Boat Cats III

more... Famous Boat Cats

Welcome back to our exploration of seafaring felines! In our previous post, we looked into the captivating world of famous boat cats. Now, join us as we embark on a journey to discover even more tales of these brave companions who’ve made their mark on the high seas.

Mrs. Chippy

Mrs. Chippy was a Tabby cat living aboard the Endurance, ship on a Royal Trans-Antarctic expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton. He was brought aboard by carpenter and shipbuilder Harry McNish (Chippy). (Chippy, a nickname for carpenters in English slang) From the moment he set foot on the ship, because the cat was following Chippy wherever he goes like a concerned wife, the crew soon calls the cat as Mrs. Chippy.

A month after the ship sailed for Antarctica, it was discovered that despite her name, Miss Chippy was actually a male. But by that time, the name had settled and remained unchanged. This famous boat cat was described by her crew as “full of character” and impressed them with her ability to walk along the ship’s one-inch-wide railings even in the toughest weather. In Captain Frank Worsley’s diary, she describes how Miss Chippy climbed to the rigging as “…exactly as a master sailor is climbing into the rigging.”

Like most boat cats, Miss Chippy’s journey was not without incident. Thomas Orde-Lees, one of the crew, says in his diary of September 13, 1914: “Something extraordinary happened during the night. A tabby cat jumped overboard from one of the cabin portholes and the watch officer, Lieutenant Hudson, heard her cries, cleverly turned the ship and picked it up. The cat was in the water for 10 minutes more or less”. The cat was retrieved by the ship’s biologist, Robert Clark, using one of his sampling scoops.

After the Endurance was trapped in ice and badly damaged, Shackleton decided that the animals on board (Mrs. Chippy and her five sled dogs) would not survive.

In the diary of 29 October 1915, he noted: Sallie’s three youngest puppies, Sue’s Sirius, and the carpenter’s cat, Mrs. Chippy, are due to be shot this afternoon. We could not take care of the weak under the new conditions. Macklin, Crean, and the carpenter seemed to feel pretty badly at the loss of their friend. And unfortunately Mrs. Chippy was shot dead on Shackelton’s orders.

Boat Cats - Mrs. Chippy Statue on Mc Nish Grave

McNish was very attached to Miss Chippy and never forgave Shackleton, who ordered her death. McNish died as a poor man in Wellington, New Zealand, in September 1930, and was buried in an unmarked grave with a navy ceremony. The New Zealand Antarctic Society placed a headstone over the grave in 1959. 

With the donations collected in 2004, his beloved Mrs. A life-size bronze statue of Chippy was also placed over the tomb.

In February 2011, Miss Chippy and expedition member Perce Blackborow were featured on a postage stamp issued by South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.


Chibley was rescued from an animal shelter when she was very young in 1997 and became the ship’s cat of the tall ship Picton Castle. Her full name was Miss Chibley Bits. “Chibley Bits” is a sailor term that refers to small particles that stick to the feet from walking barefoot on a wooden deck.

Boat Cats - Chibley

Because Picton Castle was a training and museum ship, Chibley sailed around the world and became famous by meeting a large number of visitors. Among the all boat cats Chibley is probably the one had most milage on open seas. Chibley has sailed more than 180,000 miles in total and completed 5 circumnavigations.

Chibley’s last major adventure began in May 2010 with Picton Castle’s fifth round-the-world voyage under the command of Captain Daniel Moreland, scheduled to be the last for the ship. On the 14-month voyage, Picton Castle set out from its home port of Lunenburg, Canada, and sailed west after crossing the Panama Canal. Picton returned to Lunenburg in mid-June 2011 after a successful voyage.

Completing his fifth world tour, Chibley unfortunately died on November 10, 2011, in a car accident in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.


Emmy was the ship’s cat of the RMS Empress of Ireland, a transatlantic cruise ship. The ship operated in the North Atlantic between Liverpool and Quebec for most of her career, from 1906 to 1914. All along, the crew watched as their eel cat Emmy suppressed the rat and mouse infestation on the ship. Emmy loved the tinned sardines and smoked fish her crew members gave her as prizes, and she rarely left the ship, even when moored in port.

As the crew of the Empress of Ireland prepared to depart Quebec City on May 28, 1914, they were alarmed to find that Emmy was not in her usual spot. 

Boat Cats - Emmy

According to sailor belief, the ship’s cat’s disappearance, something wrong, or abandonment of the ship was an omen of bad luck. As the crew continued their preparations to leave port, and the moment of departure approached, Emmy was spotted ashore, sitting atop a shed on dock 27, where the ship was moored, watching the ongoing preparations below.

Boat Cats - Emmy - Empress of Ireland

No amount of bribes or rewards offered to her by the crew could bring Emmy back aboard, and Empress of Ireland was forced to leave port, leaving her cat in the dock. Eyewitnesses later said that Emmy continued to watch the ship as it entered the canal.

Early on the morning of May 29, Empress of Ireland, St. Collided with the freighter SS Storstad near the mouth of the Lawrence River. Storstad was badly damaged but escaped sinking. Empress of Ireland was not so lucky. The ship sank at great speed and suffered heavy loss of life. More than 1,000 passengers and crew, St. He died in the cold waters of Lawrence. About 460 people were rescued. Emmy was never seen again.

Continue Reading … Boat Cats IV – even more… Famous Boat and Ship Cats >>>



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