Foster Kittens Need Unique Names or How I Ended Up Surrounded by so Many DiMeras and Cassadines

Spoilers – this is a long post because it involves photos and lots of explanation. Also, I mention the fate of several soap opera characters. I also reference some sad outcomes for the community cats. Whimsical topic about a harsh reality.

One lesson learned early on from fostering kittens is that there are naming protocols. For example, the rescue organization through which we foster does not allow names to be repeated/reused for one solid year to avoid paperwork mixups. That’s a solid reason. Hint: everyone thinks Luna, Sweet Pea, and Hope are unique names for cats. They are not. Everyone was us – well, we only tried to use Luna, but we got nixed. Luna became Furiosa and eventually Giulia.

So I told Laura we should turn to a deep well of evocative and recognizable names that not only be unique but perhaps generate some occasional RT from fans now known as shippers. I’m speaking of course of the soap opera. I’m speaking more specifically of the supervillains and legacy characters – the DiMeras and the Cassadines for starters.

Soap operas began in 1937 on the radio and are world-wide phenomenons with writing staff who also have to come up with unique names that don’t cause confusion. There’s also the wealth of highly recognizable villain names – namely the Cassadines, the DiMeras, and the Carrington/Ewing elk. And just great names – Echo DiSavoy, Fallon Carrington Colby, Reva Shayne, Epiphany Johnson. You can use popular usernames, you can mix and match, throw in nicknames and aliases or even alter personalities (big theme on soaps.) Soaps are whacky wonderful spaces where almost nothing is off limits, much like life with foster kittens.

It has worked like a charm for us. People laugh, they reshare/retweet, and they remember the kittens when they are ready to adopt and/or donate.

Speaking of donations, they are ALWAYS welcome. Our nonprofit is named Pittsburgh LGBTQ Charities, but you’ll see a cat in the logo to confirm that yes, we do work with cats and people who help cats through our #PghCatFolx projects.


Here are our sudsy cats including both fosters and community cats.

Mama Helena Cassadine and her sons, Spencer Cassadine and Stefano DiMera

Helena Cassadine and her sons Spencer Cassadine and Stefano DiMera were my first attempt to use this trick. So technically Helena is Spencer Cassadine’s great-grandmother on General Hospital. And Stefano DiMera is on another show entirely (and dead) But it works. Helena and Stefano are probably the two most famous and ridiculous villains in soap history worldwide. We trapped and took in this trio in spring of 2020. We ended up adopting all three for various reasons. So now they are just Helena, Spencer, and Stefano (Laura often mispronounces as Stef-Awww-No to make me nuts) living their best lives while plotting their deeds. Stefano is the sweetest cat whose name completely belies his personality. Helena is a scared thing who lives under our bed and watches tv with us each night from a spot on the mantle. Spencer on the tv is a spoiled “prince” with a lot of daddy issues and entitlement – he’s a legacy character with ties to big families, including the Cassadines, the Spencers, the Corinthos, and Webber families. Spencer in real life is in love with one of our other cats Kinzua and likes to be in the attic. He creeps around at night so its very Wyndemere like.

So many black cats in our colony so it is lucky the DiMera family is so big …

I then turned to the #FortFaulsey colony newbies who now are dubbed Tony DiMera, EJ DiMera, Jonny DiMera, and Andre DiMera. All of these cats are black and hard to distinguish unless you are close to them. But Tony and EJ know their names. There’s also Stavros Cassadine who is nicknamed ‘Stan’ and also seems to know his name if I say it in a dramatic soap opera fake Russian accent. Kristin DImera briefly visited the colony then disappeared – I think she’s based at another location on a different block. I named a calico Irina Cassadine, but her name is now Callie. Stavros has disappeared so I can only hope he’s at one of the other colonies. Tony has a long soft coat and gorgeous fluffy tail that reminds me of Thaao Penghlis who portrays both Tony and Andre DiMera on Days of Our Lives.

The tabbies and their bibs.

The colony also has some visitors who technically belong to other colonies – their #FF colony names are Dr. Liesl Obrecht, Hattie Adams, and Vivian Alamain. Recently, we picked up a fourth tabby with white markings so I named her Madeline West, the onscreen sisters of Liesl Obrecht. Of course, I did. These ladies show up on a rotation basis at both of our colonies. Their territory is about 3 or 4 blocks. I worry because they cross busy roads, but there’s not much to be done about that. There’s also a gorgeous gray girl who visits us from two blocks away. I named her Dr. Britta Westbourne, daughter of Dr. Liesl Obrecht.

Britt Westbourne
Dr. Britta Westbourne

I was distracted briefly by a trio we fostered in early 2020 and named them after characters on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The good news is that all three kept some version of their names. Susie Myerson is now Panterita Sue, Lennon is now Len, and Maisel is now Maisie – see, this works.

Horton, Logan and Quartermaine
Reva Shayne was trapped, spayed, vaccinated, and released to a colony. Her fourth kitten (we hope) reunited with her.

Then I trapped a mama and three kittens in the Fineview neighborhood. Mama was a tortoiseshell named Reva Shayne. She was released after being spayed and now lives in a colony. We decided to name the kittens using the legacy family surname option Horton (Days of Our Lives), Logan (Bold & Beautiful), and Quartermaine (General Hospital.) All three kept their names. There were two dads with the family group – Philip Spaulding and Harlan Billy Lewis. Philip was TNVRd, adopted, and renamed to Skinny. Alas, HB Lewis disappeared along with the fourth kitten that we never trapped. We had to stop trapping because bow season opened and that path was frequented by hunters, putting us in danger and drawing deer from the woods to the feeding stations.

Kristina Corinthos-Davis, Sam McCall-Davis, and Molly Lansing-Davis were living on the streets in Allegheny West. They were a bit sickly, but have bounced back nicely.
Their mama named ‘Lila’

Then we found three girls and another mama. Mama was named “Lila” and named the kittens Kristina Corinthos-Davis, Sam McCall-Davis, and Molly Lansing-Davis – the Davis girls. Molly kept her name. Sam was renamed Green Bean Balenciaga and Kristina is Crab Ragoon Versace.

Sonny Corinthos cat
Sonny Corinthos

A recent ‘new guy’ at the colony was named Sonny Corinthos who recently had a big amnesia storyline where he ended up at a strangers doorstep that is still playing out on-screen. New guy is a bit surly and it seemed appropriate. Sonny has moved from the main feeding station to our “branch campus” in the backyard. He’s developed a detente with the other cats. You can see in this photo that his ear is not tipped. Sonny needs to be TNVRd (on the schedule for next week) and be scanned for a chip. Since he arrived, he’s been slowly getting more comfortable so I’m ready to trap him.

Last month, we took in our latest foster kitten trio – a group of seven week boys from Garfield. I gave Laura a list of names and we went with the surnames this time – Sutton, Taggert, and Faison are from General Hospital. Can you name the characters with those surnames?

Now we have had your usuals – a Tommy, Callie, Precious, Coco, Pretty Girl, Tabby – but some of our others go outside this naming scheme but are still good names – Oksana (male), Mx Pajamas (gender unknown), Jennie Jane (my 2x great-grandmother), Kinzua, Simon Le Bon, Boris and Natasha, Sun Volt, Artemis, and Muriel. And Mamma Mia. We made up a few names – Emberly and Maylee. I’ve had a Willow, Giles, and Xander. I had an Amadeus. I had Ben and Jerry.

But this soap opera well is filled with many, many great names and you just need to use Google to find them. I am fond of both the surname as firstname style (a classic soap opera move ala Brady Black and the aforementioned Spencer Cassadine) and the long poetic styling designed to drive vet techs bonkers – you try insisting they spell out Stefano DiMera and see what happens. Pro-tip: Just spell the name, don’t bother pronouncing it.

I am sitting in my living room right now getting ready to watch yesterday’s GH episode while Quartermaine, Molly, Sutton, Taggert, and Faison romp while Stefano DiMera watches in disdain, Helena Cassadine is on her bedroom mantle ignoring them, and Spencer Cassadine is using the distraction to take a nap in the attic.

My process is simple

  • I review the circumstances. Community cat or foster? How many and relationships? So say its 3 female kittens (The Davis Girls) or a surly solo on the run dude (Sonny Corinthos) or a diva (Alexis Colby Carrington) or even – dare I say? – a resemblance, especially around the hair?
  • Try to keep the really big families for the feral communities, especially if they keep churning out long lost children a la Stefano DiMera. He died in 2016 and at least two more unknown kids have popped onto the screen thanks to soap opera science.
  • I clear names with Foster Kitten Central and make adjustments as needed. I always use the full name and wrangle an occasional acceptable nickname when necessary (Kristina became known as ‘Krissy’ on paperwork.)
  • Use a hashtag. It draws attention. #CatsOfGH and #CatsofDays or #StefanoDimera and so forth.
  • Tag the actors. You’ll get some occasional likes and RTs. Kathleen Gati aka Dr. Liesl Onbrecht typically responds when I post an update about her cat namesake.
  • Bonus points if the character has a theme song (more of an 80’s thing) that you can use in your TikTok video. But remember – Bo, Hope, Kayla, and Patch are very popular kitten names. So make the Holding Out for a Hero video with your Calliope and Eugene – folx will get it.
  • Sometimes you just go with your gut. Is this cat a Spencer or a Cassadine? Do they have markings or fur color or behaviors that remind you of a character or perhaps the contrast?

At the end of the day, the goal is to raise awareness about the community cats and the good people working to help them. Soap operas have huge fanbases who are willing to share quirky and fun content such as a family photo of DiMera cats. It captures the imagination and may generate the occasional potential adoption or donation to a rescue group. It lightens and invites people into the world of community cats – that’s a good thing.

Stavros Cassadine aka as Stan last year. He disappeared over the summer.

Here is some of my list of future groupings.

  • Spaulding, Webber, Baldwin, Capwell, Abbott, Newman, Buchanan, Forrester, Scorpio-Jones surnames
  • Siblings groups
    • Vicky and Marley Hudson (Marley is used pretty often so that’s iffy)
    • Lucas Horton, Philip Kiriakis, and Rex Brady
    • Eden and Kelly Capwell (Mason, Channing, and Ted possible, too)
  • Look-alike characters/identical twins and cousins
    • Hattie and Marlena
    • Bonnie and Adrienne
    • Kevin Collins and Ryan Chamberlain
    • McBain, Silas, and Finn
    • Anna Devane and Alex Marick
  • Memorable names
    • Echo DiSavoy
    • Tripp Dalton
    • Mimi Lockhart
    • Sally Spectra
    • Erica Kane-Martin-Brent-Cudahay-Chandler-Roy-Montgomery-Montgomery-Chandler-Marik-Marik-Montgomery
  • Sidekicks and Henchfolx
    • Dr. Wilhelm Rolf
    • Alice Gunderson
    • Yuri
    • Brick
    • Calliope
    • Esther Valentine

What naming schemes do you use? Leave us suggestions in the comments.

Speaking of donations, they are ALWAYS welcome. Our nonprofit is named Pittsburgh LGBTQ Charities, but you’ll see a cat in the logo to confirm that yes, we do work with cats and people who help cats through our #PghCatFolx projects Just include a note with the word ‘cat’ and we’ll know it is designated for these projects.


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