Literary names are great. But unfortunately, very few of us would want to inflict a name like "Gatsby" or "Pip" or "Mr. Mistoffelees" on another human being. That's why pets exist! With a dog, cat, or tarantula, you can easily get away with pet names from literature that you wouldn't feel comfortable shouting across a playground. So here are some of the best pet names from books (pet names as in names for your pet... although you're also welcome to call your significant other by any of these names, it's your life).
Pets are a staple of the fictional world. And I don't just mean the seemingly endless ocean of books about boys and their dogs. Where would we be without Harry Potter's Hedwig? Or The Fellowship of the Ring's Bill the Pony? A Song of Ice and Fire just wouldn't be the same without all of those wolves and dragons running around, adding to the body count. And then of course we have the literary cats, from the Cheshire Cat to Aslan the lion to the Cat in the Hat.
So if you want your pet to have a name that screams "my owner is a well-read person" (or, at least, subtly implies it), here are a few literary pet names to consider:
1. Mrs. Norris from the Harry Potter series
Crookshanks, Fang, Hedwig, and Buckbeak are all probably more pleasant animals than Mrs. Norris. But if you want a Harry Potter cat name that's not too obvious, Mrs. Norris is an easy front runner. Baby Norbert is also a solid choice for any reptilian friends.
2. Pickwick from The Pickwick Papers
"Pickwick" comes from Charles Dickens' first novel, The Pickwick Papers. But it also happens to be the name of the beloved pet dodo bird from the Thursday Next series (which takes place in a parallel universe in which dodos have been resurrected, of course), and it's pretty darn adorable.
3. Falkor from The Neverending Story
Falkor is the Luck Dragon from The Neverending Story, but the name works for any dog, cat, or ferret from the real world, too. Because let's face it: Falkor is a pretty much a giant ferret who can fly and dispense wisdom.
4. Gatsby from The Great Gatsby
Gatsby isn't strictly a pet name—but I'd advise against giving it to any humans. I'd also advise against changing it to "Catsby," despite the temptation. Either way, it's a cute, retro choice for a pet who enjoys the finer things in life.
5. Bilbo from The Hobbit
Again, not a pet name, but hobbits aren't quite human either. Bilbo is a little too cutesy for a real baby, but just perfect for an anxious puppy with a big appetite and hairy feet.
6. Argos from The Odyssey
Argos is Odysseus' dog in The Odyssey. You know, the one who waits for him for ten years, recognizes him and then dies? Yeah, it's fairly tragic, but it's a classic name for a fanatically faithful furry friend.
7. Mogget from The Abhorsen Trilogy
Mogget, the little white cat from Garth Nix's Abhorsen Trilogy, might actually be an ancient being of unspeakable power, but he's cuter as a cat. He also has an appropriately catty attitude, despite the precious name.
8. Lad from Lad, a Dog
For an old school dog name that's not Lassie, there's always Lad. And yes, he's also a collie. There's something about collies that demands a simple name, I guess.
9. Flicka from My Friend Flicka
"Flicka" means little girl, but it's best known as the name of the wild horse from My Friend Flicka. It makes a sweet name for any species, though. You can even name a male animal Flicka if you like, because animals have a very fuzzy concept of both names and gender.
10. Dodger from Oliver Twist
The Artful Dodger is one of the many shady characters from Dickens' Oliver Twist (but fun shady... not beat your girlfriend to death shady like some of the other characters). The Artful Dodger is a master pickpocket, so "Dodger" is a perfect name for a scrappy, streetwise dog.
11. Drogon from A Song of Ice and Fire series
Drogon is the problem child of Daenerys Targaryen's three dragons from A Song of Ice and Fire. He doesn't always listen to his mother. But Drogon is also the fiercest and most powerful of the dragons (he is named after Khal Drogo, after all). So Drogon is a great name for any pet lizards out there who need a little exta oomph.
12. Dinah from Alice's Adventures in Wonderful
The Cheshire Cat is the most talked about feline from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but "the Cheshire Cat" is a mouthful of a name. Why not go with Dinah, Alice's pet cat from the start of the book? Sure, Dinah is just an ordinary cat who obeys the laws of physics, but her name is still cute and plenty whimsical.
Images: Warner Bros., Giphy (11), John Flaxman/Wikipedia Commons