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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Saturday, September 08, 2007

cats that go down to the sea in ships

I know sailors like cats. Cats catch rats and mice that eat rations, and sailors think cats bring luck anyway. (Of course they do.)

I did not know that the most celebrated ship's cat of modern times was Simon, of the HMS Amethyst. Born in Hong Kong in 1947, Simon was found in his dockyard home by Seaman George Hickinbottom of the Amethyst. The black and white cat looked in need of a better home, so Hickinbottom smuggled him on board. Turns out there was a pressing need for a ratcatcher among the crew, so Simon stayed. He became best buds with the ship's captain, and was wounded in an attack on the Amethyst by Communist forces in 1949. When a particularly large and heinous rat, nicknamed "Mao Tse-Tung" by the crew, tyrannized the ship, Simon did battle and came out the winner.

Simon died in 1949, safe on British ground, after a short but lionized life. You should read all about him here.


Radcliff, Allie, Luna & Ozzie said...

Reading Simon's story reminded the Food Source of a book he'd read years ago - The Abandoned by Paul Gallico.

In that book, Peter has a battle with a huge rat on board a ship, similar to Simon's battle with 'Mao Tse-Tung'. The Gallico book came out in 1950, just a couple years after Simon's adventures.

Doesn't prove anything, but is at least an odd coincidence, if nothing else.

curator said...

Wow, I'd never read that Gallico book. Sounds very similar indeed. Hey thanks, Food Source! How are you guys? -- Better yet - I'll come visit.

Radcliff, Allie, Luna & Ozzie said...

Hi, Curator. So far as we know, Anastasia has not come back. There may be a few kitties and beans still hoping, but no one's much expecting her any more. Karl and Anastasia live in the desert outside of Tucson, and predators are plentiful. :(

If you want more information (than you need, likely) check out here, here, and here, among other Cat Realm posts.

Gigolo Kitty said...

That is so lovely. The Giggy regretfully never kills the mice/rats he meets. He believes in non-violence when it comes to doing the dirty work.

I have added you to our blogroll.

Radcliff, Allie, Luna & Ozzie said...

We were wandering and wondering around the web recently, and found a site called Purr 'n' Fur that has enough information about cats we're gonna be there for a couple days, likely.

Among other things, they have a page about Simon with pictures, and some information about Simon's 'first captain', Lt Cdr Griffiths, along with a couple more pages about cats at war.

We just thought you might want to know about them.