It is not uncommon for pets to be seen as heroes or as full members of a company during war or conflict. It is dogs and horses that are generally entitled to such honors, but they are not the only ones since cats have also played a major role in many military events throughout history.
The following list presents five cats who were considered heroes by their fellow soldiers.
Tom, the Crimean Cat
Tom's story takes place during the Crimean War in the 1850s. Historically, the battle that forms the heart of this conflict has been the siege of the Russian city of Sevastopol by French and British troops. The siege lasted for a year and the two sides were both strapped for food. While looking for something to eat in a Russian cellar, a British lieutenant named William Gair noticed a cat that was sitting on a pile of debris with a completely serene expression. He took the cat with him and named him Tom.
At the shelter of the officers, they noticed that the cat appeared to be well fed. This is how the British soldiers decided to follow him to see where he found so many mice for food. They came to a pile of rubble that actually hid a warehouse full of food.
At the end of the war, Gair decided to take Tom to England. The heroic cat died in 1856 and his body was stuffed before being donated to the Royal United Services Institution. Today, what is believed to be the remains of the cat nicknamed "The Crimean Cat" is on display at the National Army Museum.
Mourka, the hero of Stalingrad
We have all heard of the Battle of Stalingrad which is one of the bloodiest in contemporary history and which took place during World War II. During this period, crossing the city was very dangerous for soldiers carrying messages.
It was there that a Russian officer noticed that a cat named Mourka, who lived in the army headquarters, always found a way to reach his bowl.
This is how the cat was assigned the mission of accompanying the scouts on a mission in the city. These then attached reports on the German troops to the collar of the feline which then crossed the city to find the headquarters where it was fed and cared for. After several successful missions, Mourka disappeared without leaving a trace during an operation, a real hero of the war.
Sam the cat we can't sink
The following story tells of a cat named Sam who was closely involved in the naval battles of World War II. In May 1941, Allied ships finally managed to sink the German vessel Bismarck after three days of battle. The victors then spotted a black and white cat amid the remains of the German ship.
The British crew of HMS Cossack then named it Oscar. Five months later it was HMS Cossack's turn to be torpedoed by a German U-boat, and once again the cat survived, and was then nicknamed "Unsinkable Sam" or Sam, the cat. that cannot be made to sink.
And Sam's story does not end there since in November 1941, he was transferred to the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal which was also part of the vessels that sank the Bismarck. Three weeks later, HMS Ark Royal was torpedoed, however, Sam once again survived. After that, the cat retired from the military and spent the rest of his life catching mice for the Governor of Gibraltar and then in a sailor's house in Belfast.
Pearl Harbor Pooli
The cat named Princess Papule, or Pooli, was born at Pearl Harbor Naval Base on July 4, 1944. She was taken aboard the USS Fremont by Sailor James Lynch and then participated in the Battles of the Pacific during World War II, as well as the invasions of Saipan, Palau, Leyte, and Iwo Jima.
According to reports, Pooli preferred to sleep in the mail room during the fighting. After crossing the equator for the first time, she participated in a ceremony that marked the transformation of sailors from novice to experienced. During this event, the cat was treated to her own uniform and received three service ribbons and four war stars for her time in the Navy. Pooli later had the opportunity to take his uniform again for the Los Angeles Times, which published its history to celebrate its 15th anniversary.
Hammer, the "Private First Class" cat
Closer to our time is the story of Hammer, an Egyptian Mau cat who was born at Balad Air Base, 80 km north of Baghdad, Iraq. In March 2004, Sergeant Rick Bousfield and his team were to leave the country, but the sergeant knew their cat was to come with them. According to him, Hammer also suffered from mortar attacks and he was scared like all soldiers. The latter also put him under their protective suits to protect him.
To thank the soldiers, the cat was busy hunting mice, and its role as such, as well as being a way for the military to de-stress, earned it the appointment of Private First Class. Bousfield thus moved heaven and earth to be able to bring Hammer back to the United States. He contacted the organizations Alley Cat Allies and Military Mascots. The latter managed to raise a sum of 2,500 dollars for sterilization, vaccines, the necessary documents, and a flight from Kuwait for the feline. Thus, Hammer was able to join Bousfield in his house in Colorado Springs where there were already 5 cats, a dog, a hamster and a gecko.