7 Cats That Made History
National Cat Day is just around the corner, and to celebrate the fluffy felines we love the most, we wanted to share with just how much of an impact they've made; enough to warrant a day dedicated just to them!
Your cat might be destined to make hisstory like these fine felines - if not on a global scale, at least on a personal note. Cats can change our lives - and oftentimes it all comes down to a simple purr.
1. Oskar the "Unsinkable" Cat
You know the old saying cats have nine lives? We know Oskar had at least three. This wartime kitty was on three different ships during wartime that sunk, and managed to survive them all. Oskar was aboard the German battleship Bismarck in 1941 when it was struck by British forces during World War II. He was rescued by the British and taken to live aboard the destroyer Cossack, but his time there was cut short after that ship was also sunk a few months later. Fortunately, Oskar survived to live through a third and final shipwreck: the sinking of the aircraft carrier Ark Royal, which went down just three weeks after he came aboard. Oskar earned the moniker “Unsinkable Sam” and gained immortality as a maritime hero.
2. The First Cat In Space
The first-ever cat to be launched successfully into space was Félicette, a French feline with mysterious origins; it is unknown if she was a stray or from a breeder before her journey into space. While most early animal missions into space were, unfortunately, one-way trips, Félicette was safely recovered after parachuting back down to Earth. If you're a fan of cats, space, and want to celebrate the intrepid spirit of Felicette, try our astrocat-inspired enamel pin!
3. The Cat Who Co-Authored a Physics Paper
Chester, a humble Siamese, is the cat is the only cat to be credited with writing a scientific paper. The physics paper was printed in 1975 under the feline's nom de plume, F.D.C. Willard, alongside his owner, Michigan State professor Jack Hetherington. After mistakenly typing the entire paper using the royal "we" instead of "I", Hetherington realized the periodical had strict rules: If an article used plural words such as "we," it had to have two or more people listed as the authors. So instead of retyping the entire paper via typewriter, Hetherington instead added his cat, Chester, under an assumed name: F.D.C. Willard: "Felix Domesticus, Chester" with Willard being the name of Chester's own dad.
Voilà – Chester was now the co-author of a prestigious physics paper/
4. The Millionaire Cat
Blackie the cat is known to be the richest cat in history. When his owner died in 1988 after a successful life of antique dealing, he left him with a $12.5 million inheritance. Blackie resided in his owner's extravagant mansion with 15 other cats, but he had the luck to be the sole surviving feline heir. Instead of leaving his fortune to his family, Blackie's owner decided to divide the bulk of his estate between three cat charities, which he tasked with taking care of Blackie.
5. The Crime-Solving Kitty
Cats are famous for their ability to get cat hair on every surface. In this case, one cat's stark white fur would be the linchpin in solving a murder. Snowball was an all-white cat owned by a Canadian couple on Prince Edward Island, Canada. In 1994, their son, Douglas Beamish, was living with them while on parole. When Beamish' estranged ex-wife was found murdered, the Royal Caadian Mounted Police (RCMP) suspected Beamish - but had no evidence. Until they found 27 white cat hairs on the lining a blood-soaked jacket found at the scene. The hairs were DNA tested - which hadn't been done on animals before - and they came as a positive match to Snowball. Experts tested 20 other cats from the area to prove that the DNA signature was rare. The result was a second-degree murder conviction and 15-year prison sentence for Beamish.
Snowball's also case inspired others around the globe to look to pet fur for clues in criminal cases and set a precedent for other cases. In this instance, we can really say that we were grateful for cat hair being everywhere!
6. Honorable Mayor Stubbs
Stubbs the Cat was given the title "Honorary Mayor" after a rumor spread that Stubbs was elected mayor via write-in-bid by townsfolk who were unhappy with the other human candidates. However, there was no write-in. Stubbs was never officially elected mayor but was given the title after the story gained national attention. He sadly passed away in 2017 after 20 years of service to his community.
7. Scarlett the Heroic Momma Cat of the '90s
Scarlett the Cat became something of a hero in 1996 after she rescued all five of her kittens from a house fire. This brave mother faced the flames and carried her babies out one by one, blinded by blisters and burns on her eyes. She touched each one of the rescued kittens with her nose to make sure they were okay before collapsing. She and her kittens survived and her heroic efforts ensured that they all found safe, happy homes.
Scarlett's story went on to inspire two books and the introduction of a new award for animal heroism by the North Shore Animal League, The Scarlett Award.
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