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The Internet, and the world at large, has become completely fascinated with cats. It doesn't matter the context; they can be doing absolutely nothing, they can be posing for a picture with a hilarious caption or they can be doing something "extraordinary" such as plinking around on a piano with their paws.

We at Cracked are fans of the last category, except our definition of extraordinary is less "piano player" and more "Bulletproof Monk." Like ...

6
Sam the Ship-Sinking Cat

In all sorts of sea vessels, it's not uncommon to have a ship's cat to catch any mice or rats that might be lurking on board. One such cat, a black-and-white patched male with an unknown name, was serving onboard the German warship Bismarck in May 1941.


One of these days, some crazy young sultan is going to build a yacht replica of this.

History buffs will know what happened next -- the Bismarck was sunk in battle May 27 on its first-ever mission, killing 95 percent of its crew. Among the survivors, however, was the ship's cat, who was found floating on a board somewhat relieved that his job of killing all the mice on the Bismarck had suddenly become incredibly easy. The cat was the only Bismarck survivor picked up by the HMS Cossack, a British destroyer. They took him onto the boat, named him Oscar and made him their ship's cat, but had they the time machine necessary to read this article, they probably would've drowned him like the Dutch lady in Lethal Weapon 2.


"Drowning the Dutch lady" sounds like it should be a euphemism.

Oscar served on the Cossack until October 1941, when a torpedo from a German submarine blew a giant ass hole in it. Another ship, the HMS Legion, tried to tow it to safety, but the weather was too rough, and the Legion had had a really long day and honestly just didn't fucking feel like it. The Cossack was left to sink, but Oscar was found on a raft of dead bodies he had woven together [citation needed] and taken to Gibraltar. By now he had gained the new nickname "Unsinkable Sam," since "Neptune, God of the Sea" had already been taken.

Flying in the face of superstitious reason, Sam was transferred to another British Navy vessel, the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, within a couple of weeks. In November of that same year, the Ark Royal was torpedoed and sunk by the Germans. Nearly the entire crew, including an "angry but quite unharmed" Sam, was saved by the HMS Legion (the same vessel that had saved Sam from the Cossack) as well as the HMS Lightning. By this point everyone finally realized that this cat needed to stay the hell away from boats, and Sam was transferred to the governor's office in Gibraltar to be the official mouse catcher and storm conjurer.


Above: The Sea God equivalent of pissing in your loafers.

Sam never boarded another ship, but his career of destruction wasn't over yet. The two boats that saved the crew of the Ark Royal, the Legion and the Lightning, would both be attacked and sunk by the Germans within the next two years. With such a track record, we imagine that the Royal Navy started making regular sacrifices to Sam in exchange for letting its ships stay afloat.


Is that what's going on here?

5
Scarlett the Firefighter

On March 29, 1996, an old abandoned car dealership in Brooklyn inexplicably burst into flames. Firefighters rushed to the scene to combat the fire so it wouldn't spread to a building that actually mattered, and one of the firemen noticed a mother cat leaving the building, carrying a kitten in her jaws. She walked it over to a litter of four more, nudged each one and then passed out next to them.

Apparently the mother cat had been raising her litter of five kittens in the abandoned building when it caught fire, and she raced in to save them all. She could carry only one kitten at a time, however, which means she must have made the daring trip into a flaming building at least five times, which is about six more times than we would ever run into a blazing inferno regardless of who was trapped inside.


Not even Erik Estrada.

When she emerged for the fifth and final time, her ears were burnt, she was scorched on her feet and much of her hair had burned away. Nevertheless, she made sure all her kittens were OK before she lost consciousness. She had to nudge them all to make a head count because her eyes had swollen shut from the flames and intense heat. This means that for some portion of her flaming terror adventure, she couldn't even see where she was going.

The cat, who was later named Scarlett because of her red, flame-licked skin (and presumably also for her involvement in the slaying of Mr. Boddy), was rushed to a nearby shelter along with her five kittens, four of which survived. The kittens were adopted by two families, and Scarlett herself was adopted by a woman who allegedly "spoiled her rotten" out of respect and/or fear. She died of old age 12 years later, leaving behind a legacy of fearlessness, as well as the Scarlett Award for Animal Heroism. Given out by the North Shore Animal League America, this award recognizes all the heroes of the animal world that risk their lives to save others and make everyone else look bad by comparison.


Also, she has the eyes of Satan.

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4
Minosch the Marathon Runner

In 1981, Mehmet Tunc was a Turkish man who was in Germany as a guest worker, living on the island of Sylt with his family and their cat, Minosch. When it came time for their Soviet-approved holiday (earned by making 10,000 purchases at the local bread repository), the entire family headed back to Turkey for a couple of weeks, and for reasons unknown they thought that bringing the cat along on a lengthy confined car ride would be a good idea.


The only thing cats love more than prolonged car rides is being flicked in the face with droplets of water.

When they hit the Turkish border, the cat decided he'd had enough and darted off, getting lost in the crowd. The family looked for him but ultimately had to leave him behind, heading back to Germany without their beloved cat. Minosch was never seen again ... until about two months later, when he was found scratching at the door of the Tuncs' home in Sylt, Germany.

We weren't very sure how far Turkey was from Germany either, so here's a handy visual aid, courtesy of Google Maps, plotting the path from the Turkish border to Sylt:

Those of you good with geography will recognize the starting point "A" as the bottom of Europe and the ending point "B" as the fucking top of Europe, not including Norway and whatever other Eskimo lands are up there. The total journey was right around 1,500 miles, meaning that Minosch covered about 25 miles a day, or slightly less than a freaking marathon, for two months straight. And that's not all:

Sylt happens to be an island, and the only way you can get there is by boat or by train. So either Minosch swam, snuck onto a boat or hijacked a train to make his way back home.


Like this, with a cat.

3
Rusik the Narc

In 2002, a stray kitten named Rusik walked into a police station in the Stavropol region in Russia, an area known primarily for mountains and sadness. The policemen working there took the kitten in and gave him some fish, as they had quite a bit lying around. See, this particular station was a security checkpoint whose main purpose was to use dogs to search every car that passed through for smuggled sturgeon, a very rare and valuable fish from which caviar is made. Whenever they caught smugglers, they would confiscate the fish and, apparently, just leave them lying around the station.


"That's a desk."

The cops there would come to realize that Rusik had an uncanny ability to detect any and all sturgeon that passed through the checkpoint, sort of like how girls can find every bit of pornography their boyfriends are hiding even if they aren't really looking for it.

According to staff, "no matter how ingenious the smugglers were in their attempts to hide the fish, Rusik was always able to point his nose in the right direction and find it." Rusik eventually became the official sturgeon detector, replacing the old, specially trained $2,000 sturgeon-sniffing dog, which presumably had to resist the very powerful urge to bite that fucking cat in half.


"The severance package doesn't include my arm!"

Rusik rose to international fame in early July 2003, when the BBC did a short news story on him and his famed nose. Sadly, little Rusik wouldn't make it one more week, as the lords of the sturgeon-smuggling underworld decided that the cat was going to have an unfortunate "accident."

Around July 15 that same year, Rusik was inspecting a car, hot on the trail of some smuggled sturgeon, when the car pulled forward and crushed him in what police believe was an official contract killing so hilariously obvious it is mystifying how nobody else thought of it. This marks probably the first time a contract has been put out on a cat's life.


A glaring oversight, in our opinion.

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2
Sabrina the Skydiver

In late 1984, a cat named Sabrina tragically fell from the 32nd story of the high-rise New York apartment building where her owner lived, making a hard landing on the concrete below. The cat was rushed to the 62nd Street Animal Medical Center, where veterinarians worked as hard as they could to restore the cat's health. Alas, 48 hours later, the center had no choice but to pronounce Sabrina "perfectly fucking fine."

According to the medical center, Sabrina's fall only left her with a chipped tooth and a fairly mild lung puncture; reports of quick-deploying titanium armor were unconfirmed. After two days, Sabrina was sent back to her family, where she presumably lived the rest of her life sitting in the exact center of the living room.


You don't move a cat like that without saying "please."

While we'd like to say that Sabrina was simply a Kryptonian cat in disguise, the truth is that she is far from the only cat to survive a jump off of the high dive. One study, for instance, found that a very large number of cats fell from New York apartments between June and November of 1984, either from trying to chase down some sonofabitch fly or from walking too fancy on a balcony. While the statistical relevance of the study is debated by the world's statistics majors, the fact remains that of the 132 cats that lived long enough to make it to the 62nd Street Animal Medical Center, only 17 of them could not be saved. Most of them ended up like Sabrina, treated and back in their homes before their families had time to appreciate their nonshredded furniture.


You wouldn't believe how cute crutches can be.

Scientists have theorized that once cats hit their terminal velocity, their muscles relax much like an alcoholic's, and they stretch out their limbs to slow their descent and spread the shock across their entire bodies, kind of like a trained paratrooper. This confirms our suspicions that "falling" is the only thing you could ever train a cat to do properly.

1
Oscar the Harbinger of Death

Meet Oscar the cat. Cute, isn't he?

If you find this cat sleeping with you, it means you're about to die.

Oscar is one of six cats living at the Steere House Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Providence, RI, and he has an uncanny and supernatural ability to tell when one of the elderly patients isabout to head for the great bingo hall in the sky. When patients are near death, he will curl up with them, sometimes lying directly on top of the terminally afflicted area of their bodies, and will stay until they have passed. If he is removed from the room, he will pace outside the door and meow incessantly until he is let back in to enjoy the sweet, sweet taste of death.


Also, flowers.

Oscar was brought into the nursing home back in 2005 as a newborn rescue kitten from an animal shelter. He wasn't very friendly with people at first, ignoring them or hissing at them when they got too close. After six months, however, the staff noticed Oscar's strange tendency to curl up with patients who would die only a couple of hours later, while he was still in the room. When The New England Journal of Medicine published a paper on Oscar's behavior, he had made 25 correct predictions in a row, which is absolutely the point where the cat changes from "intriguing" to "terrifying."

Oscar's skill is so great that he can even make predictions better than the actual staff, i.e., the people who paid for the training to know when somebody in their care is going to die. On one occasion, the nurses thought that a patient was close to death, ,so they took Oscar and placed him on the patient's bed for reasons that no one can begin to understand. Apparently Oscar didn't understand what they wanted him to do, either, so he leapt from the bed and went to sleep with another patient in a nearby room. Turns out Oscar's pick was right, as his patient died that evening, while the nurses' pick lived another two days.


This chair was broken by a fat person the very next morning.

Oscar has correctly predicted the deaths of more than 50 patients over the past five years. His story has inspired a book, movies and a particularly good episode of House. If a nurse or staff member sees Oscar sleeping alongside one of the patients, it's now standard protocol to call the patient's family and tell them that their loved one is about to die.


"Excuse me, Mrs. Stein? Your mother has been chosen by the Grim Reaper's feline agent. Just keeping you in the loop!"

How does Oscar know when people are about to die? There are a number of explanations, such as an attraction to warming blankets used on dying patients or the lack of movement in certain other patients near death. One popular theory suggests that the body gives off chemicals like ketones when it dies, and Oscar is able to smell those and for some reason is attracted to them. We at Cracked like the simplicity and elegance of our preferred explanation -- Oscar is a necromancer.

Be sure to pick up our new book, which will help protect you from Oscar.

For more on cats, check out 6 Adorable Cat Behaviors With Shockingly Evil Explanations. Or learn about some more awesome animals, in 5 Animals That Can Do Amazing Things ... With Their Penises.

And stop by Linkstorm to discover how cats actually rule the world.

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