Cats rule the Internet. My cat, Karlee Newport (she was born in Orange County, California, just down the coast from Queen Mary), recently verified this fact for me.
Shipping lines rarely acknowledged the fact, and few maritime historians have addressed the issue, but it’s an undeniable truth that virtually all of the “floating palaces” of the 19th and 20th centuries were heavily rat infested. Behind those elegantly-carved oak panels, rats (and mice) were busy nibbling away at the electrical wiring and anything else they could dig into.
Occasionally, a rat (or mouse) would make an impromptu appearance inside a passageway, stateroom or dining room, scaring up to several faint-hearted First Class passengers. Cats were often brought on board liners to keep the vermin population under control. It was, as we might say today, an environmentally sound solution to a pesky problem.
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