The story of the cat that saved the lives of her kittens and one of Titanic's workers is truly amazing. But why do sailors take cats on board?

Source: wikimedia

Although cats are known for their dislike of water, sailors often took them on voyages to protect food supplies from rats and mice. In addition, British and Irish sailors believed that black cats brought good luck. For sailors who were away from home for many months, animals brightened up their leisure time.

Cat aboard the HMAS Encounter cruiser. Source: wikimedia

One of these service cats that made maritime history was a cat named Jenny. She joined the Titanic's crew during the testing phase and is said to have predicted its sinking. 

Jenny and Jim

Jenny was transferred to the Titanic from the Olympic, the twin ship of the infamous liner. Of course, she was not the only rat catcher on board – more animals were needed for a ship of that size. Service cats were allowed to roam the deck freely, scaring off rats and mice from passengers and food. Shortly before the Titanic left for New York, Jenny gave birth to kittens. The feline family was housed in the galley, where staff fed them leftovers.

Source: Getty

According to historical records, Jenny was particularly attached to Jim Mulholland, who worked as a stoker during the ship's sea trials on the route from the Irish Sea to Southampton. The stories of what happened to Jenny and her kittens vary. According to some sources, they sank with the ship, but Mulholland had a different version of events.

Source: wikimedia

Mulholland claimed that when the Titanic docked in Southampton, from where it was to depart on its transatlantic voyage, he saw Jenny hurriedly carrying her kittens off the ship. The stoker thought this was a bad sign and decided to leave the ship as well. The cat's instincts were not wrong. Had Mulholland not followed Jenny and her kittens, the voyage on the Titanic probably would have been his last. According to Mulholland, Jenny saved his life.

The fates of other animals on the Titanic

Today, historians are inclined to believe that Jenny's story is true, and she along with her kittens did survive. There are confirmed facts about the other animals of the Titanic, who managed to survive the wreck. It is known that first class passengers were allowed to take their dogs on board. When the ship went to sea, there were at least 12 dogs on board, three of which, two Spitzes and one Pekingese, survived. The small animals were lucky. Unlike the larger breeds, it was easy to wrap them in blankets or hide them under coats and "smuggle" them to the lifeboats.

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On the left: the dogs aboard the Titanic; on the right: Madeleine and John Jacob Astor stroll the deck with their Airedale terrier, Kitty. Source: wikimedia

Other dogs were less fortunate. For example, Ann Elizabeth Isham, who took a Great Dane with her on the voyage, was one of the five female first-class passengers who were killed on the Titanic. She adamantly refused to leave her beloved dog, and he was too big to fit on the lifeboat. According to sources, the bodies of Lady Isham and her dog were later found by rescuers. The woman had drowned not letting her pet out of her arms.

Source: novochag

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