Cat abandoned in the Antarctic!
March 14, 2007 4:24am CST
Bet that got your attention:) I've been reading a book called "Ships Cats in War and Peace" It's all about ships cats needless to say. One of the stories was about Mrs Chippy who despite the name, was a tabby tomcat and was the ships cat on "Endurance", Shackleton's ship on his Antarctic expedition in 1914. When the ship was crushed in the ice, Shackleton and his men had to trek across the pack ice to the nearest land which was 346 miles away. In preparation for this, they had to abandon all non - essential equipment and tragically, this included the ships cat. This is the passage from the book which describes the scene. "The crew were stood stunned, deeply stirred by his words. Those of the crew who where especially fond of Mrs Chippy, went quiet, Robert Clerk, the chief biologist, picked the cat up and stroked him affectionately. One by one the men came up to him and gave him a tickle under the chin, a stroke or a meaningful caress. Mrs Chippy had been a great solace to them all. Mrs Chippy accepted these displays of affection graciously, as his natural due. After all, he was used to being made a fuss of. One story goes that he was taken into McNeish's tent, where gis master sat silently fondling him until Perce Blackborow came in with a rare treat in those hard times - a bowl of speccially prepared sardines. Purring with delight, Mrs Chippy ate delicately, lingering over every mouthful with relish. a little while later Blackbarow returned to see how he was getting on and held him tightly, telling him how glad he was that Mrs Chippy has shipped along with them aboard the "Endurance". Then, moist - eyed, he left." Another story says that Shackleton ordered the cat to be shot! The story of Shackleton's expedition is well known (at least to me) After abandoning the ship, they trekked across the pack ice to reach Elephant Island with three of the ships boats which they had hauled over the ice. There they made camp and Shackleton made the decision to take the largest of the boats and some of the men to sail to South Georgia to get help. It took them 17 days, one of the most famous small boat voyages known. Landing on the south coast of South Georgia, Shackleton and one companion then trekked 40 miles over the mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to the whaling station at Stromness on the north coast where he was able to get help. The men left on the south coast where rescued, and after three failed attempts to penetrate the pack ice to reach Elephant Island, he succeeded in reaching the men there. No lives were lost except for the ships cat.