Cats in 20th Century History (Cats in War-Faith the Church Cat)

Faith the church cat was awarded a PDSA silver medal for her bravery during the London Blitz on October 12, 1945.  In 1936, Faith, a stray cat, came to take up residence at St. Augustine’s church.  After being turned away three times, Father Henry Ross allowed her to stay.  Even though notices were posted, no one […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in War-Simon)

Several cats earned awards and medals for their distinguished service during wartime.  Created in 1943, the Dickin Medal, also known as the Animals Victory Cross, is awarded to animals for “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty” while serving in Britian’s military or civil service.  The only cat to have gotten this award to date is […]

Cats in 20th Century History (Cats in War-Unsinkable Sam)

Even though some refute the story of this buoyant cat as being true, it is an amazing story of survival which most probably inspired hope in bleak wartime. The black and white cat Oscar , or as he later became known, Unsinkable Sam, was ship’s mascot on the German battleship Bismarck. Out of a crew […]

Cats in 20th Century History (Cats in War)

  Throughout both World War I and World War II cats in war exhibited bravery in extreme situations.  Serving on battleships and in the trenches, cats proved their heroism in dire circumstances by doing what they were best at, being mousers, mascots, and affectionate companions.  During WWI, the British employed more than 500,000 cats to […]

Cats in 20th Century History (Mrs. Chippy)

As WWI was just beginning, an adventurous cat, Mrs. Chippy, accompanied Sir Ernest Shackleton‘s Antarctic voyage of 1914/15.  Mrs. Chippy, a grey tabby tomcat, acquired his name because he constantly followed around the ship’s carpenter and master shipwright Henry (Harry) McNeish.  “Chippy” is a British nickname for a carpenter, and even though the cat was […]

Cats in the 20th Century History (Sir Winston Churchill’s Cats)

Cats have even been long standing residents of 10 Downing Street brought to the address by Prime Ministers and other staff as mousers or as just pets.  However, perhaps the most famous cat lover and resident of 10 Downing Street was Sir Winston Churchill, who served as Britain’s prime minister from 1940-1945 and 1951-1955. Sir […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-Haruki Murakami)

The Japanese author, Haruki Murakami known for liking and having cats has included them in many of his works.  In The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle the story revolves around Toru Okada’s missing cat that he loves more than any of the women with whom he has encounters.  The cat also serves as an omen for the […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-Jack Kerouac)

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) author of On the Road (1957) wrote about the death of one of his favorite cats, Tyke, in his memoir Big Sur (1962). Tyke was Kerouac’s calico Persian whose death he strangely equated with his little brother Gerard’s.  Jack writes that it was Gerard “who’d taught me to love cats when I […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-Doris Lessing)

The noble prize winning author Doris Lessing was influenced by her deep relationships with cats.  In An Old Woman and Her Cat (1972) the main character Hetty, poor, widowed and abandoned by her children finds her only comfort in her faithful tomcat.  Both outcasts of society, Hetty dies of exposure while trying to hide from […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-William S. Burroughs)

Norman Mailer said of William S. Burroughs that he was “The only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius.” Penguin books described him as “one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century.”  Even so, the cranky Burroughs had a special affinity for his cats and […]

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