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Cats set to become sea dogs

TWO CATS featured on TV’s Animal Rescue Live have found a new loving family on board HMS Belfast, but need new nautical names to make them feel more at home aboard ship.

The two new shipmates, rescued from the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London, are sure to be popular with the thousands of families expected to visit the historic ship during the summer holidays.

Garfield and Diesel - awaiting their new nautical nomenclature - together with two of HMS Belfast’s crew.

HMS Belfast is a floating museum, moored on the River Thames in London and currently is a cat-free zone.

But during her time at sea the ship would have been home to three cats, employed mainly to keep rats under control.

‘The ship is no stranger to looking after cats,’ explains director Brad King. ‘During her time at sea HMS Belfast would have been home to three cats all of which were an integral part of the crew, which during the Second World War could be as large as 950 men.

‘They played an important role on board as rat-catchers and lucky mascots for superstitious sailors. We are delighted to play a part in restoring this naval tradition to the ship, and even more delighted to involve our visitors and supporters in naming our new recruits.’

The cats, currently called Garfield and Diesel, will adopt their new names at the end of August.

* Visitors to the ship wishing to take part in the renaming competition can select from pairs of ‘nautical’ names. Ten winners will receive special prizes for taking part. Readers of OPUR CATS can also vote online at www.iwm.org.uk/ hmsbelfast