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Cats and the Naval Services

War Veteran - Pooli, who rates three service ribbons and four battle stars, shows she can still  get into her old uniform as she prepares to celebrate her 15th birthday.  The cat served aboard an attack transport during World War II. Los Angeles, 1959

My wife Tracy and I have four wonderful cats. And so, when I came upon this post on Cats and the Sea Services by the U.S Naval Institute, I could not resist. As the post explains:

Sailors and cats have a special relationship that dates back thousands of years. It is likely that the ancient Egyptians were the first seafarers to realize the true value of having cats as shipmates. In addition to offering sailors much needed companionship on long voyages, cats provided protection by ridding ships of vermin. Without the presence of cats, a crew might find their ship overrun with rats and mice that would eat into the provisions, chew through ropes and spread disease. The more superstitious sailors believed that cats protected them by bringing good luck. It was also common for crews to adopt cats from the foreign lands they visited to serve as souvenirs as well as reminders of their pets at home.

Go to the post for more excellent photos of kitties and sailors! The photos here are courtesy the Naval Institute.

Why dont you leave me alone so I can get some shut eye? New mascot Saipan of the USS New Mexico tries to get comfortable. The New Mexico provided support during the  U.S. Marine invasion of Saipan in 1944, so it it likely the cat was rescued after the battle.

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Welcome! Who am I?



Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.