Cats truly do rule the world. For centuries, people all over have cherished kitties; here are just five of the epic felines who made history.


1. Pangur Bán, the kitty light of the Dark Ages

When monks weren't busy copying manuscripts or doodling in the margins, they composed poetry to their pet cats. A ninth-century monk, probably of Irish origin, wrote an ode to his feline friend, whose name means "white fuller," that was found in an Austrian monastery. 

                     
                                This cute white cat could be Pangur Bán!

A modern translation of the poem recounted how the monk and his pal have similar pastimes: "Hunting mice is his delight/Hunting words I sit all night." And just as Pangur had a ton of fun chasing mice, so, too, did the monk enjoy hunting down answers to a problem he was trying to solve. Kitty and owner worked on their own tasks independently, to each's individual pleasure.

2. Hank, wannabe senator 

The only feline ever to run for the United States Senate, Hank the cat sadly died in 2014. During his kitty career, he ran a purr-fect campaign as an Independent in 2012. A rescue, Hank lived and loved in Virginia, where he strove to make his neighborhood a better (and mouse-free) place. 

Hank's campaign for Senate was nearly a fairy tail! Image via Vegetarian Star/Hank the Cat.

He strove to take his passion for voting humans out of power to a larger audience, which really resonated with his constituents: Hank came in third in the state Senate race! Not bad for an Independent.

3. Nelson, personal hot water bottle to Sir Winston Churchill

Although Churchill had quite a few kitties in his life, Nelson was the First Feline during World War II. Apparently, Nelson was "the bravest" cat Churchill ever encountered, so he adopted him and called him after Lord Nelson, who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Trafalgar. 

                                                Here's Sir Winston Churchill, lover of cats.

The great cat supposedly chased dogs out of the Prime Minister's presence, but he was quite fond of his humans. During one dinner, an American war reporter recounted how Lady Churchill snuck salmon to Nelson under the table. He also served his country by warming up Churchill, who worked in bed during cold evenings. As much as he liked people, Scrappy Nelson hated the resident mouser who lived in Ten Downing Street when the Churchills moved into the Prime Minster's residence. 

4. Vito Vincent, the A-list feline

Handsome orange tom Vito Vincent has lived up to his showbiz-worthy name by starring on stage and screen. A former shelter cat, Vito starred as Holly Golightly's pet puss in Breakfast at Tiffany's on Broadway; he's also appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and 30 Rock.

                        Vito Vincent strikes a pose. Image via VitoVincentTheCat.com.

VV recently moved out to California in the hopes of scoring an even bigger and glitzier kitty role. Perhaps we'll soon see him opposite Ryan Gosling in an upcoming feature film!

5. Trim, the cat who sailed around the globe

Along with explorer Matthew Flinders, Trim the kitty went on a multi-year journey at the beginning of the nineteenth century: he sailed around the world and circumnavigated Australia. 

A statue of Trim and a dedication to Flinders's dear friend. Image via Purr-n-Fur.

Born on a ship while at sea, the sweet black cat was Flinders's faithful companion. In 1805, Trim sadly disappeared, which sent Flinders into a spiral of depression. Flinders wrote of his kitty companion, "Being a favourite with every one on board, both officers and seamen, he was well fed, and grew fat both in size and comeliness." He added, "From the care that was taken of him, and the force of his own constitution, Trim grew to be one of the finest animals I ever saw." He did have one flaw, Flinders admitted: "He was, I am sorry to say it, excessively vain of his person, particularly of his snow-white feet." 

Feature image via The Huffington Post/Hank the Cat.