Here are a few more Hero Felines

Fighting in trenches had its own unique dangers such as poison gas attacks, and disease spread by the many rodents who took up residence with the soldiers in these filthy, muddy battle ditches. To help protect soldiers from disease, over 500,000 cats were drafted into the service of their country and dispatched to the trenches. Their job was to kill rats and mice.

Not only were cats sent to battle vermin in the trenches, they were also placed on navy ships. Whether they liked water or not, these sea-bound cats took their duty seriously and worked hard to keep their ships mouse and rat free.

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Pitouchi

Pitouchi

According to the story, which is, by the way, quoted in the book Soldiers in Fur and Feathers by Susan Bulanda, Lekeux found Pitouchi as a kitten. His mother had been killed, leaving him all alone. So, the soldier adopted and took care of Pitouchi. In return, the cat gave him his loyalty by following the Lekeux wherever he went.

One time, Lekeux was on a spot near the German lines when he saw they were digging a new trench. So, he hid in a nearby shell hole and sketched the new construction they were doing. However, he got so engrossed in his work he was not able to notice that there were approaching German soldiers. When he finally noticed the incoming enemy, it was too late for him to run.

Left with no other choice, Lekeux decided to just lie very still hoping that the Germans did not see him. However, when the enemy soldiers got close, he heard one of them say “He’s in the hole” which meant only one thing — he had been spotted. Being captured or killed was imminent.

To his amazement, Pitouchi, who was with him throughout the time, jumped out of the shell hole onto a timber piece lodging nearby. The Germans got startled they fired twice at the cat. Fortunately, Pitouchi was not hit and only jumped back into the shell hole where his owner was hiding.

The Germans, on the other hand, laughed and jokingly said to each other they had mistaken a cat for a man and left the area. Lekeux was able to finish his sketch before he went back into the Belgian lines with his unharmed cat on his shoulder.

 

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Private First Class Hammer

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(Picture Credit: Pinterest via Petslady.com)

U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq were joined in their tent one night in 2004 by a kitten who was born on their base. The kitten’s littermates had run off, but he stayed with the army unit, chasing off mice who would have eaten or contaminated the soldiers’ food. But even more important than his role as a mouser, the cat served his soldier buddies as a friend and source of comfort in an extremely stressful situation.

The soldiers made him an honorary member of their unit, naming him Private First Class Hammer. When it came time for the unit to go back home to the United States, Staff Sgt. Rick Bousfield couldn’t let one of his comrades get left behind. He wrote a passionate letter to Alley Cat Allies, a rescue group that was moved by Pfc. Hammer’s story. They raised money to transport the cat to the U.S. where members of his unit were waiting to give him a hero’s welcome. Pfc. Hammer lived out the rest of his days with Bousfield and his family until he passed away in 2015.

 

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Crimean Tom

Some choose to be heroes, while others become heroes completely by accident. In 1854, British and French soldiers endured the hardships of Russian winter as they began a siege of the port of Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula. It was a full year before troops could search the remains of the port, and by then they were suffering. Captain William Gair found a large tabby cat in a cellar while investigating. The cat was very tame and didn’t scratch or hiss. He seemed unaffected by all the chaos of the siege, as rats were in large supply on the port, even in winter.

The cat came back to the officer’s shelter, where soldiers loved him. They called him Crimean Tom. One day, Tom ran out of the military compound, and some of the men followed him. He led them to a pile of rubble, attracted by the rats that were living inside of it. That rubble hid a storeroom that was blocked off to humans, but easily accessible by the small feline. The men uncovered the room and found it full of food. The soldiers, suffering from hunger, were very relieved. Tom continued to show the men hidden storerooms that held food by following the rats. The cat was hailed as a hero and returned to London where he tragically passed away a year later. His body was stuffed and given to the Royal United Service Institution.

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We Salute the Veteran Felines Who Served!