Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Titanicat


I was spared. The teeny tiny babies were taken in by somebody who was likely more capable than me. I hope they fare well. WHY are two day old kittens all alone in the world in the first place? There are a million reasons most involving cruel humans.
Anyway, I found something really neat today. It's a new book that isn't out yet and it's called "Titanicat". It's by Marty Crisp who has written a lot of books for children including one about a dog on the Titanic. This one is about a cat on the Titanic and is supposed to be a true story.

I am unsure of whether this is an urban legend or true story. It is claimed to be true and I like it so I'll believe it. Here is what I've gleaned:

Anne Hales of the Irish News, in Belfast interviewed a 92 year old retired journalist named Paddy Scott, who once interviewed a man named Mulholland who claimed to have been a stoker aboard the Titanic during her trials and the run to Southampton.

The stoker's name was Jim Mulholland. The Titanic was built in a yard in Belfast
and even though the ship was new, it was estimated that over 6,000 rats roamed its decks and sub-structures. Most ships employed cats to help the problem of mice. Mulholland worked on Deck F, scouring and scrubbing the deck galley. Mulholland was also given the duty of taking care of the Titanic's kitty who was appropriately (if unimaginatively) named "Mouser". Mouser was a tabby, she was also pregnant. As her condition progressed she probably became less adept at killing her meals so Jim carefully saved scraps here and there for her while they sailed on the trial voyage from the Shipyard in Belfast to Southampton. In Southampton, this ocean liner would make her maiden voyage. Before they arrived, Mouser had four kittens.

Apon arriving in Southhampton, the ship was loaded with lobster and steak and many sumptouous foodstuffs for the passenger list included some very wealthy people. Even with this great bounty, Mouser seemed troubled and one day Mullholland sat and watched while she took each of her kittens down the gang plank one by one getting them off the ship. This fascinated Jim but also concerned him. While the rich and famous went up the gang planks to board the great vessel, Mouser went the other way with each of her children. Jim said to a reporter, "That cat knows something" and signed off the ship himself. I don't have to tell you that this ship never made it to New York.

I found a poem but no author's name:

When men go down to the sea in ships,
As they do to this very day,
They carry along a good ship's cat,
To keep the rats at bay.
One such cat at the Belfast yard,
Had kittens while on board.
The date was April 1912, anno domini, year of our lord.
Now the ship was new, and the crew was,too,
So a trial run was deemed fair.
And the scullion lad, whose name was Jim,
Wound up with the tabby's care.
In the F deck galley Jim scoured and scrubbed,
His job was to bow and bend,
But he saved the scraps from every meal
For the cat he now called a friend.
They circled the coast 'till their anchor dropped
At the port of the White Star Line,
Where the ship was loaded with lobster and steak,
And silver and crystal and wine.
The cat seemed troubled when the trials were done,
Thought she loved her life on the ship.
With kittens in tow, she disembarked,
Refusing to make this trip.
She carried her babies, one by one,
Down the gangplank to the quay,
Two thousand passengers clambered aboard,
But the cat went the other way.
Jim followed his friend and he left that ship,
About to sail the Atlantic.
He bid farewell to the maiden voyage Of RMS Titanic.
When Jim tells the tale of that wise old cat,
He gets naught but a sneer and a scoff.
Over one thousand drowned when that ship went down.
But Jim and the cat got off.
Down with the ship that fateful night,
Went fathers and sons and wives,
But the cat saved Jim by lending him,
One of her own nine lives.

2 comments:

Kevin Clark said...

Hi,my name is Kevin Clark. I'm 46 years old. Until recently I was not a fan of kitten/cats. My Ex boyfriend had a cat. Abby.So I had to deal. He went out of town He asked me to babysit her. He has a place in the east village in NYC. So,I said yes.I can watch a cat. just put food in a dish and clean a litter box. Easy. But he wanted me to sleep at the place. No problem.Also, he told me I had to talk to her.Not cool. But,O.K I agreed to do it. The first couple days,abby hid under a chair.I was worried she was dead.So, I talked. About life,silly stories about dumb situations I got my self in. It was kinda fun. Then one night,as I babbled on about what ever.Abby jummped on the bed that I was laying on.She just looked at me.She curled up next to me.Slept with me every night there after.Greeted me at the door. I was so excited I would dance aroud the apartment.She would jump to the window and look out on the street. I think she tought I was strange. Any way. I think I like cats now. I may even adopt a kitten.I cant believe I said that. Well,I'll talk to ya later.

Susan said...

Congratulations! You've been adopted by cats! Abby has inducted you into the cat "club" Lots of people think they don't like cats. I can totally understand that but it's funny how much they tend to come around when cats decide they like THEM. It's part of the unique experience of cats, they are quite selective, so when they select you it feels really special. I think the biggest reward I get is with the kittens who are spitting and hissing and getting them to cuddle and purr by the time they're old enough to be adopted.
Welcome abourd, Kevin! Keep in touch, if you really do get a kitten, let us know and I'll be here for any questions you have!