Cats On Ships
The public may not think of cats on ships. Generally people think of cats as pets in our homes where they are protected and loved.
This article is about ships cats. As I had not given any thought to cats on the high seas, I found information about ships cats to be intriguing and interesting. Thus the writing of this article.
Cats on board a ship are highly valued possibly more than on shore. They roam the ships holds to catch rats that infest the ships.
In sixteenth century Europe, brown rats joined the black rats.
Brown rats colonize everywhere. They can thrive in conditions not suitable for black rats. The holds of ships often wereteeming with rats and the cats were the only way of keeping them under control.
Soon the cats became a necessary addition to staff of offices, shops,warehouses, government buildings and royal palaces.
Ships cats came aboard and went ashore at will but usually they were loyal to their own ship. Kittens were born on board at sea. When old enough they might disembark at a port far from the
land where they were conceived. By starting a new life in a new land to them, cats of new shapes and colors were carried around the world.
Ships cats played a vital role on British ships and had official status in the Royal Navy unitil 1975 when problems with various countries quarantine laws ended this rich tradition. See the above picture of a Royal Sailor with a ships cat.
Even though the cat is quite independent, it has insuated itself into lives and hearts of many,establishing itself firmly and irreccably, first as a fireside pet. Then later as an object of aquistion as specific breeds developed.
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