Cats were essential in militaries around the world, especially during the first and second world wars. Rodent infestations became serious problems for naval crews, and some pretty fierce felines stepped in to protect the food stores. Cats were the best way to ensure soldiers would eat.
3. Also, they were just ADORABLE, and helped the morale of the crews on board.
4. There’s this little fella/mouse serial killer, for instance.
He served the Aussies for four spectacular years aboard the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Encounter, from 1914-1918.
5. Then there’s Crimean Tom.
Crimean Tom was not an official member of the British military, but was a hero, nonetheless. In 1854, while the Brits and French occupied Sevastopol’s port in Russia, Tom directed starving troops to massive amounts of stored food beneath rubble on the waterfront. Tom was adopted as a mascot by the soldiers soon-after, and taken back to England when the men were called home.
6. Meet Tiddles.
Tiddles was aboard several Royal Navy aircraft carriers, but served as the official Captain’s Cat on the HMS Victorious in the early 1940s. Born and raised at sea, Tiddles traveled more than 30,000 miles for the British. He may also be why black cats are considered signs of good luck across the pond.
7. Faith, world’s best cat mama.
Faith was a resident of Saint Augustine’s Church in London long before World War II brought the battle to the UK. A mother of just one kitten, Faith was spotted oddly moving her little fuzzball to the cold basement of the church — away from the warm upper floors — on September 6, 1940. The next day, the city was heavily bombed by German forces. Faith and her kitten, Panda, survived the wreckage, found in the church’s rubble. She was later awarded a medal for “steadfast courage in the Battle of Britain”.
8. “Able Seacat” Simon to the rescue!
Simon, officially “Able Seacat” Simon, was pretty much a BAMF at doing his job of killing rats. He was awarded twice in 1949 for doing it so well. He received an Amethyst campaign ribbon after a uniquely tough run-in with the Chinese, and then became the only cat to ever receive a Dickin Medal for “animal gallantry” soon after. He was so incredible (and loved), he was buried with full naval honors.
9. Pfc. Hammer proves cats can still serve heroically.
The guys of a 2004 U.S. Army unit in Iraq were in a bind. A big one. Gravely concerned all their food would eventually be devoured or contaminated by a mice infestation, they called on Pfc. Hammer for a little help. Hammer did such an incredible job, the men made him an honorary member of the unit. They also applied and received help from Alley Cat Allies and Military Mascots to bring Hammer back to the U.S. after their deployment. Hammer now rests comfortably in Colorado with Staff Sgt. Rick Bousfield.