• Sat. May 18th, 2024

Why Did Sailors Provide Cats On Their Ships? The Fascinating Solution!


Feb 4, 2023
Cat lying down on sailboat


Cat lying down on sailboat

Sailors and cats have a prolonged and storied historical past alongside one another. Egyptian sailors had been almost certainly the very first to deliver cats along for voyages to present companionship and vermin command. Proof also indicates that kitties accompanied Viking explorers 1.

A friendly feline was frequently the best way to defend a ship’s rations from becoming damaged into and wrecked by ever-existing mice and rats. Sailors also usually observed cats for clues about upcoming temperature, as several considered cats could predict storms. All through historical past, sailors have adopted cats when in port to continue to keep them organization while absent from property. Numerous US and Royal Navy vessels have had unofficial feline mascots.


How Did Cats Aid Sailors?

Cats furnished vermin handle, weather conditions warnings, and companionship. Rats and mice were being usually located on ships, captivated by grain suppliers and other rations. Rodents created challenges by chewing by way of ropes and contaminating saved foods. Productive pest handle was typically a subject of existence or death for individuals touring the large seas.

Cats also presented seafarers with facts about the weather conditions. Because cats can detect barometric pressure changes, they are generally in a position to perception oncoming storms. Sailors frequently watched cats for clues, like attempting to get off the ship, to assistance judge future weather disorders.

But cats also offered companionship to sailors absent from house and beloved types for many years at a time. Ships’ cats in the contemporary period have usually served as mascots, even through times of war. They had been normally dealt with as adored crew members and provided their possess kitty hammocks. Some ships experienced a number of cats, and kittens were being usually born on board and raised by crew customers.

Siamese cat sitting on front of catamaran sailing boat
Impression Credit history: ela_elarts, Shutterstock

What Was Existence Like for Ships’ Cats?

Ships’ cats had been dealt with quite well—most were regarded as full crew customers. Cats that died at sea ended up usually specified sea burials with comprehensive honors. They had been critical adequate to spur times of cooperation in between enemy combatants. Just one crew questioned the commander of the U-Boat, who had torpedoed their vessel, to enable them to return to their sinking ship to preserve their ship’s cat, Mickey. The German commander agreed and permitted the rescue action.

Are Cats Definitely Superior at Catching Mice?

It is dependent completely on the cat! Some get pleasure from flexing their looking chops, and other individuals just could not be bothered. Indoor cats that have far more than more than enough to consume are normally disinclined to stalk, kill, and consume mice they may possibly come across. And whilst they can hear and odor mice, indoor cats usually don’t have access to the spots rodents like to cover, this sort of as amongst walls and in crawl spaces.

Out of doors pets, on the other hand, are generally very proficient killers, liable for killing untold quantities of tiny critters. Back in 2013, outdoor cats were being responsible for the dying of around 12.3 billion modest animals and 2.4 billion birds for each year in the US alone. Ownerless cats have a tendency to be greater hunters and frequently prey on birds, rodents, and other small creatures.

Are There Any Myths about Cats and Ships?

Some sailing legends maintain that cats provide good luck, especially polydactyl cats with additional digits. These kitties’ extra toes were thought to give them an benefit when it arrived to catching pests and being on their toes in tough seas. The famous polydactyl cats who are living in Ernest Hemmingway’s aged house in Important West are descended from a multi-toed kitty provided to the author by a ship’s captain.

Cats had been also believed to have magical powers, including remaining able to preserve ships protected in storms. Sailors considered remaining approached by a cat brought great luck. Undesirable luck ensued if a cat began to you and then turned and walked absent. Cats were being also considered to be capable of summoning storms utilizing their tails. Folklore held that cats that fell overboard summoned storms in retribution and dished out 9 a long time of terrible luck to any survivors of their watery wrath.

a cat on a yacht
Impression Credit rating: Nikiforov Alexander, Shutterstock



Sailors have been bringing cats on board to give rodent manage and information and facts about the temperature for ages, but they ended up also taken on voyages to offer companionship for the duration of long journeys. A lot of served as unofficial but effectively-liked mascots. Some cats on military vessels ended up deemed honored crew customers and generally delivered with cozy locations to curl up and little hammocks to slumber in. Cats that died at sea were being even given burials with total honors.

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