Mascot – U.S.S. Custodian


Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: I never would have guessed how many photos of cats on ships I would acquire over time. I do find these photos irresistible. The stalwart cats of the sea – the preferred mascot for ships, probably due to their predilection for mice and rats which must abound in the cargo and supply areas of these ships. There seems to be real affection for them – hence the photos, many which include a crew member holding them. It is almost an archetype – hard to imagine a dog being a ship’s mascot. This photo postcard is unused and I can find no information on the T.S.S. Custodian.

This scrappy fellow presents his own archetype of  elder statesmen tabbies.  Ears intact, he hasn’t spent his life scrapping with other kitties, but looking at this barrel chested fellow you can imagine that more than a few rodents fell under his claw paws! He probably knew just where and when to prowl the galley in time for a hand-out too.

I have mentioned Zipper, an alley cat rescue who joined our family when I was still quite little. (See prior post, Old Tommy for more on Zipper.) Zips was very grateful for his adoption, but despite having been rescued when he was very young, he never transcended his alley cat roots. His tail, cruelly broken before he came to us, remained perpetually downturned and crooked at the tip. He lived cheerfully among us, but somehow never quite fully domesticated. Zipper ruled our neighborhood with a roving band of fellow kitty miscreants and there will be many future posts devoted to his antics. Still, as I write this I realize that I don’t believe we have a single photo of Zipper. I don’t remember him ever sitting on a lap or accepting more than a few occasional pets. Our large, gentle cat Snoopy, endured him with a bit of a sniff. Snoopy was top cat of the house, but didn’t need the title of King Cat of Waterman Avenue which seems to have belonged to Zipper.

When I was about 12 we moved several blocks away. Zipper, however, refused to make the move and returned repeatedly to his stomping ground. Luckily, there was an elderly neighbor who had a soft spot for him and said she would take him in. Zipper never had to give up his title and fight for new turf, and when he was ready to retire we were pleased to know he had the devotion of someone who doted on him, fed him delicacies and gave him a proverbial place by the fire.

5 thoughts on “Mascot – U.S.S. Custodian

  1. Yes, as dignified as that portrait of Churchill. And Zipper is a great name for a cat.
    There’s a charming book called “Animal heroes : military mascots and pets” by Jack Kramer with photos of all kinds of animal mascots – Navy goats, cats, dogs, and even a coatimundi. Sweet to think of sailors and soldiers and their treasured pets.


  2. Pingback: Mascots | Pam's Pictorama

  3. Pingback: More Mascots | Pam's Pictorama

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