Cats in the Military

August 7, 2009

I own a silly book which I bought for 25 cents somewhere called The First Pet History of the World.

The author talks about dogs helping in wars; no surprises there. I was entranced though by a section about cats assisting the military.

In 1967, the United States Army tried to use house cats to assist soldiers in the Vietnamese War. The goal was to take advantage of feline night vision to help soldiers as they patrolled in the dark. The author claims to be quoting from an actual military report on the experiment. I have no idea if this is really true or not, but I think it’s a hoot to read, so I will quote it here.

Soldiers were harnessed to tom cats and set loose in the jungle after dark.

Quoting from the supposed military report:

The animals led the troops racing through thick brush in pursuit of mice and birds.

Troops had to force the the cats to follow the direction of the patrol; the practice often led to the animals stalking and attacking the dangling pack straps of the soldier marching in front of the animal.

If the weather was inclement or even threatening inclemency, the cats were never anywhere to be found.

Often when the troops were forced to take cover, the cats took the opportunity to sharpen their claws on the boots of the troops, regardless of the seriousness of the situation.

A number of the troops traded their cats to Vietnamese women for their favors. When questioned about this, the troops claimed the animals ran away.


David, have you considered enlisting Little Liu?


6 Responses to “Cats in the Military”

  1. Little Liu would undoubtedly be reach the rank of general before the week was out. It might not be safe. This is a great post.

    Oh, and thank so much for the support! I love the penguin. I was feeling a little down today, it was a fantastic pick-me-up. I’m really glad you opted to adopt as a wayward relative.

  2. woo Says:

    Oh, if only we could hear what goes on in cat’s minds… can you imagine what they must have been thinking during these military tests?

    “exxxxcellent, I hear the small flutterings which indicate the proximity of an unsuspecting bird. Advance! And yet, wait – what’s that? You want me to hunt with this great lump of bipedal primate dragging along behind me, crashing through the undergrowth like an elephant? But its practically blind! And it smells! Oh alright, but only for five minutes and then I shall insist on being allowed to sleep on its chest, do we have a deal?”

  3. woo Says:

    “Oh, and if the one in front gets in my way, woe betide it. You have been warned.”

  4. If the military were really smart, they’d just confiscate Liu’s bomb.

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