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A Dog Named "Cat"

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"I have a mouse named Gerbil and a gerbil named Mouse.
The night that I named them it was dark in the house."
Songdrops, "The Name of My Frog"

Uncreative pet owners (or similarly uncreative writers) often name their animal companion (or character) after its own species. Others try to get around this by naming the animal after something else related to their species. Then there are these people, who try to get creative by naming the animal after a completely different species, for example: a dog named Whale. Especially ironic ones might even name the animal after its natural enemy, predator or prey.

Due to its inherent dissonance, this trope is more likely to be found in comedic works than its sisters — usually accompanied by some Lampshade Hanging — although serious examples do exist. One common gag is a Bait-and-Switch scenario that subverts A Dog Named "Dog". For example, Alice tells Bob about her new pet Kitty, and Bob naturally assumes that it's a cat, only to later find out that Kitty is actually a parrot. Bonus points if the animal is actually far more dangerous than its name implies.

A subtrope to Non-Indicative Name, and may prompt a Who Names Their Kid "Dude"? remark from others. If the non-indicative name is a Species Surname, it might be due to an Interspecies Adoption or Interspecies Romance.

Compare Informed Species, where the animal doesn't resemble the species it's supposed to be.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Frosch from Fairy Tail is an Exceed (a talking cat) named after the German word for Frog. They originally believed that they were a frog, but when they found out they weren't, they cried for three days and started wearing a frog costume.
  • One Piece:
    • Iceberg has a pet mouse that he named Tyrannosaurus on a whim.
    • Kuzan has a giant pet penguin named Camel.
    • One member of the Super Spot-Billed Duck Squad is named Kentauros, Greek for Centaur.
    • Overlapping with A Pig Named "Porkchop", in One Piece Film: Gold, Kent Beef Jr. is accompanied by a bull named Pork.
  • Ranma ˝: Kodachi Kunō has a pet named Mr. Green Turtle (Midorigame in Japanese). It's actually a crocodile.

  • Stand-up comedian and ventriloquist David Strassman's character Ted E. Bare has a series of pets, such as a bird named Nemo, a fish named Birdie, and a cat named Horsey. He also has a stuffed monkey toy called Bunny.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • In Footrot Flats, the semi-feral cat Horse got his name from the first time Wal saw him and exclaimed "Cripes! He's as big as a horse!"

    Fan Works 
  • In The Black Sheep Dog Series, Walburga mentions that her grandfather used to breed dogs, and his favourite is named Magpie. Sirius's animagus form apparently resembles Magpie.
  • The Pokémon fanfic Eon Fable has a chapter where the protagonist, Dandelion the Jolteon, meets a Suicune named Samurott. When he asks her why she's called that, she responds by saying that he's not a dandelion either.
  • In The Sponge House chapter "Have You Seen This Frog?", Christopher owned a pet frog named Mr. Toadie, who he accidentally killed from overfeeding (or possibly feeding the wrong food). Apparently, Christopher thought Mr. Toadie was a toad.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In Alice, Girl from the Future, Alice's pet cat is called Mouse, because he is grey and was very tiny as a kitten.
  • Big Goof and Little Goof: Big Goof and Little Goof mistake a turtle for a dog and name him Doggie.
  • Catwalk has a rabbit named Mouse, so named because of his mousey brown fur.
  • A Certain Magical Index has one of the Misaka sisters finding a stray cat and naming it "dog" because she thinks it'd be funny.
    Misaka 10032: A cat named "dog". Heh heh heh.
  • In the Margaret Mahy book The Chewing Gum Mystery and Other Stories, one of the other stories involves a bird whose owner's nephew wants to name Fernando Eagle, despite the bird being a made-up species, not an eagle. Eventually, however, this name gets dropped in favour of Norton, since the aunt wanted to honour her dead cousin Norton.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: In Dog Days, Manny wants to name the new family dog after other animals, like "Zebra" ("Zeeb for short!"). Rodrick wants to name it "Turtle," though that's mostly because he wants to shorten it to "Turd." However, the dog's actual name ends up being "Sweetie."
  • The Dresden Files: In Blood Rites, Harry acquires a Chinese Foo dog which he names Mouse because of his quiet temperament, grey coloring, and small size. However, while the name was appropriate when he was a puppy, Mouse grows over the series into a massive shambling beast that comes up to Harry's waist (and Harry has an uncomfortable feeling that he may not have finished growing).
  • FUDGE: In Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Peter names his dog Turtle in memory of his turtle Dribble (who was swallowed alive by Fudge).
  • Geronimo Stilton: Bruce Hyena is not a hyena, he's a mouse.
  • Harry Potter: Downplayed. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Ron gets a new pet owl, whom his sister named Pigwidgeon. Ron dislikes the name but since the bird refuses to be renamed, Ron calls him "Pig" instead.
  • The titular character of Judy Moody has a cat named Mouse, in contrast to her brother's pet toad named Toady.
  • While most of the animal characters in The Jungle Book are named after their species names in Hindi, some exceptions fall under this trope instead, for example: the panther Bagheera (whose name actually meant tiger), and the tiger Shere Khan (meaning King Lion).
  • In The Land of Eternal Holidays by Anatoly Aleksin, there is an animal lovers' club whose owners name their pets (ordinary cats and dogs) after large carnivores. The main character calls his dachshund Lynx.
  • The children's book "Let's Get a Pup!", said Kate has a mention of a now-dead housecat named Tiger.
  • Mouse and Dragon, a Liaden Universe novel, has a timid rescue cat called Mouse. After being befriended by the protagonist, the cat becomes more self-confident and gets renamed Scout.
  • Magical Girl Raising Project: In Restart, the magical girl Cherna Mouse's behavior suggests that she's a mouse transformed into a human. The short story collection "Episodes" reveals that she's actually a hamster in her true form.
  • Hippo, the rhinoceros from A Porcupine Named Fluffy.
  • Roys Bedoys: The Bedoyses have a house cat named Panther.
  • The Stupids: Being a family of fools, they have a dog named Kitty and a tabby cat named Xylophone.
  • In There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, Bradley's classmate Colleen had a dog named Chicken.
  • The Twisted Ones:
    • Mouse’s dog is named Bongo. She makes it clear early on that he’s named after the antelope, not the drum.
    • Mouse herself skirts this trope, since she’s a human, although Mouse is just a nickname. Her real name is Melissa.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Many Clan cats have animals as part of their name, such as Tigerclaw, Ravenpaw, Jaykit, and Squirrelpaw. Several rogues and kittypets take their names from animals as well, such as Cow, Fox, and Raven.
    • In the novella Pebbleshine's Kits, Pebbleshine encounters a dog whose owners named it Bunny.
  • Wayside School features a story where one student has a cat named "Dog" and another has a dog named "Cat." In two other stories, one student used to have a cat named Skunks, while another has a goldfish named Shark. "It makes him feel important," the student says.
  • This is common in Wings of Fire because most dragons are named after things in their environment. Examples include Fruit Bat the RainWing, Ostrich the SandWing, and Orca the SeaWing. The prequel book Dragonslayer reveals that this applies to humans as well; one of the protagonists is named Wren. Prince Undauntable also has a pet cat named Dragon, which Wren thinks is ridiculous.
  • The Witcher: Geralt always names his horses Roach (after the fish, not the insect). In the original Polish, "Płotka" is an affectionate diminutive that could be interpreted as "Roachie" or "Small Fry".

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the first season of The Brady Bunch, the Bradys have a dog named Tiger. (The dog playing Tiger was sadly hit by a car and killed, resulting in the pet being quietly written out of the show.)
  • The Day Today: The bomb dogs segment includes a memorial to a dog called Spider.
  • Little House on the Prairie: The episode "Christmas on Plum Creek" features a horse named Bunny.
  • Person of Interest: Reese sort of adopts an attack dog, who he names Bear.
  • Victorious: In "Tori Tortures Teacher" Sikowitz misses his ex-girlfriend's pet Bunny and mentions how she would hop around. Assuming Bunny to be a rabbit, Tori gets him a rabbit the next day in an attempt to cheer him up, only to learn that Bunny is actually a cat. When asked about the hopping, Sikowitz explains that she's missing a leg.

  • The children's song "I've Got a Dog and my Dog's Name is Cat" by Barry Louis Polisar. His cat's named Dog, too, and his bird and fish are respectively Fish and Bird.
  • Songdrops: The song "The Name of My Frog" is about the singer's pets. While most of them follow A Dog Named "Dog" convention, two of them are a mouse named Gerbil and a gerbil named Mouse (because it was dark when he named them).
  • "Walking My Cat Named Dog" by Norma Tanega, which was covered by They Might Be Giants on their 2015 kids' album Why?


    Puppet Shows 

  • Waitress: During his introductory song "Never Ever Getting Rid Of Me," Ogie says his only friend as a child was a cat he named Sardine, because "[he] thought it was hilarious to call a cat a kind of fish."

    Video Games 
  • The Binding of Isaac: Isaac's pet cat is named Guppy. As of Rebirth, there's another cat named Cricket.
  • Donkey Kong is a gorilla. The reason for this is that when Shigeru Miyamoto was trying to come up with a name for his gorilla character, he accidentally thought that "donkey" was another word for "stubborn". The "Kong" part was an homage to King Kong.
  • The dog in Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II can be named anything the player wants; however, according to BioWare writer Mary Kirby, his "official" name is Rabbit. (It's said to be an homage to the killer rabbit from Monty Python.)
  • In Hidden City, Violet owns a dog named Alligator, which fits Violet's own aggressive and violent personality more than her pet's. Word of God says that she also considered naming the dog Scorpio, Dragon, or Cerberus before settling on Alligator.
  • Hollow Knight has Hornet, who, despite her name, is actually a half-spider/half-Wyrm.
  • Incision has the bio-launcher, an eldritch, multi-tentacled, slug-like creature serving as a Living Weapon who spits projectiles at your enemies while you take aim. Which you decide to name "Kitty" as a joke.
  • Also overlapping with A Pig Named "Porkchop", the protagonist of Minecraft: Story Mode has a pet pig named Reuben, but a Reuben sandwich uses corned beef for its meat, not pork.
  • Goose from NieR, named after nursery rhyme character Mother Goose, is a giant boar. The game also has Roc, named after the legendary bird, who is a wolf.
  • Defied by official Pokémon video game competitions, where one of the rules is that Pokémon are not allowed to have a nickname that is the same as another species' name. So, for example, a player couldn't enter the national championships with their Charizard named Pikachu. There's nothing stopping players from doing this in a casual playthrough of the games, though.
    • Pokémon names as-is can also be examples of this trope. For example, Sandshrew is considered a "Mouse Pokémon" by the Pokédex, Dewgong is a play on "dugong" despite the Pokémon being a seal, the "ret" in Sentret is derived from "ferret" despite being way less ferret-like than its evolution Furret, and Linoone is "line+raccoon" despite resembling a badger.
  • Cap'n Cuttlefish from Splatoon is an Inkling, an anthropomorphic squid.
  • Falco Lombardi from Star Fox is a pheasant, not a falcon.
  • Discussed and lampshaded in Yakuza Kiwami. One of the conversations Kiryu and Haruka can have involves naming a dog. Kiryu mentions possibly naming a male dog something strong, like "Dragon". Haruka thinks it's a silly name for a dog.

    Web Animation 
  • Pokémon Rusty: Rusty names his Kakuna "Pikachu", in honour of his idol Red's favourite Pokémon. When the Kakuna abandons him, Rusty replaces it with a Bidoof, whom he names "Pikatwo".
  • Sonic for Hire: El Padrino has an Anaconda named Marmosets. Whenever somebody thinks he is talking about monkeys, he or somebody else lets them know otherwise. He later reveals that he also named his harem of coke whores Marmosets and lampshades how uncreative he is with names.

  • Housepets! has a dog named Tiger, who has yet to forgive his owner for naming him after a cat.
  • The cats Rook and Cricket in Johnny Wander, overlapping with real life.

    Web Original 
  • Neopets:
    • In one editorial of the Neopian times, somebody asks what would happen if they named their Meepit petpet "Feepit" (Feepit is a completely different petpet from a Meepit). TheNeopetsTeam responds by saying the the non-existent Jelly World would become real.
    • The Kadoaties at the Kadoatery can be named the names of other species, including Angelpuss, Dawg, and Badger.
  • Protectors of the Plot Continuum: Laburnum's pet hellhound is named Crow.

    Web Videos 
  • Game Grumps: During their playthrough of Pokémon FireRed, Arin attempts to catch a Dratini. When he fails to, he compensates by nicknaming a Goldeen "Dratini".
  • In The Nostalgia Critic review of The Avengers (1998), when Critic gets confused that "Father" is a woman and "Mother" is a man, he asks if Mr. Cat is a dog and Mr. Dog is a cat.
  • The YouTube channel What About Bunny has a dog named Bunny who communicates with her owner by pushing buttons that say words. They have another dog named Otter.
  • This cat named Rabbit.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Writer Cleveland Amory had a white cat called Polar Bear, about whom he wrote a book The Cat That Came for Christmas. Amory admitted the cat never fully accepted the name, but he hadn't come up with any better suggestions.
  • BBC Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw owns a pitbull terrier named Pig.