petMD Recognizes Four Heroic Wartime Cats on Veterans Day

Nov 11, 2011, 09:00 ET from petMD

MIAMI, Nov. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In the history of military animals, most recognition has been given to the dogs that participated in our militia's combative operations. Veteran cats are often overlooked. Whether by offering companionship to the troops or providing protection from the perils of rats, cats have been serving the armed forces for as long as these forces have been around. On this Veterans Day, honors these faithful felines for their service.

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Crimean Tom was adopted as a mascot by grateful English soldiers for his actions in 1854. Russian troops had hidden food caches beneath rubble and Tom helped the English and French troops find these food sources.

Tiddles, a black maritime cat, served as the official Captain's Cat on the HMS Victorious in the early 1940s. Traveling over 30,000 miles during his naval service, he is one of the reasons the black cat is considered a symbol of luck in Great Britain.

Able Seacat Simon of the Royal Navy's HMS Amethyst began his career in 1948 as the Amethyst's formal ratter, put on board to protect the food stores. Simon performed his duties so well that he was bestowed two awards in 1949, including the Dickin Medal for animal gallantry. Simon is the only cat to have received the Dickin Medal, and when he died, he was buried with full naval honors.

Pfc. Hammer proved his mettle in 2004 when he moved in with a U.S. Army unit in Iraq, killing and chasing away mice that would have devoured or contaminated the soldiers' food stores. The men were so grateful for Hammer's hard work and affection that they made him an honorary member of their unit and rallied the support of Alley Cat Allies and Military Mascots to bring Hammer home to America after their deployment. Hammer now lives in Colorado with his comrade, Staff Sgt. Rick Bousfield.

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