Since the establishment of the Dickin medal in 1943 (see Animals Deserve Medals Too) , almost half the recipients have been dogs. But the medal has also gone once to a cat. “Simon” was adopted by the crew of the HMS Amethyst. Simon excelled in his assigned duty of rat killer – rodents being the scourge of many ships. He was beloved despite his tendency to leave the crew “presents” of dead rats their beds. In 1949 the Amethyst was on her way up a Chinese river when she came under fire from the People’s Liberation Army. The first salvo from the Communist guns exploded in the Captain’s quarters, killing the Commander and badly wounding Simon. In the sick bay the medical staff removed four pieces of shrapnel from his little body and dressed his burns. His injuries were so severe he wasn’t expected to make it through the night. But Simon had nine lives and in time resumed his duties as rat killer, earning the rank of “Able Sea Cat” after killing one notorious rodent known as Mao Tse-Tung. Next: The Ugliest Doberman.