April 14th marks the anniversary of the fateful night that the largest passenger ship in its day, RMS Titanic, on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York struck an iceberg. The “unsinkable” ship sank in the early morning hours of April 15th.
It’s widely known that many dogs were on board. So many, in fact, that passengers were reported to have planned to hold a dog show on the ship on April 15th – but fate had other plans.
But did the Titanic have any cats on board?
Ships have kept cats on board dating back to ancient times. Mostly for their ability to catch mice and rats, but also to provide companionship and camaraderie for sailors away from home for long periods of time.
And yes, Titanic was no exception. She had a ship cat named Jenny.
Here’s the story of Jenny the Titanic Cat from Wikipedia:
The ship had her own official cat named Jenny, who was kept aboard Titanic as a mascot and also worked to keep down the ship’s population of rats and mice. Transferred over from Titanic ’s sister ship Olympic, Jenny gave birth in the week before Titanic sailed from Southampton. She normally lived in the galley, where the victualling staff fed her and her kittens on scraps from the kitchens. Stewardess Violet Jessop wrote that the cat “laid her family near Jim, the scullion, whose approval she always sought and who always gave her warm devotion.”
So what was the fate of Jenny and her kittens? As it turns out, on April 10, 1912, at Southampton, England, as the first
passengers were boarding for the ill-fated maiden voyage, Jenny was observed carrying her kittens one by one off the ship.
Rumor has it that Jim, Jenny’s unofficial caretaker, saw her leaving the ship with her kittens and saw it as an omen. He is said to have also packed up his things and left the ship after seeing her!
Of course, this may be a tall tale, but we’d love to believe that a cat named Jenny saved all of her kittens and her human caretaker from the most infamous sinking ship in history.
Want to read more about the other animals on board Titanic? Click here!