Cat Scout Felix Friday

Happy Friday everyone! We are very lucky to have Cat Scout Felix as our special guest today.

33-Felix   Greetings everybody!  Today I thought I’d share some information about cat-related museums overseas.  Worth a journey, I think!

The Kuching Cat Museum in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia houses a collection of over 4000 objects devoted to every aspect of cat history, lore and art.  Its collections were transferred to the City from a private collection, and were first exhibited in Kuala Lumpur in 1987.

       Kuching cat museum                 Cat Museum building

This museum is the world’s largest museum devoted to cats.

From the Beckoning Cats (“Maneki Neko” to Hello Kitty, there is something here for every cat lover!

Beckoning Cat

Next is the Katten Kabinet in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  It is an art museum featuring mixed media works depicting cats.  Some very famous artists are represented, including Picasso, Rembrandt and others. The museum is housed in a 17th century townhouse in the banking district.  Its founder and his 5 cats are still in residence.  The cats wander throughout the exhibit areas, and seem very cozy!

    Kattenkabinetposter          Mona Lisa Cat

The Museum was founded in 1990 by Bob Meijer in memory of his departed cat, J.P. Morgan!  Definitely worth a visit when you’re in Northern Europe.kattenkabinetinteriorNext time Maggie will tell you about some American cat museums!

Guest Post by Cat Scout Maggie

Happy Friday everyone! Today we are lucky to have Cat Scout Maggie here to tell us a story.

Hi, folks!  Scout Maggie here again with you.  32--Maggie-Hat

Today I’d like to tell a story that our mom shared with us when we were young, as a way of guiding us to be good kitties!

LOST AND FOUND:  A TALE OF TWO CITIES, 8800 MILES AND LOTS OF HOPE

Our mom has had cats since she was 8 years old, and as all of you kitties know, we have lots of curiosity.  Sometimes it gets the best of us, and makes our nine lives flash by very quickly!

Pumpkin was such a cat.  Born on Halloween night, she was from a litter of three.  She was very small and didn’t always get the prime nursing ops, so she was a feisty fighter from the get-go.  From the time she was weaned and big enough to start exploring the house, she’d often try to bolt out the door, and once she disappeared for several days.  Our mom lived in an semi-urban area outside of Washington DC that still had small farms in the neighborhood.

Pumpkin had decided to investigate one of these farms, and our mom found her on the second floor of a barn, poking her head out the window when she heard our mom’s voice.

Pumpkin1After that episode, our mom was extra-careful and Pumpkin behaved for many years.  Her next adventure was on a horse farm where our mom then lived.  One day Pumpkin was out prowling just as mom let some of her dogs out to play.  They corned Pumpkin, who found a convenient tree to climb!  She stayed up there until the coast was clear.  The dogs were OK with mom’s cats inside the house, but once outside, cats were prey!!

The big adventure came several years after that when our mom was on a trip to Florida from her home near Washington DC.  This was in February.  Mom travelled in a large RV with her pets, which at that time included cats and Jack Russell Terriers, which she used to show.  When mom arrived at her destination in West Palm Beach FL, she exited the RV to do some errands.  Pumpkin had been awaiting her chance to bolt out, after a 14 hour trip!!

The RV was parked at a large equestrian facility that encompassed at least thirty acres and abutted heavily wooded lands and drainage ditches containing much of the wild life Florida is famous for!  Our mom searched the grounds time and again over the next several days, and even checked out the neighboring residential streets.  In this particular part of West Palm Beach, known as the town of Wellington, each residence comprises several acres and many small horse farms.  Our mom put up signs and posters and spread the word about her missing cat.  She had a large network of friends who were all animal lovers, so her hopes were high that Pumpkin would be found.

Many people called to say they had spotted her, but she was never there when mom followed up on the leads.  Finally, after several days, mom had to return to Washington, sadly without Pumpkin.

Over the next several months, mom continued to get calls about Pumpkin sightings.  She made two more trips (1100 miles one-way), but never found any sign of Pumpkin.  She visited all of the local animal shelters and continued to spread the world about her dear cat.  Mom returned to Washington (by now it was April), and was nearly resigned to never finding her cat again.

Calls continued to come in, and near the end of May, one caller was actually a friend from the horse world who reported that a cat fitting Pumpkin’s description had been hanging out on their terrace for the last few days, and they were feeding her and giving her water.  They said she looked ragged and thin, but responded to their care and attention.  They had plenty of shade around their house and barn, so felt pretty confident that with feeding, Pumpkin would stay nearby.

Our mom made her fourth trip to Wellington on Memorial Day weekend, and went immediately to the property in question (which was behind the large aforementioned equestrian facility).  She parked the RV and went to meet her friends.  They said, “Oh Pumpkin was just here for lunch!  She went around the corner,” and they pointed to a treed area behind their house.

Our mom tiptoed around the corner, and her beloved Pumpkin was sitting in the middle of some plants, as if she knew salvation was at hand.  Never one to let herself be picked up, Pumpkin sat perfectly still while mom reached down to get her.  Such a reunion left mom and the cat totally breathless and speechless!

Mom took Pumpkin back to the nice, cool RV where she could get re-aquainted with her furry pals from home while mom thanked her friends for providing shelter and food for her.Pumpkin3

Then it was time to head for home, but mom  had a minor collision accident two miles down the road.  She was so elated at having found her lost cat that she wasn’t paying attention, and backed the RV into a telephone pole.  Upon inspection, the rear wall of the RV had come dislodged, and  was basically hanging by two screws.  This, with an 1100 mile trip ahead!!  Those two screws were all that kept Pumpkin and her furry pals inside the RV!

Our mom drove to a nearby RV full-service shop which she had used on prior trips, and they said they’d need to keep the rig for at least one month in order to replace the door and do other repairs caused by the collision.

This was on a holiday weekend, but mom managed to find a station wagon to lease for the long trip home.  Exhausted and just wanting to get her cat checked out by the vet, mom now faced an 1100 mile trip home with 4 cats and 6 dogs in the car!  They arrived home safely, and Pumpkin went to the vet on the next open day.  She tested negative for Heartworm (the biggest fear), had only minor parasites, and apart from some weight loss and faded fur, she was found to be fit as a fiddle.

At the time she disappeared, Pumpkin was 11 years old.  She lived another 6 years in peace and harmony, and never once ever tried to go outside!

Pumpkin2Pumpkin, right,  with her friend Magic

 Never underestimate the power of hope!

Guest Post by Cat Scout Felix

Happy Friday everyone! We are lucky to have Cat Scout Felix here for a guest post:33-Felix-Hat  Greetings, once again! 

Felix here to share with you some iconic photos of fabulous and famous maritime felines!  You know the expression, “A picture is worth a thousand words?”  Well, these 10 photos and captions make any commentary totally superfluous!  Enjoy, and thanks for saluting our nautical compatriots!

 

http://www.forces.tv/15451658  Please click on the link to read of the 10 most important ship’s cats of all time.

And a special birthday wish to Jan of Jan’s Funny Farm:Happy Birthday, Jan Price (L)

And don’t forget to comment for a chance to win this:

026Phoebe will announce to winner Sunday. I can’t wait until my ROAR next week to tell you about the awesome prize I won.

 

Cat Scout Maggie’s Guest Post

Welcome Maggie of Cat Scouts ( and my Sammy’s special friend). Warning, this story may make you cry.

Hi, Maggie here again with you.  Today I would like to remember the great Antarctic explorer, Mrs. Chippy.  He is very famous, and was part of Ernest Shackleton’s third expedition to the Antarctic regions. He belonged to Henry “Chips” McNeish, the ship’s carpenter, who had also been on prior Antarctic voyages.Mrs. Chippy3. jpgMrs. Chippy was actually a male brown tabby who adored his master, and because he shadowed him all over the ship, the crew soon named him “Mrs Chippy.”  He endeared himself to the crew, and early in their fateful voyage, Chippy decided to jump out a porthole.  The watch officer turned the huge ship around and the crew were able to pick the cat up out of the icy waters.  He had been in the sea for about ten minutes, and most cats certainly would not have tolerated that situation!      Chippy4

Endurance was a noble ship built to withstand the rigors of icy weather and waters.  She left Britain for South America in August of 1914, around the time of the start of WWI. The ship stopped in Argentina to provision and obtain a team of sled dogs which would  be needed for the overland treks planned once the crew landed in Antarctica.  In Buenos Aires, a young British fellow stowed aboard the Endurance, thus making the number of human crew 29 souls.  Perce Blackborow  proved himself so likable and useful to Shackleton and the crew that he was appointed Steward, and he and Mrs. Chippy soon became fast friends.Mrs. Chippy2

This Frank Hurley photo is courtesy, Scott Polar Institute

The  expedition left Buenos Aires for South Georgia Island, and from there, set sail for the Antarctic continent.  Chippy made himself busy standing on the ship’s rail, harassing the dogs, who were kenneled on the main deck, and otherwise exploring every nook and cranny of the ship.  He proved himself to be very adept at catching rodents, so was much appreciated as a full crew member of the expedition.  He also kept his master’s bunk warm, pawticularly useful in the frigid temps!!

Chippy’s favorite place to hang out was the Galley, where Cook always shared a tasty morsel with him, or the Ward Room, where he could rub against everyone and get lots of pets in return.  Like most of our feline ancestors and contemporaries, Chippy did not see the necessity of keeping a journal, but rather, he lived in the moment.  Luckily for us cat historians, his story was re-created from the writings of Shackleton himself and his various crew, all of whom kept journals.  “Mrs.Chippy’s Last Expedition” was written by Caroline Alexander, and it’s told from Chippy’s point of view, but based on actual daily events that occurred throughout the voyage until the time of the amazing rescue expedition that followed the ship’s destruction.  This precious book, which you must read, has been re-issued several times.

The book is a wonderful account of daily life at sea, including the monotony and the adventures and mishaps.  Because the expedition was a scientific one, there were lots of bottled and packed samples of various things the explorers collected and thought important. Chippy loved exploring and occasionally knocking over a bottle or two, but he always escaped the wrath of the crew.

The Endurance did well for a little over a year, and then became gradually and increasingly subject to the pressure of the large ice floes that trapped her.  There was no open water for most of their voyage, so they had to push through the ice a little bit at a time.  Finally, the ship became crushed by the ice pressure, and she had to be abandoned.                                                                 Endurance

It was a huge undertaking to empty the contents of the entire ship, set up temporary quarters for the crew and the dogs, and maintain discipline, hope and physical fitness.  It was now the end of October, 1915.

Photo, Frank Hurley

Shackleton realized that his crew and mission were nearly doomed, so he ordered the crew to dispose of all of their unnecessary belongings.  To set an example, he discarded a Bible that had been given to him by the Queen, just tearing out a few important pages.  Frank Hurley, the ship’s photographer, had taken hundreds of pictures, and he now needed to choose which ones to keep.  In those days, photo “negatives” were made of glass, and they were large and bulky.  We are so glad that one of Hurley’s choices was the earlier photo above depicting Chippy on Blackborow’s shoulder -the lone picture of this fabulous kitty navigator that was saved!

Alexander’s book contains most of the surviving photographs, and they only add to the drama and sadness of this voyage.

Shackleton ordered that no body who couldn’t pull his weight or prove useful to the Expedition must be “put down.”

The sled dogs, after hauling many provisions and supplies over huge distances, were all shot.  It is surmised, but not confirmed, that Chippy was given a special treat of sardines for his last dinner, and he did not wake up after that meal.  Suffice it to say that most of the crew, but particularly Henry McNeish, were devastated by his loss.  McNeish later bore Shackleton a grudge because of the cat, and although he was an essential member of the rescue portion of the expedition (due to his carpentry skills), McNeish was not rewarded with commendations at the end of the expedition.

We won’t tell the amazing story here about Shackleton’s incredible 800 mile trek over mountains and icy waters to find the nearest post where he could get a rescue ship.  He did it and accomplished one of the most celebrated rescues in human history.  After many months, he and a skeleton crew who had braved that long land and sea journey returned to rescue the other crew members.  All were saved.  Many prior Arctic and Antarctic expeditions did not fare as well.

I like to think that Chippy’s spirit enabled the Endurance human crew to maintain hope and courage, even after Chippy was no longer there in purrson.

It is so sad, to me, and heartbreaking that in those days, animals weren’t held in as high esteem as they are today. The innocent sled dogs, many of whom died from parasites because Shackleton had forgotten to take worm medicine on the journey, were used for heavy work and then discarded as being a burden. Some of them were pregnant or were pups.

Mrs. Chippy, though very small, was also considered to be too risky to keep in the tents set up on moving ice floes.  Food and fuel were scarce toward the end of the voyage, so Shackleton decided that the animals would be too much trouble to take care of, and could possibly impede the human crew’s ability to survive and be mobile.

Henry McNeish grieved for his beloved cat for many years, and he later retired to New Zealand, although he was Scottish.  McNeish’s gravesite in Wellington was later enlarged to include a tribute to his fabulous companion and the ship’s mascot, Mrs. Chippy!mrschippy1

You can purchase Chippy’s book at the Museum of Maritime Pets website : http://museumofmaritimepets.org/store.html

Thank you Maggie. See you all tomorrow for lots of hopping.

 

 

 

Infographic Tuesday

Happy Tuesday everyone! Today is medical day so when Ron Rutherford offered an infographic on Flea and Tick Prevention from Havahart Wireless, I was more than happy to accept- especially after our flea fiasco last summer.

http://www.havahartwireless.com/blog/flea-and-tick-prevention-on-dogs-and-cats.php

Flea and Tick prevention on dogs

Spooky is much better, thank you all for your prayers and purrs. He gave us another scare over the weekend when he didn’t want to eat. He perked up when I fed him chicken baby food with a syringe and is eating normal food now. He does need to have a dental and the broken tooth removed which I hope I can get schedule for this week.

A few of the other kitties were vomiting so I changed their dry food. I know dry food is not ideal, but some of them refuse canned. I was using Purina Pro Plan Savor ( chicken and rice) from a pet store, I contacted them and they will give me a refund, but they haven’t had any other problems. I wonder now if it was some kind of a kitty flu.Very confusing, but thankfully everyone has improved.

Thank you Havahart Wireless for the infographic.

Guest Post Tuesday-Fat Cats and Giveaway

A couple weeks ago , I received an email from someone wanting to write a guest post. She is from Australia so her statistics are from there, but I found the article a great reminder for everyone- especially me. Thank you for this Melianie-

 Your Cat Maybe Fat- What Can You Do About That?

Cats are definitely cuter if they are fluffier, chubbier and bigger-just like Garfield, Snowbell and others. But did you know that fat, a.k.a. obese cats , have higher risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and problems on skin, respiratory system, reproduction, to name just a few ? Don’t say your cat is not fat. According to Australian Veterinarian Association 2.4 millions cats in the OZ are considered obese. That’s 4 in 10 cats. And your cat is most likely one of them.

How to Know if Your Cat is Obese?

Fat_Cat_(4343893510)

Ideally, domestic cats should weigh 8-10 pounds. Some breeds like Siamese and Persian cats, however, can weigh up to 12 pounds and Maine Coon cats can be as heavy at 25 pounds and still be considered normal. It’s best to check what the normal weight is for your cat and stick with that. Now if cats weigh 20% heavier than normal, then they will be considered by vets as obese.

No weighing scale? No problem! Greencross Vets suggests owners to answer these questions honestly to find out:

  • Is it difficult to feel your cat’s ribs?
  • Is your cat round- shaped with no “waist”?
  • Is your pet reluctant to move around?
  • Is your pet waddling when walking?
  • Is your cat feeling so tired easily?
  • Did someone say your cat is fat?
  • Has your pet been desexed?
  • Does your cat keep on eating as long as there is food in the bowl?

If your answer is “yes” to most of these questions, then your cat is probable fat.

It is always recommended to see a vat for a serious checkup. Most owners never take the vet’s advice seriously, though. Normally, vets will recommend helping the cat to lose 2 or so pounds. Humans go on thinking that 2 pounds will be lost on its own, like ho it normally happens to us. Its different on cats , though, because a cat’s 2 pounds is 28 pounds in humans.

How to Keep Your Cat Fit and Healthy ?

Besides the enormous expense of having unhealthy, obese cats, the extra weight they carry will be an everyday burden for their entire life. As owners, it is our responsibility to provide them with the best living condition possible. Here are some ways:

 Don’t feed dry kibble, Choose wet canned food.

Cats are carnivores by nature.Their usual preys-rabbits, birds and mice-are mostly protein with only up to 5% calories from carbohydrates. But, the generic dry kibbles that modern domestic cats are eating for years have up to 50 % calories from carbohydrates. Dr. Lisa Pierson, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, suggests feeding our feline friends with canned food that is mostly rabbit or poultry. Fish and beef are okay, but can be problematic to some cats, who are used to eating dry food.

Many owners tend to just fill the bowl with food and then refill it when nearly empty. This should not be the case. Read the maker’s label and follow that accordingly. Concord Veterinary Hospital also recommends feeding cats only twice a day-once in the morning , and once at night. Never give more food even if they crave or plead for more.

Scratching Post

http://www.realsmart.com.au/pet-care/cat-supplies

Be more active.

How much active should your cat be? Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association recommends 5 hours of physical exercise to keep a cat healthy and avoid obesity. Indoor cats do not get as much physical activities as outdoor cats, making the former prone to boredom. And boredom results to overeating. Walking your cat and letting it play in the park with other cats is the best.

But if being outdoors is not possible, you can still have fun activities indoors that will help burn those extra calories and beat boredom. Many owners play with the laser light, or throw a ball of yarn , or set up an area for play. A scratch post with extra features for fun play is a great idea for this. You can also hide a canned food somewhere and let the kitties find ’em! This will be very rewarding for your pet, without spending extra for treats.

These things are easier said/read than done. Take it slowly and surely so you and your cat don’t feel the shock of this healthy change. Too much change at once can be very overwhelming and stressful. For example, if your cat is fed 4 times a day, make it 3 for a week or so, until you get to the normal norm.

Lastly, always measure your cat’s progress-the weight, food intake, minutes of activities, etc. because those figures will always inspire you to do better. Soon, there will be no obese cat on the planet, or at least in your home.

Author Bio

Melianie Cho is a veteran blogger who specializes on various topics including pet care and pet product reviews for :  http://www.realsmart.com.au/pet-care/cat-supplies

Melianie is also an avid pet lover with two adorable kitties.

Last week when I was decluttering some books I came across this: 015so I thought it would be great for a giveaway today. I will also add some crocheted catnip toys to: 016

Just leave a comment to be entered and I will announce a winner tomorrow.

Guest Post by Cat Scout Felix

Happy Friday everyone and Happy May 1st. I am sad to see the a-z challenge end- I wish there were more letters in the alphabet. We are lucky to have a guest post today from Cat Scout Felix.

33-Felix-Hat Greetings! Felix here again to share a wonderful story that combines kitty and maritime history!  Did you know that in Amsterdam, rescued stray cats are sheltered and cared for in several barges floating in the Singel Canal, in the center of the City?

The barges are a major tourist attraction, and are open part of each day to potential adopters and tourists who support the cause. The first barge was acquired in 1969 and named De Poezenboot (Pussycat Boat) by its owner and cat lover, Henriette van Weelde. She wanted to provide a home for orphaned and sick kitties in the city. At first, her rescues stayed in her home, but soon she had too many!

de-poezenbootIn 1971, Henriette purchased a second barge. Soon she acquired another barge and lots of volunteers started to offer their help.

   2014-02-20-13-53-04-690x690 catboat4-690x460
In 1987, the Stichting de Poezenboot (Pussycat Boat Foundation) was established to support the rescue, medical and caregiving activities of this only floating kitty shelter in The Netherlands. The barges are renovated and maintained for seaworthiness and cat comfort and amusement.  Veterinarians provide care at cost or on a voluntary basis.  Events are held throughout the year to publicize the Foundation and its inhabitants!

If you travel to Amsterdam, be sure to visit and make a donation to this worthy cause. It is estimated that the city has over 50,000 stray cats!  Check out their cool website, too!

www.depoezenboot.nl                                                                                             logo-de-poezenboot-gr

 

 

 

 

I’d also like to share with you a story that appeared earlier this week in the Smithsonian Institution’s on-line Magazine. It features more information about maritime pets!

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/adorable-heroic-animals-museum-maritime-pets-180955012/?no-ist 

Thank you for another great story Felix.

Please read our interview it will be available Friday morning at:

http://jansfunnyfarm.blogspot.com/

Thank you Funny Farmers- it was an honor to be interviewed by you.

 

Guest Post:Tracy of The Happy Little Oiler

 

 

 

Happy Tuesday everyone!

My L for the a-z blogging challenge is Lavender. And today we have a guest poster who is going to tell you about using essential oils for cats, and one of those oils is Lavender. Always check with your vet before trying anything though. Now for our guest:

Hello! My name is Tracy from The Happy Little Oiler. I’m absolutely thrilled to be doing a guest post today on how you can use Essential Oils for your pets. Essential oils offer a holistic approach to pet care. There are so many uses for oils on your pets that this could turn into a very long post- so in the interest of saving your keyboard from pooling drool after you’ve fallen asleep reading, I’ll focus on Essential oils for Cats ( simply because, I only have a cat right now and I have enjoyed using oils on her).

Before I dive into essential oils for cats, let me take a minute to stress the importance of using HIGH QUALITY essential oils. They simply must be 100% pure to be most effective. I only recommend using Young Living essential oils and those will be the oils I am specifically mentioning in this post- their quality is simply unmatched. They have their own farms and from the time the seed is planted to the time the oil is bottled they are rigorously tested for purity. In this post I’ll go over what Essential Oils are, how you can use them therapeutically for your pets, and include a few simply DIY recipes to get you started on holistic healing for your furr-babies. Young Living even has an entire line of Essential Oil products for animals.

When someone asks you to describe your family, you of course are going to include your pets.Pets are family members. We strive to give our pets the longest, healthiest lives possible. While I always recommend a veterinarian treat your pets and see them routinely, it is possible to avoid costly vet bills and keep your pet healthy, naturally.

Essential oils have also been used for thousands of years for cosmetic purposes, as well as for their spiritually and emotionally uplifting properties. Essential oil is made by distillation with either water or steam or by mechanical processing of citrus rinds or by dry distillation of natural materials. It is the essence of its source in its purest form.

For your furry family members, Essential Oils can be used for:

  • Ticks and Fleas
  • Hyperactivity
  • Odors
  • Pain relief
  • Allergies
  • Calming

Here are some recipes to get you started:

Homemade Healing Salve for Wounds

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Beeswax
  • 15 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
  • 10 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil

Directions:

1. Melt the coconut oil, olive oil and beeswax in a saucepan over medium heat.

2. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.

3. Add the essential oils and stir until well incorporated.

4. Pour into a plastic storage jar or a glass mason jar.

Note this can be stored for up to a year at room temperature

 

Anxiety and Fear Blend

  • 1/2 oz. Carrier oil ( Fractionated Coconut Oil or Sweet Almond Oil)
  • 3 Drops Vetiver Essential Oil
  • 5 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
  • 2 Drops Clary Sage Essential Oil
  • 2 Drops Marjoram Essential Oil

Add ingredients to a glass spray bottle and mix well. Spray into your palms and massage your pet’s back, ears and foot pads. This is great before a vet visit.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post! If you’d like more information on how to use Essential Oils for your pets or if you’re interested in how to purchase Young Living Essential Oils- you can contact me at:

TheHappyLittleOiler@gmail.com

Facebook.com/TheHappyLittleOiler

TheHappyLittleOiler.Wordpress.com

If you would like to learn more about Essential Oils and Animals there is a great book written by a Holistic Veterinarian, Dr. Melissa Shelton

http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Oils-Natural-Care-Veterinarians/dp/1466243368/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428977756&sr=1-1&keywords=1466243368

 

 

Guest Post Friday-Welcome Back Maggie

Happy Friday everyone! We are fortunate to have Maggie back to write a guest post for us. First off though it the a-z blogging challenge. Today is the letter I :  My word for the day is Inquisitive and that is definitely a word to describe all cats. 012They have to check out every box and bag brought into the house. Now on to our guest:

Hello, everyone, Maggie here once again!  Today I’m going to share two happy stories and one cat legend to celebrate some very lucky maritime felines!

The illustrations that follow are courtesy of the National Maritime Museum in Great Britain.  As you all probably know, the British Navy kept meticulous records of its war and peacetime voyages, and many of their ships’ crew members kept journals and sketchbooks which recorded amusing and endearing facts about their ships’ mascots.

Many other national Navies and merchant ships also kept good records, and the Museum of Maritime Pets has gathered much of that material into a central clearing house.  Felix Cat Scout and I are very lucky to help our mom with researching new and old stories about seafaring kitties throughout the ages!

One very famous maritime cat hero was Oscar, a tuxedo who originally shipped out on the German battleship Bismarck, which was sunk in 1941.  The British destroyer HMS Cossack rescued Oscar and some of his shipmates, but Cossack was sunk herself soon thereafter.  The surviving crew, including Oscar, were transferred to the British aircraft carrier Ark Royal, which was then also torpedoed!  Oscar ended up on a floating plank of wood, to be rescued yet another time.  He became famous as a “bad omen,” so could not find another ship to join up with.  Luckily for him, he spent his remaining days at a Sailors’ Home in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Talk about nine lives!

     Oscar awaiting one of his rescues.  G.S. Baker

Jimmy, owned by an Australian soldier who was wounded in WWI and could no longer care for him, was adopted by a British Navy cook serving on the battleship HMS King George V.  Jimmy’s ship belonged to a large fleet taking part in the Battle of Jutland in 1916.  During that battle, Jimmy was wounded by shrapnel, and was transferred several months later to the battle cruiser HMS Renown, where he preferred to hang out in the galley rather than on deck!

Jimmy later moved to a Cats’ Home in Chelsea, Great Britain, and lived peacefully until 1924.

Jimmy at leisure.  G.S. Baker          

And, now a little tidbit about ships’ legends and lore.  Many seamen believe that cats have a sixth sense about impending danger, changes in the weather and other important matters affecting safety and harmony aboard ship.  You all know about the Titanic, which sank on her maiden voyage from Britain to New York in 1912.  Stories surfaced after the tragedy that a cat and her kittens had sailed with the ship from Belfast to Southampton, but they disembarked prior to the final leg of the journey.

What do you think caused mama cat to do that?

Guest Post By Cat Scout Felix

 

Hi, Cat Scout Felix here 000_0003to share with you the story of a famous post-World War II mascot in the British Navy. I am particularly fond of this fellow, because like me, he was a tuxedo!!

ABLE SEAMAN SIMON

Simon was born in Hong Kong in 1946. He hung around the supply store where ships picked up their provisions, and was discovered there by commander of the British Royal Navy frigate HMS Amethyst. Captain Griffiths loved cats, and took an immediate liking to Simon. Rats were a huge problem on Amethyst and every ship. They raided food storage areas and also carried viruses which could be passed on to crew members. Captain Griffiths took Simon aboard to become the ship’s mascot and ratter.

Simon made himself at home in the Captain’s quarters, and he shared meals with the crew. He became an avid hunter, and caught rats in every part of the ship. Rather than eat his prey, however, he laid the dead rats at the Captain’s feet.

In 1949, under her new commander, Captain Skinner, Amethyst because involved unwittingly in the Chinese war, which changed the crews’ lives forever.

The ship was scheduled to sail up the Yangtze River toward Nanking, where the Communists and Nationalists had lined up on separate sides of the river. A temporary truce was in effect, and Amethyst was to be on stand-by to evacuate the British from the area if needed.

On her way up the river, Amethyst was bombarded twice, and she went ground before reaching Nanking. The Captain and several crew members were killed, and Simon was wounded with shrapnel and burns. He was looked after by the ship’s medical officer,but his heart had become weak and his wounds took a long time to heal.

Simon+being+held (1)Simon1

Simon’s wounded shipmates enjoyed his company in the sick bay, but he soon resumed his ratting duties, splitting his time between that chore and keeping the men company. The ship’s Petty Officer John Webb was very fond of Simon, and made sure he always had a comfortable bunk and food to eat.

Amethyst was stuck in the Yangtze River for two hot months, while a diplomatic and military standoff was in effect. She soon faced a typhoon while at anchor, and Simon wisely stayed below decks. During the long ordeal, Amethyst’s supplies, fuel and food had become badly depleted. Finally her new commander, Captain Kerans, received orders to turn the ship around and return down the river to join the rest of the British fleet. Amethyst was bombarded several times on this voyage, but she finally reached safety more than three months after embarking on the original mission.

Captain Kerans lifted Simon above his head to signal their triumph to the crew. Soon thereafter, Simon was awarded an Amethyst Campaign Ribbon for his services ( see picture). He was also awarded the prestigious Dickin Medal by The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, which honored animals exhibiting great courage during times of war.

Simon+w+his+ribbon

This was the first time the Dickin had been awarded to a cat or to a Royal Navy animal. A ribbon was sent for Simon to wear, and there were photos, gifts and fan mail before Amethyst set sail for England. His formal medal presentation was scheduled for December 11, 1949.

Amethyst finally arrived in England after getting necessary repairs, but Simon had to be quarantined for six months. Although he received many visits from well-wishers and his shipmates ( including Captain Griffiths and Kerans), Simon succumbed to his weak heart less than a month later, and he did not live to enjoy his own medal presentation ceremony.

Simon’s passing caused a sensation, and letters and flowers arrived by the truckload to his last resting place at the quarantine station in Hackbridge. Time Magazine even ran Simon’s obituary.

The Dickin Medal presentation ceremony was held posthumously, and Simon’s award was received on his behalf by his last commanding officer, Captain Kerans. The medal stayed on Amethyst until she was decommissioned, and then it moved to various locations. It is now owned by The Eaton Film Company in London.

simon_grave_1” Throughout the Yangtze incident his behavior was of the highest order.” Inscription on Simon’s grave stone. He is buried at the PDSA animal cemetery at Ilford, England.

Thank you Felix , for an excellent post. And the winner of the book, Eight Hundred Grapes,is Tux (  http://tuxthedappergent.com/ ) . Congratulations! And be sure to enter our Easter and Passover giveaway everyone.014