QE2 Story Forum

Non-QE2 Area => Sea Shanties => Topic started by: Lynda Bradford on Nov 25, 2010, 09:25 AM

Title: Ships Cats
Post by: Lynda Bradford on Nov 25, 2010, 09:25 AM
I was intrigued to read a story about a ships’ cat, Simon,  who was awarded the PDSA Dickens medal for bravery  in 1949 during the Yangtze incident. 

I found this web site that lists ships’ cats on vessels during the second world war, the name of the cat and their story.  (Scroll down from the top of the page for the information)


This led me to look for further information on ships’ cats and I found that the Royal Navy had banned cats from ships in 1975, which suggested that cats on ships was indeed common.   Are there people on the forum who served on ships that had a ship’s cat?  Did the cats come  on board the ship of their own accord or were they brought onboard by ship’s crew.? Was it only the Royal Navy who banned cats or the merchant navy as well.?

I would love to hear from any members who has information on ships’ cats
Title: Re: Ships Cats
Post by: Twynkle on Nov 25, 2010, 09:28 AM

This was (hopefully still is!) the most special cat of all!

Title: Re: Ships Cats
Post by: Jem on Nov 25, 2010, 11:22 AM
Simon was an amazing cat wasn't he? So sad he died while in quarantine, I think he missed his ship mates.
Here's a link to where a lot of the DM medal holders are buried.
Title: Re: Ships Cats
Post by: Lynda Bradford on Nov 25, 2010, 11:56 AM

Thanks for the link to the PDSA with information on where the animals who were awarded the DM are buried.  I read somewhere that Simon was the only cat in receipt of the medal.  It is amazing how brave animals can be. 


I had forgotten about that post, maybe I should merge with this one. 
Title: Re: Ships Cats
Post by: Bruce Nicholls on Dec 07, 2010, 10:19 PM
Cleo, ships cat here on Lone Gerd. Perhaps not quite in the same league as Simon, but a dab hand at the navigating.
Title: Re: Ships Cats
Post by: Lynda Bradford on Dec 08, 2010, 10:38 AM
Bruce, thanks for posting the photo of your ship's cat, Cleo.  We have a cat who is very vocal and always telling us what to do so I can just imagine Cleo helping with the navigation.    How does she cope with living on your cruising home? 
Title: Re: Ships Cats
Post by: Bruce Nicholls on Dec 08, 2010, 11:17 PM

Cleo is also very vocal. She is not in truth the worlds best sailor, although we used to take her boating even before we moved on board Lone Gerd. On our first trip, from poole to the Isle of Wight she was sea sick in one of my shoes. Fortunately I was not wearing it at the time. By day two on the move she is back to normal though. She is good at pontoons and visiting other boats but knows where she lives.

Title: Re: Ships Cats
Post by: Mauretania1907 on Dec 10, 2010, 08:58 AM
There were cats aboard British merchant ships until about 1970s when they were banned because of the fear of disease being spread by unquarantined animals. I suspect nearly all Cunarders in the early parts of last century had one or more ship's cats aboard. I have a very poor photo of Captain Sir Arthur Rostron's cat with her kittens aboard the 1907 Mauretania.
Title: Re: Ships Cats
Post by: Bruce Nicholls on Dec 10, 2010, 10:08 AM
Quarantine is what would have done it. As rabies gradually moved north through Europe the UK became paranoid about it, although ships had been coming from rabid parts of the world for time immemorial without there being major outbreaks here that I am aware of.
We were surprised to see notices in Dover Marina in the old inner harbour saying that foreign boats are allowed pets on board as long as they did not step ashore. Hope they can all read read!
Title: Re: Ships Cats
Post by: Peter Mugridge on Dec 10, 2010, 10:15 AM
And just how effective is quarantine, considering that several rabid bats have been found in the UK in recent years and that bats have been observed to fly across to and from Europe?
Title: Re: Ships Cats
Post by: Lynda Bradford on Dec 10, 2010, 10:32 AM
Interesting to read that the fear of the spread of rabies had led to the ban of cats onboard ships. After reading your post Mauretania I wondered if rats and mice onboard ship could also be responsible for the spread of rabies. But apparently it is rare for small mammels to carry the disease. 

Bruce I can just imagine the cats reading the notice then doing whatever they wanted (as cats do). The Telegraph had an article last year about a cat that went into a container in a container ship in Egypt and was not found until the ship reached England a month later.  The cat was hungry but survived.