8 of the World's Hardest-Working Cats

cat sits atop green table in union jack bow tie

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Most cat owners readily accept that their felines earn their keep through snuggling sessions and the occasional dead bird on the stoop. However, there are some ambitious cats that are truly working for their kibble, putting in full days' work in industries including spaceflight, transportation, and politics. Here are some jobs held by notable kitties who are putting in the hard work.

Astronaut

space cats train in boxes in france

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Appropriately nicknamed Astro-Cat, Félicette was the first cat to go into space and the only cat to ever survive the trip. Félicette, pictured far left in the above photo of space cats in training, flew up to space in a Véronique AGI 47 sounding rocket on October 18, 1963. After reaching about 100 miles up, Félicette's capsule detached from the rocket and she headed back down to Earth. While she was only in space for 15 minutes, it earned her the astronaut title and landed her precious face on a commemorative stamp.

Station Master

calico cat sleeping in window

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Tama was the station master of Kishi Station on the Kishigawa Line in Kinokawa, Japan. Shown above dozing, she was one of the best-known working cats in her day, thanks in no small part to her role in saving the tiny train station. Kishi Station was slated for closure in the mid-2000s, but in 2007, the owners of the line elected to make Tama, the cat of a local storeowner, the station master in an effort to boost awareness and use of the station.

From 2007 until her death in 2015, Tama greeted visitors. Tourists flocked to meet the calico, using the station to do it. The city similarly cashed in, creating shops and a Tama-themed cafe. All in all, it's estimated that Tama contributed 1.1 billion yen ($10.5 million) to the local economy.

In 2008, Tama was knighted by the prefecture's governor. When she died, she was enshrined as a Shinto goddess, the honorable eternal station master.

Librarian

cat lying on a stack of colorful books

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There's no shortage of library cats in the world. They're good for pest control, they're fairly independent, and, importantly, they don't make much noise. In fact, being a library cat seems like an enjoyable job considering the aisles to explore, shelves to use for napping, and abundance of readers willing to offer pets.

Unfortunately, not everyone is supportive of this career choice. One example is Browser, the library cat and mascot for White Settlement, Texas that was hired as a mouser. The city council voted to evict Browser in 2016. Thankfully, an outpouring of support convinced the council to reverse its decision.

Browser is the subject of the library's annual fundraiser calendar, and he even has an honorary GED due to his routine attendance at their GED classes.

Politician

tabby cat in uncle sam hat waving american flag

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Like library cats, there are more than a few cats that have held a political office. In fact, it's not uncommon for animals of all types — dogs to goats — to be elected.

One of the most iconic of these was Stubbs, the symbolic mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska that governed from 1997 until is death in 2017. He initially won as a write-in candidate after residents were unhappy with the humans in the race. Stubbs "ran" Talkeetna from Nagley's General Store, where he greeted constituents and drank catnip-laced water from wine glasses.

In 2014, Stubbs was drafted to run for a seat in the United States Senate, but he was unsuccessful and remained in Talkeetna.

Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office

white and brown cat in front of 10 downing street

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In perhaps the most official posting on the list, Larry (shown above) is the mouser for 10 Downing Street, headquarters of the Government of the United Kingdom and official home to the Prime Minister. According to the government website, Larry spends his days "greeting guests to the house, inspecting security defenses, and testing antique furniture for napping quality." His plans to eliminate the mice in the building are still "in tactical planning stage," however.

Permanent Hotel Resident

gray cat sits on bed in hotel closet

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New York City's Algonquin Hotel has had a cat on the premise since the 1930s. Since then, whenever the hotel is home to a male cat, his name is Hamlet. If the cat is female, her name is Matilda.

After three Matildas all in a row, the hotel welcomed back a Hamlet in 2017. This feline was found among a feral colony on Long Island, according to the hotel. In addition to daily brushings, Hamlet VIII also attends birthday parties fashion show benefits that are held at the hotel.

Meteorologist Mouser

Marty the cat on Mount Washington observatory

courtesy of Mount Washington Observatory

 

Cats have long been employed as mousers at New Hampshire's Mount Washington Observatory, which sits at the top of the highest peak in the Northeast. As the only heated building atop the summit, the observatory attracts plenty of rodents, so a steady stream of kitties has been brought in to keep rat and mouse populations in check.

In 2007, a black cat named Marty was voted by the public to be the new resident and mascot of the observatory. He makes his home there, entertaining tourists and assisting the night staff with weather observations through the graveyard shift.

Meme

frontal headshot of scowling grumpy cat on blue background

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Cats are a fixture of internet culture; it's practically impossible not to come across videos online featuring these felines hiding in boxes or jumping through the kitchen. Perhaps the most famous internet cat of all is Grumpy Cat, shown above.

Actually named Tardar Sauce, Grumpy Cat rose to prominence online because of her naturally grumpy facial expression, caused by a combination of feline dwarfism and an underbite. Her virality sparked a number of employment opportunities, including multiple television appearances, commercials, sponsorships, and even her own book and movie.

At the time of her death in 2019, Grumpy Cat had amassed almost four million followers across social media platforms.