Photos all provided by Acidcow.com
During WWI, over 500,000 cats were literally in the trenches with the soldiers. They killed rats and mice, protected food, and served as an early warning system for bombs and as gas detectors. Their value was so great that even in the war-torn countries, they were allowed dried milk rations. One of these cats in war was Pitouchi. Born in the trenches, he became an inseparable companion to Lt. Lekeux of the Belgian Army. One day, Lt. Lekeux spotted Germans digging a new trench. From his hiding place in a shell hole, Lt. Lekeux began sketching the works. Two German soldiers drew near and said, “He’s in the hole.” Pitouchi heard them and leapt from the hole, prompting shots which, thankfully, missed him. He jumped back into the hole as the Germans laughed at themselves for mistaking a cat for a man, then turned and left.
Two cats pose in the breech of a 4-inch caliber gun aboard an unidentified U.S. ship. [U.S. Naval Institute]
Ship's cat strutting along the barrel of a 15-inch gun on the deck of the HMS Queen Elizabeth. Gallipoli Peninsula, 1915. [Bibliotheque Nationale de France]
Crewmen on the deck of the USS Olympia using a mirror to play with their cats in 1898. The Olympia served as Admiral George Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila during the Spanish American War. The Olympia currently is docked in Philadelphia and is the world's oldest floating steel warship, but is in desperate need of restoration.
"I'll be in my bunk." The cats of the USS Mississippi climb ladders to enter their hammock, ca 1925. The Mississippi was involved in several fierce battles in the Pacific during World War Two and was hit by kamikazes twice. It survived to be among the ships in Tokyo Bay that witnessed Japan's surrender.
"Waiting instructions in the briefing room, pilots on a US Navy aircraft carrier relax by playing with the ship's mascot. Shortly after this picture was taken they were flying far above the Atlantic on a battle-mission." Probably the USS Ranger, July 1944
"Why don't 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.
"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
"Accepting her fate as an orphan of war, 'Miss Hap' a two-week old Korean kitten chows down on canned milk, piped to her by medicine dropper with the help of Marine Sergeant Frank Praytor. The Marine adopted the kitten after its mother was killed by a mortar barrage near Bunker Hill. The name, Miss Hap, Sergeant Praytor explained, was given to the kitten 'because she was born at the wrong place at the wrong time'." Korea, ca 1953
Prime Minister Winston Churchill blocks Blackie, the ship's cat of HMS Prince of Wales, from crossing the gangway to the USS McDougal (DD-358), an American destroyer, during a ceremonial visit in 1941.
27th July 1956: Junior seaman Trevor Grunkhurn plays cards with the help of the ship’s pets, Joey the golden hamster, and Smew the kitten. They are aboard the HMS ‘Torquay’, one of the new class of Anti-Submarine Frigates.
Mourka took messages to Soviet scouts during the epic Battle of Stalingrad.