Cats were kept on ships by Ancient Egyptians for pest control and it became a seafaring tradition. It is believed Domestic cats spread throughout much of the world with sailing ships during Age of Discovery(15th through 18th centuries).

Ship’s cat

Ship’s cat on HMAS Encounter during World War I

Captain A. J. Hailey with his cat on the RMS Empress of Canada, 1920s

The ship’s cat has been a common feature on many trading, exploration, and naval ships dating to ancient times. Cats have been carried on ships for many reasons, most importantly to control rodents. Vermin aboard a ship can cause damage to ropes, woodwork, and more recently, electrical wiring. Also, rodents threaten ships’ stores, devour crews’ foodstuff, and could cause economic damage to ships’ cargo such as grain. They are also a source of disease, which is dangerous for ships that are at sea for long periods of time. Rat fleas are carriers of plague, and rats on ships were believed to be a main spreader of the Bl… Continue Reading