My parents have a tradition of naming new pets after old pets they resemble. They’ve had two dogs named Piggly and three Siamese cats with variants of the name Clam: Pismo C. Clam, Clamboy, and George Clam Dickel. There was a Mama and a mini Mama–mom and daughter cat look-a-likes. There was only ever one Darcy, a beautiful brown Burmese cat I considered mine even though technically she was my parents’ cat.
When Darcy died, I thought I’d never love a cat again. Allergies prevented me from getting a cat of my own. But then came Toes.
Toes was a neighborhood cat who wandered into our yard. My first thought when I saw her was that she looked a lot like my parents’ cat Socks, who had recently passed away. But whereas Socks had a full set of white socks complementing his black coat, Toes had white socks on her back paws but on her front paws only her toes were white.
“Toes!” I called her in honor of Socks.
Like many well loved cats, Toes has an official name, Toes, and a nickname we often call her, Sweet Girl. This isn’t because she’s an overtly sweet cat. As you can see from the picture below, she has a rather gruff exterior. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Toes, it’s that you can be a nice cat and still advocate for what you want. Being sweet doesn’t mean being a pushover.