Dispatches from Home – A Cat with a Premonition.

Because by the Titanic’s grandeur, the glamour of its 1st Class passengers, and the immigrant dreams of those in steerage, everything from its rivets to its china patterns has been scrutinized. But what about the ship’s famous cat and the little bow-wows on board for that fateful voyage?

There were 12 canines on board the doomed liner, three of which survived. Those included a baby Pomeranian, whose owner wrapped her in a blanket and carried her into a lifeboat. The other two dogs were small, pedigreed pooches as well. All the dogs belonged to 1st Class passengers. The remaining nine dogs, confined in the onboard kennel, were larger. Someone, possibly a passenger, freed the dogs from the kennel as the ship sank. The agitated dogs ran up and down the listing deck, adding to the chaos—all died. As did one passenger who refused to leave her dog.

When Ann Elizabeth Isham was informed that her Great Dane could not get into the lifeboat with her, she climbed out of it. As passengers shouted and cried and the band played on, she and her dog stood on the slanting deck and awaited their fate. A few days after the sinking, her body was found by a recovery ship, clutching her beloved canine. Miss Isham was one of four first-class female passengers who died on the Titanic. But what about the cat with the premonition?

Jennie, the Titanic’s feline mascot, helped keep the crew happy and the rat population under control. Her favorite spot was the ship’s galley, where she was fed on scraps from the kitchen. While the ship was in Southampton being readied for for her ill-fated voyage, Jennie gave birth. But something in dear Jennie told her that all was not right with the great Titanic. She carried her kittens off the ship one by one, taking them into a local warehouse.

Rumor has it that Jim Mulholland , Jenny’s unofficial caretaker, saw her leaving the ship with her kittens and saw it as an bad omen. (Sailors are notoriously superstitious.) He is said to have packed his grip and left the ship after seeing her! Of course, this may be a tall tale, but I’d like to believe that a cat named Jenny saved her kittens and Jim from a watery grave.

Captain Smith with a Russian Wolfhound on board Titanic.
A pod of pooches supposedly on board the ill-fated Titanic.