Thursday, August 11, 2022

Book Review: Cats in the Navy

By Scot Christenson
Reviewed by Lee Duckworth
HRNM Docent
Cats in the Navy is published by Naval Institute Press. Find out more at: 
Cats in the Navy is a short, whimsical book filled with photographs that cat lovers will enjoy. Each photo is accompanied with a short write-up about that specific cat and a more detailed paragraph on the facing page that describes that cat’s role in the Navy. The author is obviously a cat-lover as several photos are from his own personal collection.

The first chapter of the book provides an overview of the history of cats at sea, going back over 3,000 years to ancient Egyptian seafarers. The author focuses most of his book on United States and British Navy ships with cats embarked during WWI and WWII and the inter-war period. 

The next portion of the book explains the various tasks assigned to the ship’s cat (e.g., elimination of rodents that spread disease, storm warning, crew morale, and companionship). Just the right amount of information is given to each of the highlighted cats. A short paragraph highlights a unique characteristic of that feline and is accompanied with a photograph of the cat and its often humorous interaction with the crew.
One page from Cats in the Navy, showing the types of images and writing included in this book (Naval Institute Press)
The final section of the book is devoted to some “heroic” cats and is fetchingly titled “Claws of Fame.” Their heroic actions (at least in the eyes of their shipmates) deal mainly with cats being viewed as “good luck charms,” especially after surviving a ship’s collision, engagement with the enemy, battle damage, or sinking.

The author includes a few ‘catchy’ phrases but doesn’t go overboard with naval terms such as aircraft carrier bow and waist cats, catenary in refueling lines, or cat’s paws on the water. All-in-all, this is a fun book for pet lovers of all ages and there is sufficient research to suggest that those interested in naval history will also enjoy the read.

1 comment:

Bill Parkes said...

I love your humor! This book is truly wonderful!