Crimean Tom and Other War Cats

Have you ever heard the  legend of Crimean Tom? It’s a true story, but this cat has achieved legendary status after a 150 years. In 1855, during the Crimean War, British and French forces captured the Crimean (then Russian) port of Sevastopol, which had been under siege for a year. The city was starving, and so were the invading troops. There was no food to be found. But wait -there’s a tom cat!

The cat was so healthy despite the carnage around him that the Brits grew curious. One day, they followed Tom among the ruins. The tabby ducked under some rubble … and didn’t immediately come back.

The soldiers cleared away the debris and discovered a hidden cache of food the Russians had squirreled away at the beginning of the siege. Tom had survived the battle by returning again and again to the same supplies.

The cat saved everyone from starvation. When the time came to return to Britain, a soldier named William Gair took Tom with him. The cat died a year later.

You can still see Crimean Tom, as he was stuffed and is on display at London’s National Army Museum. Read the full story, and those of several other wartime cats, at Medium. -via Nag on the Lake

(Unrelated image credit: Flickr user Jeff Gitchel)

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