The Titanic Cat Jenny’s Story

by Peter Barnes

There’s a eyewitness story about an extraordinary cat named Jenny and her friendship with a young firefighter named Jim Mulholland. Both were on board the Titanic during his prior navigation test tests on his unfortunate inaugural trip.

Violet Jessop wrote in her memoirs that ” Titanic Cat Jenny, had chosen a corner of the comfortable ship.” “Jenny kept giving birth to kittens” and always Violet remembers having “put Jenny and her puppy next to Jim whom she always sought attention and gave her warm affection. “Just before the Titanic escaped from Southampton, witnesses noticed a cat carrying its kittens, one by one, along the runway, down the ship and onto the bench.” There’s news that Jim was watching Jenny closely, and he commented, “that cat knows something.” “She took what will turn out to be the luckiest of decisions, meaning following the example of Jenny the cat, took her things and left the ship alone.”

titanic cat jenny
Titanic Cat Jenny | Photo – Pinterest

This is how it happened…

The Titanic, the unsinkable Queen of the White Star Line, sank into the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Newfoundland in the small hours of the morning on April 14th and 15th, 1912. Countless human and animal lives were lost on the Titanic, but what happened to Jenny, the cat?

As the Titanic Cat Jenny tale progresses…

Titanic Cat Jenny was brought aboard the Titanic from the Olympia, her sister ship, to serve as a mascot and assist with rodent control. She was cared after by a stoker named Jim Mulholland and resided in the ship’s underbelly or the kitchen. He used to smuggle table scraps for her on a regular basis.

Work was scarce in those days, and Jim Mulholland had worked on the Titanic as a temporary helper during the ship’s trials sailing from the Irish Sea to Southampton. When he was offered a full-time post on the Titanic’s maiden journey to New York, he jumped at the chance.

Jenny gifted Jim and the Titanic with a litter of kittens during those sailing trials, roughly a week before the Titanic anchored in Southampton. Jenny had a cozy area where she could care for her kittens, thanks to Jim’s efforts. Jim’s job was broken up by looking after the mama cat and her four kittens. Jenny appeared satisfied with her warm place near the furnaces, her children, and Jim’s culinary scraps.

titanic cat jenny
Photo – Pinterest

Titanic Cat Jenny, on the other hand, took a good look around as soon as the ship stopped in Southampton and began scooping up her babies by the scruff of their necks and carrying them down the gangplank and off the ship one by one.

Jim was intrigued by her and concluded that she must know something that no one else does! He quickly packed his meager stuff and left the ship on his own.

Is it the Titanic Cat Jenny legend or the truth? Jenny and her kittens may have perished with the Titanic, according to some sources, but the cat lover in me… Because I enjoy Jim Mulholland’s story, I vote truth!

Titanic Cat Jenny’s story was published in the Irish Times years later after a reporter spoke with an elderly man who told the incident. Was he Jim Mulholland or someone with whom Jim told his story? It is possible that we will never know. In April 1912, the Daily Mirror published an item with the headline “Clever Mother Cat Saves Her Kittens from the Titanic,” which was accompanied by the image below. Is this Jenny’s offspring? Again, it’s possible that we’ll never know.

Others have claimed to have photos of Titanic Cat Jenny – is this true or not? You must make your own decision.

There is one thing Shutterbulky convinced of… Jim Mulholland never looked back on his decision to trust Jenny’s instincts.


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