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Kiddo, the Airship Cat

In 1910, a gray tabby cat named Kiddo was the first to fly above the Atlantic Ocean. Walter Wellman and five companion set out from Atlantic City, New Jersey, on the airship America in an attempt to cross the Atlantic.

It was just at the last minute that Kiddo was thrown up into the lifeboat under the airship, where radio operator Jack Irwin had his post, and the cat spent much of his time cuddled up in the 'wireless corner'. A motorboat, occupied by journalists, towed the airship away from land until deep water was reached, and then cast it off when the sea became too rough for the small boat. The airship immediately disappeared from view into a dense fog bank. While that was going on Kiddo really did not seem to enjoy his first experience of flying, mewing, howling and rushing around 'like a squirrel in a cage', according to the log, and generally getting on the nerves of the first engineer, Melvin Vaniman. The America was the first aircraft to be equipped with radio, and apparently the historic first, in-flight radio message — to a secretary back on land — read:

Roy, come and get this goddamn cat!

It was a historic journey, although ultimately unsuccessful. Oh, the cat survived, as well as the crew, but the airship didn’t. The men and the cat were rescued by the British steamship RMS Trent, which took them to New York City. Kiddo was renamed Trent in honor of the ship, and was regarded as a celebrity as he lived in luxurious display at Gimbal’s department store following his adventure. Read the story of the ill-fated Atlantic crossing and its famous cat at Purr ’n’ Furr. -via Nag on the Lake

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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