mull over a pet’s name to get it right and make sure it suits them.

“That care hints at how much pets mean to the over 50s, many of whom see their cat or dog as a loyal companion. That’s why it’s important to make sure your pet is properly covered, should he or she ever become unwell.”

Saga Pet Insurance offers up to £5,000 cover for vets fees per year, up to £2million of personal liability over for dogs and advertising and reward costs if people lose their pets.


Notes to editors

*Populus interviewed 9,944 Saga customers, all aged 50+, online between 12 and 19 June. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information see

**Saga Pet Insurance studied data from the past 12 months regarding customer claims. The top-50 most popular names of policyholders were ranked according trips to vet in the past year and amount paid for each claim.

***ONS August 2014

About Saga Pet Insurance

Saga Pet Insurance is designed exclusively for pet owners aged 50 and over. With our policies you won't need to worry about the unexpected vet bills as we provide up to £5,000 each year, depending on the level of cover you choose.

In addition to vet fees all of our policies also include the following as standard:

  • Up to £2 million third party liability cover for dogs
  • Up to £250 for advertising and reward costs to help reunite you with your pet should they become lost or stolen
  • Cover for unexpected vet fees, up to £5,000 depending on the level of cover you choose
  • Holiday cancellation expenses if you have to cancel your holiday due to your pet becoming ill
  • Advertising and reward costs if your pet becomes lost
  • Travel costs if your pet is referred to a specialist.

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