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Pitouchi, who was with him throughout the time, jumped out of the shell hole onto a timber piece lodging nearby. The Germans got startled they fired twice at the cat. Fortunately, Pitouchi was not hit and only jumped back into the shell hole where his owner was hiding.
The Germans, on the other hand, laughed and jokingly said to each other they had mistaken a cat for a man and left the area. Lekeux was able to finish his sketch before he went back into the Belgian lines with his unharmed cat on his shoulder.
U-boat was another ship's cat aboard a Royal Navy vessel in the Second World War, who would take shore leave whenever his ship came into port. He would spend days on shore, usually returning only just before his ship sailed. One day, U-boat failed to return in time for roll call and his ship was forced to sail. As she pulled away from the quay, U-boat was seen running down the dock after the departing ship. He made a death-defying leap onto the ship and succeeded in making it aboard. He was reported to be undaunted by his experience, proceeding to wash himself on deck. The crew members were reportedly delighted their good luck charm had returned.
Simon was found wandering the dockyards of Hong Kong in March 1948 by 17-year-old Ordinary Seaman George Hickinbottom, a member of the crew of the British frigate HMS Amethyst stationed in the city in the late 1940s. At this stage, it is thought Simon was approximately a year old, and was very undernourished and unwell. Hickinbottom smuggled the cat aboard ship, and Simon soon ingratiated himself with the crew and officers, particularly because he was adept at catching and killing rats on the lower decks. Simon rapidly gained a reputation for cheekiness, leaving presents of dead rats in sailors' beds, and sleeping in the captain's cap.
The crew viewed Simon as a lucky mascot, and when the ship's commander changed later in 1948, the outgoing Ian Griffiths left the cat for his successor Lieutenant Commander Bernard Skinner, who took an immediate liking to the friendly animal. However, Skinner's first mission in command of the Amethyst was to travel up the Yangtze River to Nanking to replace the duty ship there, HMS Consort. Halfway up the river the ship became embroiled in the Yangtze incident, when Chinese Communist gun batteries opened fire on the frigate. One of the first rounds tore through the captain's cabin, seriously wounding Simon. Lieutenant Commander Skinner died of his wounds soon after the attack.
The badly wounded cat crawled on deck, and was rushed to the medical bay, where the ship's surviving medical staff cleaned his burns, and removed four pieces of shrapnel, but he was not expected to last the night. He managed to survive, however, and after a period of recovery, returned to his former duties in spite of the indifference he faced from the new ship's captain Lt Cdr John Kerans. While anchored in the river, the ship had become overrun with rats, and Simon took on the task of removing them with vigour, as well as raising the morale of the sailors.
In 2004, when the Iraq war was at its height, an American unit called the Hammers befriended a kitten born at their site; he played with them, kept their quarters rodent-free and acted as a significant morale booster. When the time came for the unit to leave, Staff Sergeant Bousfield didn't want to leave the cat behind, as he was regarded as one of their team. With the help of the American organisation Alley Cat Allies the leggy Egyptian Mau, now known as Private First Class Hammer, was taken to Kuwait and put on a flight to San Francisco. From there he was flown first class to Colorado Springs, where he was met by Rick Bousfield to start a quite different and mortar-free life with the Bousfield family and their various animals.
Felix and Félicette were apparently two street cats in the program (10 were de-commissioned for eating too much!), with Felix being the feline chosen to undertake the first mission. According to one report, Felix escaped the flight - whether by literally escaping or being decommissioned is not known - and was replaced by the female cat Félicette. On October 18, 1963, the cat blasted off in a special capsule on top of French Véronique AGI sounding rocket No. 47, from the Colomb Bacar rocket base at the Hammaguir test range in the Algerian Sahara desert.
The cat did not actually go into orbit, but traveled 100-130 miles into space. Throughout the flight electrodes transmitted neurological impulses back to Earth. After approximately 15 minutes, the capsule separated and the pod, with cat inside, descended by parachute and was rescued. Pod and cat were safely recovered, and the French Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherches de Medecine Aeronautique (CERMA) affirmed afterwards that the cat had made a valuable contribution to research.
Scientists at the University of California, Davis hypothesised that a cat's purr can be used as a healing mechanism to offset long periods of rest and sleep that would otherwise contribute to a loss of bone density. The vibrations and contractions of a purr work during both inhalation and exhalation show a consistent pattern and frequency around 25 Hz; these frequencies have been shown to improve bone density and promote healing in animal models and humans. Dr. Lyons, one of the scientists in this study, suggests that this finding may be applicable to astronauts during extended periods in zero gravity. Bone density loss and muscle atrophy is a serious concern for astronauts during extended periods at zero gravity. During these periods musculo-skeletal systems do not experience the normal stresses of physical activity, including routine standing or sitting, which requires strength for posture control. Exposing these astronauts to sound frequencies similar to those of a cat's purr could counteract the deteriorating effects of low gravity.
originally posted by: eisegesis
Can't imagine they like the crack of a gun though. I will definitely be rubbing this in my friends faces. REAL men fight along side felines!