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The Cat Chronicles

3 unbelievable true stories of cats surviving sinking ships, bombed buildings and starving cities.

1. Faith

During the Blitz in WW2, one brave tabby seemed to have a life-saving premonition. Faith had been adopted by the principal of St Augustine Church, near St Paul’s in London. In early September 1940, she was seen carrying her litter down to the church basement. Although the kittens were returned upstairs multiple times by her adopted owner, Faith kept taking them down again.

A few days later, a bombing raid destroyed the church, with just the tower remaining. The emergency services believed nothing could have survived. However, Faith and her litter were found very much alive amongst smouldering timber and rubble. She was later awarded a medal for courage by the PDSA, presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

2. Unsinkable Sam

All cats have nine lives, right? – Well, if so, one particularly lucky puss in World War II used up a few of his! In May 1941, the German battleship Bismarck was sunk, with only 110 of the 2,000-strong crew surviving. However, a cat was rescued by the crew of HMS Cossack, who named him Oscar.

The Cossack then suffered a torpedo attack near Gibraltar and Oscar survived again! Subsequently, Oscar was renamed ‘Unsinkable Sam’ – but unfortunately, the bad luck continued for poor Oscar/Sam. Whilst on the HMS Ark Royal, the ship was torpedoed near Malta. This meant Oscar/Sam had survived three sinkings in just six months! After some careful consideration, it was decided that he had seen enough of the sea and was sent to live with one of the seamen on dry land.

3. Tom

In September 1885, British and French forces entered the Crimean port of Sevastopol. They were met with a devastated and starving city recovering from a year-long siege. Among the survivors was a cat, rescued by British Lieutenant William Gair who named him Crimean Tom.

William noticed that whilst everyone around him was desperate for food, Tom seemed well fed. The soldiers decided to follow Tom and later discovered a storeroom full of food - saving the troops from starvation. Tom was brought back to England with Lieutenant William Gair who looked after him for the rest of his life.

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