The RMS Titanic was the largest and most luxurious passenger ship of its time. The famous ocean liner was deemed unsinkable, but that thought was quickly realized as false when it sank in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic Ocean after hitting an Iceberg on April 15, 1912, taking more than 1,500 souls with it—to this day, it is considered one of the most famous and worst shipwrecks in history.
Everyone knows the story of the Titanic, but have you ever wondered if cats were onboard the famous ocean liner? As it turns out, there was one cat named Jenny aboard who had a litter of kittens on board the famous ship. Read on to learn more about Jenny the cat and other interesting information about animals onboard the doomed Titanic.
Who was Jenny the Cat?
The story of Jenny is not clear-cut and is shrouded in mystery. Rumors surround the story of the cat; however, the true story is one we will never know for sure. We do know that Jenny was allowed to board the ship in Belfast and roam the deck freely to keep the mice and rat population down on the vessel. She reportedly had a litter of kittens roughly a week after the ship set out on its maiden voyage. Sadly, Jenny, deemed the official mascot of the Titanic, was never seen after the ship’s sinking, and she was presumed dead along with her kittens.
Even though the above story is the most likely outcome, one rumor has a much happier ending. Legend has it that a stoker aboard the ship, Joseph Mulholland, saw Jenny transport herself and her kittens one by one to dry land when the ship docked at Southampton before its doomed voyage to New York. Considering this a bad omen, Joseph Mulholland did not board the ship, which ended up saving his life. No one can substantiate this story, but it’s one we like to think is true.
Were There Other Animals Aboard the Ship?
Jenny is the only known cat that was aboard the Titanic; however, there are a few stories of other felines on board, but no one knows this for sure. What we do know is there were 12 dogs, a canary, and a few hens aboard. The dogs aboard the ship were pets of first-class passengers, and the cost of a ticket for bringing their pooches along was the same price as that of a child, which was half the price of an adult ticket. The dogs were kept in first-rate kennels and were well taken care of, which included being exercised with daily walks along the decks.
Of the 12 dogs on board, only three managed to survive in the arms of their owners in the coveted few lifeboats available. The dogs that survived were a Pekingese and two Pomeranians. Apart from the two Pomeranians and the Pekingese on board, the other breeds included a French Bulldog, Airedale Terrier, Chow Chow, King Charles Spaniel, and a Newfoundland Dog.
Was There a Great Dane on the Titanic?
Perhaps the saddest story regarding the animals that perished is that of first-class passenger Ann Elizabeth Isham. Legend has it she brought her beloved Great Dane on board the ship and refused to leave her dog behind. An unsubstantiated story claims she boarded a lifeboat but jumped back on the ship when she was told she would have to leave her dog behind.
Another account of this story is that a woman was spotted in the frigid waters with her frozen arms wrapped around a dog after the sinking. Many believe the woman was Ann Elizabeth Isham and her Great Dane; however, no one knows for sure, as her body was never recovered.
The sinking of the Titanic has intrigued us for well over 100 years and continues to do so. Not only were humans lost, but animals as well, with one being the ship’s mascot, Jenny the cat, who was an invaluable asset in keeping the mice and rat population down. We’d like to think the story of her taking herself and her kittens off the ship one by one before its doomed voyage is true, but the story has never been confirmed.
Featured Image Credit: Simone Padovani, Shutterstock