Layla Morgan Wilde/ November 11, 2018/ Cats, Feline Fine Art, Holidays/ 39 comments

WW 1 cat in trenches-Remembrance Day

Nov.11 is Veteran’s Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day or Poppy Day in Canada and the other commonwealth countries. Regardless of the name, it’s the day when we honor those who served their country. Nov. 11, 2018 marks the centenary of  World War I and the origin of wearing poppies of remembrance. The red poppies symbolize a bloody war with 18 million lives lost, not including the many animal employed from horses, donkeys, pigeons, dogs and even monkeys.


Hundreds of thousands of cats served in Europe providing much needed rodent control in less than hygienic conditions in the trenches. A feline’s acute sense of smell served as a “canary in a coalmine” to detect deadly mustard gas. These brave cats who could have easily escaped, choose to stay with their soldier companions offering solace and natural stress relief.


Most of these cats perished. There were no gas masks for them. As we pause to remember all those who fought for our country, let’s remember our feline friends.


Teresa Harrison-Best, one of my favorite pet poets from the U.K. wrote a poem honoring these heroic felines
Paws At The Ready

The cats of World War One had significant role in all the campaigns, we must honour their bravery too.

Give thought to all the kitties
who served in World War One.
A battalion of the finest
who never fired a gun.

What was their role?

Whether hunting rodents out at sea,
or loyal friends to men,
these many cats had vital roles,
time and time again.

The food was saved.

A common sight in trenches deep,
dispatching mice and rats,
the soldiers’ had a special bond
with many of these cats.

Many were treasured mascots.

Five hundred thousand cats were sent
to serve in the Great War.
Some detected mustard gas,
whilst others were off shore.

Some of the feline heroes.

Togo was the Dreadnought’s cat,
The Swan had their lad Ching.
Pincher was the Vinex’s mog,
it was luck they hoped they’d bring.

‘Martinpuich’ was aptly named,
by The 9th battalion chaps.
Pitouchi was the orphaned kit,
who’d survived on army scraps.

Spark Plug, Tabby and many more
were companions to the troops.
The feline unsung heroes,
those cats who became recruits.

We’ll never truly realise
just what these cats went through.
So spare a thought and give some thanks
for what they did for you!

Lest We Forget!

Teresa Harrison-Best

WW1 cat-Pitouchi

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  1. Wow, I had not realized how many ‘military’ cats there had been.
    I wore a poppy on my uniform that day, cause I had to be at my work, and it amazes me in a sad kind of way how many peeps had no idea why I wore that:(

    I thank all at work who are/were veterans…and my neighbour who currently is in the National Guard.

  2. We again say thank you to ALL that have served, do serve or will serve. Animal or human each one is a hero in our hearts. So many people do not understand the loyalty,dedication and love of cats but so many soldiers do.
    Love and gratitude to our military no matter the species, we own them everything.
    Thank you for sharing yet again about these unsung heroes!
    Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang + Twig & Peanut & Romeo & the Angels >^..^^..^<~

  3. Great post, Layla! I always knew cats were great! Now we know the rest of the story! Hugs and purrs to you!

    1. Thanks Sally and purrrrs right back xo

  4. That is so sad about the kitties and the mustard gas. I feel bad for the humans too, but I was unaware of the cats until now.

    1. Yes, mustard gas was awful. Thankfully it’s banned now.

  5. A beautiful post to honour the cats who did so much during the First World War.

  6. Thank you for re-sharing this as I truly never knew the full extent of feline involvement. Cats really did have a major role to play in that most horrendous of wars, and yet so little is ever considered or told of the sacrifice they made to help humans. I hope we can set the record straight one day soon…. I unwittingly touched on this in my new novel, and now I know it is so I shall be able to speak with authority as what we did and the cost.
    Toodle pips and purrs

    1. Erin, many thanks. It’s a completely new post that warranted a revamp. I’m even more curious to read your novel now xo

  7. Thanks for this post as so many of us did not know the extent of the cats help during the wars.
    Purrs Georgia,Julie and JJ

    1. Many purrs of thanks to you xox

  8. Layla, thanks for this wonderful tribute to the cats who served and offered comfort/ companionship on both sides who fought during WWI. Central or allied powers didn’t matter to cats who helped the men who were called to fight. We remember all veterans who served in WWI including the animal and feline ones. Purrs

    1. Cynthia, thanks and it’s true cats don’t care about boundaries but individual allegiances.

  9. It’s amazing to think how many animals were involved in WWI and in all conflicts since. Heroes – ALL. We are remembering all animals and humans who have worked to keep their country safe and free.

    Hugs, Teddy and Mom Pam

    1. The total number of animals involved is astounding and need to be honored for their sacrifice xox

  10. Beautiful tribute for the heroes of WW1. Purrs

  11. Cheddar is very happy his ancestors helped the cause. I had no idea about that, but it makes sense. Sad, though. Cats are so wonderful, loving, cute and also excellent at several jobs, chiefly – mousing – but also others.

    Love all the photos of cats in uniform. Love cats. Period.

    1. Teresa is a fantastic cat poet!

      1. She writes unique cat poems with a delightful British viewpoint.

    2. Cheddar can indeed be proud. And yes, sad. Those were the early days of animal humaneness and the creation of Humane Societies xo

  12. Awe I love this post, honoring all the heroes with fur and without.

    1. Thanks so much Chirpy cats xo

  13. That was a wonderful tribute. Love and purrs for all veterans. Cats are brave and necessary, we can’t get that message across enough – thanks for this post.

    1. It’s our duty and pleasure to share the message xo

  14. I simply needed to say thanks all over again.

  15. This is wonderful. It’s time more people knew about the role of cats in wartime.

    1. They still have a role albeit more minor. (update) Sadly this original comment was made when my friend was still alive. R.I.P. Darlene Arden.

  16. Thank you. I actually did not know about this. Thanks to all who served and serve!

    1. We try to provide kitty tidbits not seen elsewhere :-0

  17. We thank all who have served and continue to serve be they Feline, Canine, Equine ,Avian human or any other species. It is an honor to say thank you to all.

    PS this post didn’t come to our email.

    Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang + Twig & Peanut & Romeo >^..^<

  18. Such a wonderful post. We so enjoyed the poem and we didn’t realize that cats were such a fixture.

  19. Great post and wonderful tribute to the soldiers and kitties who served for the country. What brave kitties.

  20. I will honor all people and animals who where there to fight for us. It must be hardfor a cat to live in a trench with all that horrible noises of the big guns :o(

  21. doodz….de food serviss gurls familee haza list oh veterans & her gram paw had a shepard that served in WW II…all 4 yeerz…Pete wuz a “messenger” ♥♥♥

  22. Beautiful post! We will always remember and love our Veterans!

  23. We thank our veterans both two and four legged. Those that serve/served our country are true heroes.

  24. We love the poem on your blog today and didn’t realise all that the army of cats had done so much for all of us.
    Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

  25. I am honoring kitties in wartime today, along with human veterans.

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