Dogs are almost always portrayed as the four-legged heroes of the armed services. But what a lot of people don’t know is that the humble feline has its own vital role in the soldiering world. Although a Google search for pictures of cats and soldiers produces more than 4.5 million results, the truth is that Kitty tends to be happier serving his tour of duty on the home front.
For example, on Memorial Day weekend, the first long weekend of the summer in the U.S., the noble cat begins his day with the difficult job of helping the children stay in bed until their parents are ready to wake up.
If there’s a parade in town, the humble cat won’t bother you by begging to go with you. It’s not that cats don’t like parades, mind you; it’s just that — well, okay, cats don’t like parades. Parades are entirely too noisy and there are way too many feet waiting to step on carelessly placed tails, so the only cats you’re likely to see at a parade are these.
After a busy morning of hiding from lawn mowers, vacuum cleaners, and other instruments of torture, the cat once again resumes battle stations, this time offering to sacrifice himself for the good of the family by taste-testing any meat that’s destined for the afternoon barbecue.
Because your heroic cat doesn’t want you to have to suffer the indignity of cleaning the grill after your Memorial Day barbecue, he’ll humbly step forward and offer to clean it for you. He might not even wait until the charcoal is completely extinguished!
All kidding aside, there is one way in which cats truly are heroes: They remind us that we’re human and allow us to reopen our wounded hearts. This is the most important, and probably the most heroic, thing that our cats do for our troops while they’re on active duty and once they return home and work to readjust to life as civilians.
Memorial Day is about a lot more than beer, ball games, and barbecue: It’s a day to honor the sacrifices made by our armed forces and their families, both human and animal. Loyalty is not easily given by cats, and trust me when I say that cats most assuredly do grieve the loss of those men and women who earned that loyalty.