Did you know that September 19th is Meow Like A Pirate Day? You probably won’t get a paid holiday off from work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. As it turns out, kitties have done very well on ships … despite the fact that most of them absolutely hate water! A Seminole, FL vet offers some information on pirate kitties in this article.
It’s not hard to imagine fearless furballs climbing masts and even walking planks. Cats have been accompanying their humans on ships for thousands of years. Studies of feline bones at archaeological sites have revealed that Fluffy had already set her cute paws onboard ships by the 7th century. It’s also known that the ancient Egyptians brought cats—whom they revered as sacred—with them on ships.
While it’s entirely possible that Fluffy simply walked onto someone’s boat and refused to leave, she may well have been invited onboard. There are some clear benefits to having cats on ships. Our feline buddies are great at catching rodents. This is extremely helpful on a ship! Vermin can contaminate food stores, and damage rope, wood, and wiring. Plus, given that rats carried plague fleas, kitties likely helped keep sailors (and pirates) safer!
There are actually several notable seafaring kitties. There’s Camouflage, from the U.S. Coast Guard LST. Camouflage became known for chasing after enemy chaser rounds, in what may have been our feline pals’ earliest version of chasing lasers. There’s also Trim, from the HMS Investigator. French officials actually arrested Trim for spying! Another famous kitty was Ms. Chippy, a tabby on the Endurance, which explorer Ernest Shackleton took to Antarctica. True to kitty form, Chippy was known for climbing the rigging. The fearless kitty once fell overboard, but fortunately was scooped up with a net by the ship’s biologist.
Kitties have also made the leap to space, at least in science fiction: There’s Pixel, from Robert Heinlein’s The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, and of course, Jonesy, from Alien.
So how does one celebrate Meow Like A Pirate Day? Fluffy probably wouldn’t mind a special treat of fish, such as cod, mackerel, or salmon. You can also get your furball a catnip fish, or perhaps a scratching board shaped like a ship.
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