DH and I found out we are expecting our first child together! We each have two children from previous marriages, and as much as I would love to add another little girl to our family I feel like I "just know" it's a boy. We both really like the name Cato but I'm worried about people mispronouncing it and calling him 'Cat-oh.' I wish i could give people more credit but I'm constantly asked how to pronounce my other son's name, Silas, and in my mind easy to pronounce! Other than Cato we like Japanese boys' names as DH is Flilipino/Japanese descent, and I lived in Japan for two years and love the language and culture. We like Naoki, Noriko, Yoshi and Hiroki..but again I worry about us/him constantly having to correct people or help them pronounce his name. 

If my intuition is off and we do have a girl we like Felix, Maizy, Clara and Vela. Thoughts? 


November 16, 2012 4:07 PM

Congratulations! Cato fits in with the trend of giving ancient names to little boys. Atticus, Ptolemy, and Titus are all surging, so why not Cato? I would be leery of them as namesakes as I tend to think of the Romans (and Ptolemies) as bloodthirsty and violent, but if you're okay with the namesake, then I think it's a very usable name.

I would never name a girl Felix, though. I'd use Felice or Felicia instead.

November 16, 2012 5:12 PM

Of your boys list, I think Cato and Yoshi are your best bets.  It's probably not the best association, but Kato Kaelin should make the name (even with the C spelling) a little more accessible for a lot of people.  Hiro would be another name that translates well into English and could also be a nickname for Hiroki perhaps?

I agree I would not use Felix on a girl, but as a brother to Silas I think it would work well.  Felice or Felicity would be better for a girl.  Maizy is nice, though I do prefer it as a nickname instead of a formal name.  Clara is very nice and would be my favorite of your girl list.  I'm not sure what to do with Vela.  I'm saying it VAY-la, but am not confident this is correct.  

By mk
January 23, 2013 1:43 AM

I agree, the Kato Kaelin association made the pronunciation easy for me. I do like the name Cato, as well as Hiroki.

Of the girl names, I like Clara best. Maisie is nice as a nickname (for Margaret, maybe?). No to Felix for a girl. Felix isn't a favorite name of mine, in general.

November 16, 2012 7:16 PM

To start, I'm sorry to say that I misread the name, even though phonetically I know that I was wrong. It seems like the "cat" part is just so salient that it overtook my perception of it. However, that being said, it would be a very easy adjustment. Once I read that it was wrong, I adjusted the pronunciation in my head and read it properly the rest of the times. (I would definitely get Silas correct on the first time, though!)

But I have to say that I actually like the more "difficult" names you listed more - and find them easier to correctly pronounce on the first try - because they are clearly Japanese, my head immediately went into that mode. I think that my favourite is Noriko, possibly because I like the ending-in-o sound, and closely following that would be Hiroki. I find Naoki a little hard to say because I'm not 100% sure what to do with the vowel cluster, and Yoshi, for me, is too closely tied to the Nintendo character for me to see it on a real person.

But I must say, if you like the name Felix, I think that it makes a perfect brother name for Silas and it's my favourite of the ones you mentioned! Is there a reason that you listed it for a girl but not for a boy?

For a girl, from that list, I think Clara is wonderful.

November 16, 2012 7:56 PM

My first response to the name Cato is the ancient Roman historian, so I would automatically pronounce it KAY-toh.

You might want to consider that a main antagonist in The Hunger Games is named Cato.  On the one hand, that might be a negative association; on the other hand, it might make people more familiar with how to pronounce the name.

Hiroki nicknamed Hiro should be pretty easy for most people - I like it.

For a girl, I have to say I hate Felix - it's clearly a boy's name - and Maizy is much too informal for a full given name, especially with the z spellling. Felicia or Felicity are much better girl options.

But I love Clara!  And Vela is intriguing.  I'd say it VEH-lah.  Where does it come from?

November 17, 2012 12:28 AM

there is a chain of stores named Cato, pronounced like you are saying, so i find it very easy to read and say. i like that best for your boys choice and like Vela for a girl.

November 17, 2012 7:29 AM

I don't think anyone will have trouble pronouncing "Cato" now that the Hunger Games books are popular. (Cato is the name of one of the tributes in the Hunger Games.)

Especially after the first movie was released, it is clear how to pronounce it. I questioned it as "Cat-o" before, when I was reading, but ultimately decided it didn't sound right as Cat-o. I have no trouble  with the Cay-to pronounciation, and I doubt others will.

But I suggest you look into/read the Hunger Games so you know where the  common, modern-day association will come from when people will hear/read it.

November 17, 2012 9:29 AM

The other reference that popped into my head last night was Inspector Clouseau's roommate in the Pink Panther movies. Kids won't get that reference, but a young Cato might get a kick (har har) out of seeing the movies.

November 17, 2012 12:28 PM

Thanks for the input! I think I fell asleep watching the Hunger Games so I don't remember a character named Cato, but I'm really into ancient Roman and Egyptian history and I just like the sound of the name. :) Hopefully the movie will help with the pronounciation,though lately we have been leaning a little more toward the Japanese names. We're starting to really like Noriko...and I have been a little concerned about Yoshi being tied to the nintendo character, but it's a very common name in Japan. 

And yes Vela is pronounced like "Vay-lah." It's DH's pick from the song "Vela, Together We Await the Storm" by The Human Abstract.

November 17, 2012 1:56 PM

I am a bit confused.  In your list of possible names for boys, I see the name Noriko.  AFAIK in Japanese that is a female name.  Is there some new trend in Japan of giving girls' names to boys?

November 17, 2012 2:12 PM

Oh, it seems that you're right. In that case, I revise my favourite to Hiroki.

By hyz
November 18, 2012 10:40 AM

Yes, I was just coming to post this, as well.  I'm not so familiar with Japanese naming customs, but I have known one Japanese girl named Noriko, and I think it is a definitely feminine name in Japanese.  

I immediately pronounced Cato with your intended pronunciation, and I think it's a nice sounding name, although I'm not sure about the associations.  I think Felix would be great for a boy, but definitely not a girl.  From your girl list, I like Clara.

November 18, 2012 8:18 PM

Yes, I think the Hunger Games will help folks in the U.S. with the correction pronounciation. I like Cato- it's strong and short and has the snappy O ending.  I also like Yoshi and Hiroki and I think people would ok with pronouncing them. Wasn't there a famous baseball player named Hiro? I agree that I don't know how to pronounce Naoki.


I like Clara and I like Maizy but I do think putting Margaret or Margo as the formal name gives her more options as a grown woman. I don't have strong feelings pro or con for Vela. I also extremely dislike the idea of the name Felix on a girl. I think it's unfair for her to set her up for a lifetime of double-takes and confusion and I think there are plenty of strong, quirky-cool girl names out there. What about Beatrix, Roxanna, or Alexandra?

January 22, 2013 8:10 PM

Off topic for the original post:

I never thought of using Maizy as a nickname for Margot! I thought we had a girl's name but now have to reconsider. We thought of using Margot with our first daughter but I thought it was too stuffy for our third child (if she's a girl). But now that I know there is a nickname we like I will consider it. Thanks!

November 28, 2012 7:29 PM

I personally like Hiroki and Noriko the best. I think they are also the easiest to read and pronounce. I'm sorry to say it, but Cato reminds me of the OJ Simpson trial... Also, I don't think Felix works well for a girl's name. I agree with OP that Beatrix could serve you well- you could call be Bex for short.