Mrs. Chippy and Perce Blackborow
Photography by Frank Hurley
I think it best we recall, from time to time, those Felis catus individuals who have established themselves in history. Such a cat is Mrs. Chippy, who bravely accompanied the Homo sapiens and Canis familiaris members of Sir Ernest H. Shackleton's expedition to Antarctica in 1914.
Let me assure you (lest you think otherwise) that whereas many people of various species assume Mrs. Chippy has long since passed away, such is not the case. When exploring the Antarctic those many years ago, he â€” as "Mrs." Chippy is in fact a male cat â€” was, according to reliable sources, embarked upon his very first lifetime. Hence, in all likelihood, he remains with us today!
For a fascinating account of Mrs. Chippy's singular adventure 87 years ago, I recommend Caroline Alexander's book Mrs. Chippy's Last Adventure: The Remarkable Journal of Shackleton's Polar-bound Cat (Harper Collins Publishers; New York, New York, United States of America; 1997). Ms Alexander has reproduced, for all to see, Mrs. Chippy's very own day-to-day recollections of that fabulous journey.
Now I ask you, dear readers of The Cat Site, to examine your hearts and see if you don't believe as I do: that Mrs. Chippy should, albeit posthumously according to Homo sapiens standards, be awarded some recognition for his daring exploit. Thus, the poll which you find above.
Thank you all for your kind attention to this matter. Let us pause for a moment and remember Mrs. Chippy, who is my hero â€” and I hope he will be your own, too.
MICHAELA KRISTIN HARAN