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