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Ship's Cats

by Unknown

There is a breed of cats called "Ship's Cats" that have been specifically bred to serve on space ships. There have been small amounts of genetic tinkering in their line. This has mainly been changes to their instinctual reactions to certain things. Of course the original product has interbred and changed over time leaving a species which is partially engineered and partially adapted.

Ship's Cats can deal well with changes in gravity and can cope quite well in zero-G. Most understand standard "brace for acceleration" warnings and can act accordingly. Special cat-spacesuits are available on the market and it takes minimal training for a cat to learn how to get in and seal themselves.

Although they are still competent at chasing out small vermin of a variety of species (which *still* can cause problems on ships) they are less skilled at this than their terrestrial companions. They do have a keen sensitivity to changes in pressure and electrical disturbances. Often their behaviour can point to potential problems.

They tend to understand the difference between Crew and Passengers and are good at not being seen by people who would not appreciate seeing them. Exceptional specimens can even distinguish between High and Middle passengers.

Ships Cats are more restrained in their breeding habits. They tend to remain infertile for long periods during travel. They will come into heat when at dock for an extended period, such as during annual maintenance. Also if they are with another animal that is not a near relation they will move into a breeding cycle. Their ability to distinguish relations is based on scent and makes it safe to have more than one cat from one family on a ship.

The offspring of these family units are highly sought after. Many of their skills are learned from their parents and the type of ship they were raised on. As such there are Navy breeds, Merchant breeds, etc, etc. Certain family lines are widely known and the subject of idle dockside talk.

Most spaceports allow registered ship's cats into their extrality zone with the same processing as for crew. All such animals must be identified, though.

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