Looking for a pair of cat names?
During the last centuries of the Medieval era, the most common cat names were Gib (hard G) and Tib.
Typically, Gib was used for male cats and Tib for female cats.
Gib is a diminutive of the name Gilbert. Tib is either a play on Gib or a short form of Tibert, as in Tibert the Cat, a feline character found in Reynard the Fox stories.
Geoffrey Chaucer mentions a cat named Gibbe in his The Romaunt of the Rose, written in the late 1300s.
The play Gammer Gurton’s Needle, written during the 1550s, features a (female) cat named Gib:
My nee’le, alas! Ich lost it, Hodge, what time Ich me up-hasted
To save the milk set up for thee, which Gib our cat hath wasted.
The name Gib was so ubiquitous that male cats were called Gib-cats. We might still be using that term today if not for “The Life and Adventures of a Cat” (1760), a popular tale that featured a cat named Tom. Tom inspired the term Tom-cat, which eventually replaced Gib-cat.