Rachel the cat named after the unfortunate whaling ship in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. The Pequod comes upon the Rachel searching for its crewmen lost at sea, including the Captain’s young son, after a disastrous encounter with Moby-Dick. Ahab refuses to help in the search and the Pequod moves on to satisfy Ahab’s obsession.
Soon the two ships diverged their wakes; and long as the strange vessel was in view, she was seen to yaw hither and thither at every dark spot, however small, on the sea. This way and that her yards were swung around; starboard and larboard, she continued to tack; now she beat against a head sea; and again it pushed her before it; while all the while, her masts and yards were thickly clustered with men, as three tall cherry trees, when the boys are cherrying among the boughs.
But by her still halting course and winding, woeful way, you plainly saw that this ship that so wept with spray, still remained without comfort. She was Rachel, weeping for her children, because they were not.
—from Chapter 128: The Pequod meets the Rachel