Cats Had A Very Active Service Life During World Wars Prove These Amazing Vintage Photos

Cats have been around since the ancient times. They have been a companion for man through all the ages. Interestingly, these elegant creatures have also been a faithful companion during one of the most difficult of times for mankind. Cats have been adopted by soldiers during the World Wars. These vintage photos will serve to be a reminder about how these cute creatures helped soldiers battle a far different war than the one waged on the battlefield.

Cats Were Adopted By Soldiers From All Branches Along With Dogs

[Image Credit | Viola]

Cats Are Quite Alert And Intelligent

[Image Credit | Australian War Memorial]

Soldiers from different military branches, different cities, and different countries from all over the world were involved in the Great War. Many of these soldiers had pets and, most of the time, these pets were cats as they served multiple purposes.

Cats Offered Companionship During The War

[Image Credit | Viola]

Cats hunted rats and mice in the trenches and on ships. They served as mascots and pets to the sailors and soldiers. Some were also used to detect gas. According to author Susan Bulanda, who wrote Soldiers in Fur and Feathers, a cat even saved a soldier’s life during World War I.

Soldiers Took Great Care Of The Cats Who In Turn Offered Companionship

[Image Credit | Viola]

The story goes like this: When Lekeux, a soldier, was sent out to collect data about the Germans, he managed to get quite near to the enemy’s lines. He hid himself in a shell hole nearby to make a sketch of the German works. German soldiers on patrol were making their routine rounds and got close to him. One of the Germans even suspected his presence, but the soldier’s cat, Pitouchi, jumped onto a piece of timber and made the Germans believe that it was a cat all along.

The Purring Of A Cat Is Scientifically Proven To Calm Humans

[Image Credit | Illustrated War News, Vol.7, London, 1918]

Cats have always been very valuable to armies. These skilled hunters ensured rats and mice did not become a menace. Without cats, mice and rats would have overrun ships and trenches, eating and or spoiling the food. Gorging on rations and corpses alike, these rats would sometimes grow to be as large cats, reported Great War. They terrorized the soldiers with their constant scampering, which was routinely mistaken for enemy activity.

Cats Hunted Down Hoards Of Rats And Mice

[Image Credit | Great War]


Some cats were even taught to detect traces of biological weapons like “poison gas.” Their evolved sense of smell is said to have said hundreds of soldiers from walking into a deadly trap. Unfortunately, many cats have perished after having stepped into dangerous locations.

Cats Were Also Used To 'Detect' Poison Gas. But Many Perished Due To Exposure

[Image Credit | Above Top Secret]

However, besides their hunting skills, cats served a higher purpose too. These cats were close companions to the tired and weary soldiers. The cats offered a few moments of solace and solitude from the horrors of war.

While dogs are often praised for their unflinching loyalty and cats are accused of sleeping through most of the day, these photos remind us how valuable cats were for the fatigued soldiers.

[Image Credit | Viola]