Special Relationship Between Cats and Marine Soldiers

Sailors and cats have shared a special bond for thousands of years. Cats provided not only companionship that sailors needed on their long and sometimes dreadful voyages, they also protected the ship from vermin such as rats and mice from chewing and damaging the ship and spreading diseases.

This photo was taken in Korea in 1953. The little kitten named Miss Hap was only two weeks old. She became an orphan because of war and was rescued by Marine Sergeant Frank Praytor. He adopted the kitten after the mother cat died from the war. According to the marine, the name was derived “because she was born at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

sailor feeding kitten cat pic

This photo was taken in Tarawa in November, 1943. The little kitten “crept out from beneath a wrecked” tank. The U.S. Marine soldier, name unknown, offered water to the little one.

marine solider feeding kitten

Cats were often mascots for the U.S. marine soldiersĀ during the time of war. Soldiers often spent time with their beloved furry friends right before heading off to battles:

marine solider and cat

navy pilots soldiers and cat

Stories and photos via U.S. Naval Institute

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31 Responses to “Special Relationship Between Cats and Marine Soldiers”

  1. Gwen says:

    this brought tears to my eyes. Bless our soldiers and our cats.

  2. Maine Kitten (Sarah) says:

    This brought tears to my eyes as well. There are so many casualties of war, of which we are not aware!

  3. In terrible circumstances, these men can overcome inhumanity with a kitty. Heartwarmimg.

  4. Abby says:

    The loving relationship of man to animal in times of unspeakable tragedies…


  5. Robbin says:


  6. janie jones says:

    :( I'm such a softie.

  7. So sweet. I like the creativity and meaning behind the name "Miss Hap".

    • Frank Praytor says:

      Jemma, Miss Hap was weaned on meat out of C rations and she grew into a large girl that thought I was her father. When I left Korea, I left her in the care of another Marine. When I returned in '53, she was alive and well.

      At 83, I'm still saving orphans. Have two cats, Molly and Max. They never leave the house.

      • Love Meow says:

        Frank, my hat's off to you :). You are awesome!

      • Leslee says:

        What a wonderful guy you are, Frank.

      • sophie says:

        Your story made me want to tear up a little! You are truly a wonderful soul. :)

      • caroline says:

        if that kitten survived c rations then it has a tummy of steel and should live forever. my lil bro and I used to play army with rations an uncle brought home from I want to say desert storm.. 20 yrs later I still remember the foul taste…lol

        great story tho. its good to see military men like this and not the douchebag in Iraq (Afghanistan ?) who threw a puppy over a cliff

  8. Terri says:

    What a wonderful story. Those men had a soft spot in their hearts for the kitties. God bless them.

  9. Beauty says:

    Very heart warming!

  10. Tammy says:

    Amazing how a little kitty can open your heart, just like these did for the soldiers. They bring light to your darkest days.

  11. monica says:

    Definitely true Tammy!

  12. bongga says:

    Somebody said that animals are much closer to God than us human. I think this so true. I need a tissue….

  13. Michelle says:

    Such a nice story . . .

  14. octopuss says:

    Oh, I started to think of all the poor little unknown kitties and cubs and fledglings who were victims of war. But what great love and energy one can get from the small little animals: These people are so much in need of love in times of cruelty…this is so moving.

  15. MissMeow says:

    Pass the tissue! How very sweet

  16. My Dad was in the Marines, W.W.2, South Pacific. He Talked about his Buddies caring for Orphan Kittens. This article made me "smile, it also made remember How Special Our Troops(especially the Marines)how Wonderful they are !

  17. bel says:

    Great great photos.

    Very touching story about soldiers & their furry friends during war times.

    I don't know who has the more impressive courage under fire… soldiers or the animals. The wrong place, wrong time for everyone.

  18. Nuria says:

    What wonderful photos!

  19. Laurie McRae says:

    The cats and the soldiers are bright spots in each others otherwise bleek lives. I'm so thankful that God led them to each other!

  20. Sue says:

    These pictures are so darn cute. Thank you for sharing them.

  21. Vanditta Diwakar says:

    This is just too beautiful :')



  23. Kathi says:

    Top is really sweet, hope the little guy lived way back in 1943….Wow….Who knew soldiers have always had a soft spot for fur babies?

  24. michelle says:

    Its no surprize these men got comfort from these wee cuties, the kittens were as much a comfort and touch of home to the men as the men are life savers to the kittens, peace and love to everyone ,xxx

  25. Toni says:

    Real men love cats! šŸ˜‰

  26. Olla says:

    Amazing! Brought tears to my eyes!

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