I call my cats rats or dogs, rarely cats. But I guess I name them names of other animals, too: Donkey, Marmot, Sasquatch. And multiple of my children remind me of rabbits. One, a small domestic rabbit with spots, and the other a crazy alien desert jackrabbit with enormous ears. My friend's cat just died, the one that she was closest to, the one she feels like she can't live without. I know what that's like. My favorite cat was a roach, with a low, fast scuttle. And you'd think that would be bad, but it wasn't; it was delicious and perfect. She was perfect.
There's an island near City Island in the Bronx that's for sale. It's a little slip of land called "Rat Island." I want to take my noses and my ears there and be insulated from the world where animals suffer far far worse than dying housecats. It must have been named for us.