history 14 Notably Awesome Cats from History  

Julie Ershadi
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Cats are wonderful creatures capable of a great many feats, from nearly always landing on their feet to providing some of the best cuddles known to man. But you may not realize there are all sorts of historically important cats as well. Just like dogs, cats are unique animals in that they have been domesticated - albeit only partially - to live alongside humans and cooperate in accomplishing common goals.

Though chief among these is rodent control, in modern history there have been individual cats here and there who have made names for themselves in other ways. Some have survived shipwrecks, careers in government, and even space travel. Some famous cats in history have been spooky, while others have just been downright lucky.

Take a moment to imagine what it must be like to be not only cute, cuddly, and fuzzy, but also daring, cunning, and adventurous? These cats don't have to imagine - they've lived the furry and fabulous life of one of the many awesome cats who made history.

Humphrey, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office at 10 Downing Street


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Video: YouTube

Humphrey was a longhaired black and white cat, gainfully employed as Chief Mouser of 10 Downing Street (the British Prime Minister's official residence), from 1989 to 1997. Humphrey shares this distinction with a long line of other cats who have received the official title of Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. While one can infer what his duties entailed, Humphrey is special among his colleagues for being the subject of catnapping and murder rumors in the Parliament during Tony Blair's term.

Humphrey enjoyed a peaceful retirement until his 2006 passing, while under the care of a former Cabinet Officer, as well as a delightful video memorial, as seen above. 

Unsinkable Sam, Survivor of Shipwrecks


Unsinkable Sam, Survivor of Sh... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 14 Notably Awesome Cats from History
Photo:  DrunkenPeasant/Imgur

Also known as Oscar or Oskar, Unsinkable Sam lived during the World War II era and supposedly survived three separate shipwrecks, one in the German Kriegsmarine and two in the British Royal Navy. On all three occasions, Sam was found clinging to a floating plank. Veering from astounding to unbelievable, Sam's story is one of the numerous enduring tales of survival from that tragic period of history.

FĂ©licette, Explorer of the Final Frontier


FĂ©licette, Explorer of the Fin... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 14 Notably Awesome Cats from History
Photo:  Eilemaa/CNES/CC BY-SA 4.0

When you've got nine lives, you might as well spend one of them exploring the cosmos! Félicette was sent into space by CNES (the French government space agency) on October 18, 1963; they studied her neural responses via electrodes implanted in her brain. She earned her literal 15 minutes of fame, spending just a quarter of an hour up there before retrieval by parachute descent.

Alas, her astronomical success was rewarded with an abrupt end: she was thereafter put to sleep so scientists could study the neural impulses stored by the electrodes in her brain. Au revoir, Félicette.

Demon Cat, Omen of the Capitol


Demon Cat, Omen of the Capitol is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 14 Notably Awesome Cats from History
Photo:  PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay/CC0 1.0

The Demon Cat, also known as D.C. in reference to both its name and where it is found, is a ghost cat that haunts the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. The tale of its origin varies by who you ask. Some say the cat is the mother of a litter that was disturbed during construction of the Capitol. Others say it is the last, undead survivor of a colony of cats brought in to clear the rat population in a bygone era. Most sightings have taken place prior to national disasters, such as assassinations of public figures or stock market crashes, though skeptics claim the guards and groundskeepers who've spotted Demon Cat must've been drinking.