Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Animals Aboard Titanic

Earlier this month, Writer Girl and some friends visited the Titanic Artifact Exhibition at the Indiana State Museum, which closes today (Sunday, January 16, 2011).  Scowl-Face and the Lady With the Red Hair went yesterday and provided a full report.


I was curious about the animals (besides the people) traveling on the Titanic. Did any survive?  What types of non-human animals (besides rats) were aboard?  There are lots of online discussion groups weighing-in on the subject, but their participants rarely cite any sources.  BBC published a 2002 online article that mentioned the animals aboard ship.  A blog written by writer Courtney Mroch discusses the animals aboard Titanic, but she gives no references, although she refers readers to other online articles about Titanic and pets.  (Clicking on hyperlinks in the article brings up advertisements or advertisers' web pages.)  The RMS Titanic Online Store has a brief article--also without source citations--about animals on the ship.  Answers.com offers its two (unverified) cents.

Most interesting to me were the canary and chickens (yum!) (just kidding!). Seriously, I would like to know much more about Jenny, the ship's official cat, and her kittens.  Jenny is mentioned in the BBC online article, which cites The Animals on Board the Titanic, by Loannis Georgiou (Atlantic Daily Bulletin), as its source.  (The name is misspelled; it is actually Ioannis Georgiou of Germany, who contributed to the discussion threads about Titanic animals on the Encyclopedia Titanica message boards.)  As just noted, Encyclopedia Titanica devotes discussion threads to the topic, but most comments include few sources and has, as these things tend, its assortment of unsubstantiated commentary.  A HubPages blog relates Jenny among other famous ships' cats, with suggested readings and some bibliographical references.  Jenny receives short shrift in survivor Violet Jessop's Titanic memoirs.

I would like to see a historical account (published as a short book) devoted to the animals who sailed aboard Titanic.  The book itself could include ships' pets in naval and maritime history, with a chapter devoted to Titanic.  This would certainly be of great interest to cats like me and slobberdogs, as well as our human companions whom we guide and protect.  You hear me, naval and maritime authors out there?

I would have liked to have seen the exhibit, but the state museum prevents kitties from visiting (another example of feline discrimination).  Seeing Eye Slobberdogs (an honorable breed, make no mistake) are permitted entry, but I'm down with that.  If you're a human and would like to see the exhibition, you've probably missed your chance at the Indiana State Museum, but it will appear elsewhere, and you may wish to make a special trip to see it.  You should.  It was marvelous, according to my sources.

R.I.P., Jenny and kittens, as well as all the slobberdogs, chickens, pig, canary, rats, et al., who went down with the Titanic.  And the people, too, of course.  It was a tragedy that could easily have been avoided had better precautions been observed (like sufficient lifeboats, heeding earlier wireless warnings about icebergs, traveling at a normal, slower speed, and taking the time to find the binoculars for the crows' nest crew at the beginning of the voyage).


Betting Jenny Was Fed Better Than I,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Ships' Animals News Beat



7 comments:

  1. Hi Cauli - not sure if you will be happy or not to hear that I went to this exhibit with my Cat Lover of a mother and my sister (who keeps a dog). We had a great time and were excited to see and actually get to touch artifacts from the ship itself. I wanted to weigh in with this comment: In Titanic, The Musical, there is a lyric that states thus: "Mrs. Charlotte Drake Cardoza, Suite B-54: No one really knows who she is / But the newspaper says she booked /
    The most expensive suite on the ship / And travels with fourteen steamer trunks / A medicine chest / Her personal pillows and sheets / And four little Pekinese dogs... /
    So she must be somebody! / She must be somebody!" So, maybe that is something to reasearch about other animals aboard the ship?

    I also bought some new books for the library about Indiana for the youth section. Unfortunately they did not have a good tree book about Indiana. Still hunting for that!

    Best,
    Suzanne in the Youth Department

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  2. Suzanne,

    Thanks for the tip about the Pekinese slobberdogs in the song lyrics. In real life, she was known as Charlotte Wardle Drake Martinez-Cardeza (or, simply, Lady Cardeza) (1854-1939). She, her son, her valet, and her maid escaped in Titanic Lifeboat #3. No mention of the slobberdogs or their fates. Lady Cardeza filed the largest insurance claim after losing 36,567 pounds worth of belongings in the sinking.

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  3. That's £36,567 (British Pound Sterling), not 36,567 lbs. Wanted to clarify that ambiguity for Scowl-Face, who worries needlessly about such things.

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  4. Cauli...

    Your very own library now owns a children's book called "Titanicat" by Marty Crisp. You should take a look at it. It is, in fact, about the ship cat and the boy who took care of her. Although a work of fiction, there is a brief synopsis in the end about Jenny and her kittens!

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  5. Thanks, Mystery Commenter! I'll take a look at it. Sounds like a great book.

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  6. From Miss Behaving:

    I've found a website on the subject that identifies some of the animals aboard the Titanic when she sailed. It has a bit of an interview with a Titanic historian who's been at it for quite a long time now. It can be found at:

    http://www.gossiprocks.com/forum/pets-animals/182062-dogs-aboard-titanic.html

    Prrrrring! Chuff-chuff!

    Miss B

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