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Cats serving in the military

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Although, not in any official capacities, cats did often have a place on ships, in barracks, and as companions for those serving in the military.

Unofficially, cats were often welcomed aboard ships to help with rodent control and similarly in barracks and military field offices. Cats kept down rodent populations and even some insect populations on posts, around the mess, or dining halls as well.

A good ratter could help preserve often precious food stores, help in preventing the spread of diseases, and keep rats or mice from chewing through ropes and wiring.

However, many of us will be most familiar with cats that served as mascots and companions.

By World War II, the United States had enlisted thousands of animals. Cats were definitely one of the more common animals (along with dogs) used as mascots and adopted as pets.

Providing stress relief and a bit of fun intense situations was the main job of any mascot, like this aircraft carrier cat.

Pilots on a US Navy aircraft carrier relax by playing with the ship’s mascot.

Often pets and mascots were adopted along the way by soldiers and sailors who found an abandoned cat or kitten.

Tiny kitten crept out from beneath a wrecked Japanese tank, to receive a drink from a US Marine.

But not only did these cats serve as companions, believe it or not, they even helped to warn of bombs about to drop.

Honorable Kodiak Kat, the 73rd Bombardment Wing mascot.

Cats have a way of breaking up the monotony of any long day. Their services though not always considered heroic were certainly great contributions to those around them who benefitted from their companionship, skills, and entertainment.

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