Sailors and cats have a special relationship that dates back thousands of years. It is likely that the ancient Egyptians were the first seafarers to realize the true value of having cats as shipmates. In addition to offering sailors much needed companionship on long voyages, cats provided protection by ridding ships of vermin.
They also look good in uniform.
A little more research turned up the most famous feline of military maritime history, a British cat named Simon.
…wounded several times during the Yangtse Incident in 1949, while serving on HMS Amethyst. He became the only feline recipient of the Dickin Medal (the animals’ Victoria Cross), but died before it could be bestowed, weakened by his injuries, while in quarantine at Hackbridge later in the year.
At least Simon lives on, on Flickr:
Lots more great photos on the Naval Institute post.
via Thomas Roche