Ship's Cat

by Daniel Mackie April 29, 2013

Ships CatIn 1975 the British Royal Navy banned cats on its ships and put an end to a tradition that had been in place for hundreds of years. For example in Louis XIV’s French Navy in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries all French ships were ordered to carry two cats for rodent-control duties.

Rodent-control was the reason cats were put on ships. All trading nations adopted this practice. It is believed that Cats arrived in Europe by boat from Ancient Phoenicia (maritime trading cultures on the african coast of the Mediterranean). They set their paws down on european soil in about 900 BC.

Gradually cats became worlds travellers, eventually reaching nearly all parts of the world accessible by ship. Over the centuries their offspring developed into different breeds according to the climate in which they found themselves and the mates they took, as well as the deliberate selection by humans.

Cats have long had a reputation as magical animals and amongst the sailing community it is not hard to see why superstitions solidified, sailing was a dangerous business, and if a cat were to bring good luck then all the better! British and Irish sailors considered adopting a black “ship’s cat” because it would bring good luck. As a result most ships cats received a high level of care to keep them happy and to keep the ship lucky.

Famously a cat called Convoy aboard HMS Hermione slept in a hammock! Convoy was so named due to the number of trips he had successfully made during the second world war. Convoy’s luck ran out on 16 June 1942 when a U-boat sank HMS Hermione, sadly killing Convoy and 87 crew members.

This ships cat is watercolour, I used a lot of prussian blue and davys gray.
Below, you can see the painting in progress.
Ships cat painting in progress

Ships cat painting in progress
view Daniels cards and prints at The DM Collection


 



Daniel Mackie
Daniel Mackie

Author



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News / Work in progress / Mythology

Pelican in Progress

by Ariella Medeiros January 16, 2020

Strange looking birds pelicans!  I wanted to simplify the shape and try and get some balance going on with the body and the bil

Read More

A Pelican in Her Piety

by Harry Miller January 15, 2020

To reach the afterlife in ancient Egypt you must first deal with the trappings of the underworld.  Here you will have to contend with various Gods, monsters, gatekeepers, and ultimately prove your worth to Osiris, the Lord of the underworld.

Read More

Top 10 Woodland Animals- Facts and Stories

by Daniel Mackie January 05, 2020

Here are ten interesting narratives about Woodland Animals with references to their place in our culture. Some are form ancient mythologies like the owls and their wisdom,  and others like the ‘The Fox and the Crow’. which tell us to be cautious of flattery!

Read More