Many folks have asked me since the comic started, and so I will answer here: Yes, Tommy is also a real cat. Excuse me, Admiral Thomas “Tommy” Whiskerstache is also a real cat. Looking at his photos, you might think he looks very fierce, almost grumpy–but let me tell you, don’t be fooled. Tommy a total happy, mushy fluff puff. When I draw him in the comic, I draw his personality first and foremost!
The idea to have a “backyard nemesis” was originally inspired by a neighbor cat we had in Washington. When we lived in Seattle a different outrageously fluffy tabby used to wander into the yard and drive the boys crazy. He looked so much like my friend Jackie’s cat Tommy, that I based the character and his personality on Tommy. And so, when we moved to Rhode Island, we actually moved closer to Tommy!
To answer your next question, no… The boys have never actually met Tommy. Maybe someday!
Tommy’s story: Tommy was born at the end of April in 2007, just outside New York City. An elderly woman adopted him, thinking he was a Persian. As he grew, and grew, and grew it became apparent that he was actually a Persian mix, most likely bred with a Maine Coon. He was a big pile of fluff with giant bear feet and an intense yellow eyed owl gaze. Despite his angry look, Tommy is an enthusiastic sweetheart. He was a constant, affectionate companion to the elderly lady, until she passed away in 2013.
Shortly before she passed away, she asked my friend Jackie if she would take in Tommy and look after him the rest of his life. Jackie is incredible with animals, and has been known to rescue more than one creature in need (including many very bitey ferrets once… She is awesome). And so, Jackie agreed and brought Tommy home to Providence, Rhode Island. It was apparent from the start that Tommy was no ordinary cat. His personality was almost bigger than his fluff!
Tommy’s personality: Where do I begin? Tommy is curious. Tommy is sweet. Tommy is enthusiastic, and I’ve said that already, but it bears repeating. He gets into everything, he meows at walls. Jackie’s neighbors have told her that he watches them every morning from the window. He is friendly and silly. Jackie takes some spectacular videos of his strange and whacky antics, and she shares them on a Facebook page devoted to him. If you’d like to check it out, click here to visit!
Tommy is also in love, with another cat Jackie took in, a pretty little tabby named Sophie. He does not play it cool, not at all. A lot of his “outside the window” behavior in the comic is based on his real life attempts to win Sophie’s heart. At this time Sophie is not interested, but maybe she’s just playing hard to get?
A typical day for Tommy: Tommy spends much of his day demanding chin and belly rubs, lounging, meowing at the most random things, watching the other members of the family through door cracks, and getting comfortable just where he is not supposed to.
Likes: Boxes, chin rubs, his pitt bull mix-sister Leia, meowing at nothing, meowing at something, spying, napping, Sophie, running water, laying in piles of things, bow ties, mirrors.
Dislikes: Whatever he thinks is in the wall, not knowing what is in a room, not being a part of things.