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From the Archives: World War II veteran cat turns 15

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After Pooli was born in 1944, her owner, James Lynch, took her aboard an attack transport vessel. Together they served in several battles in the Pacific Theater in World War II.

This photo accompanied a profile of Pooli in the July 4, 1959, Los Angeles Times:

A World War II veteran cat today celebrates her 15th birthday.

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And she can still get into her old uniform with its three service ribbons and four battle stars.

The cat, Pooli, short for Princess Papule, was born July 4, 1944, in the Navy yard at Pearl Harbor, her present owner, Benjamin H. Kirk, said.

Kirk explained that Pooli was taken aboard the attack transport USS Fremont that day by his nephew, James I. Lynch, now a specialist in administrative services for the Board of Education.

Pooli saw action at the Marianas, the Palau group, the Philippines and Iwo Jima. And she became a shellback when the ship crossed the equator.

Kirk revealed that when battle stations rang, Pooli would head for the mail room and curl up in a mail sack.

And she nearly became a wartime casualty when some sailors aboard the homebound ship thought of throwing her overboard after fearing quarantine in San Francisco because of her. A round-the-clock guard was given Pooli for three days and she docked with the ship without incident, Kirk said.

Now, Pooli is deaf. She has only her front teeth, and she sleeps most of the day.

“But when she was younger, she never lost a battle with any dog or cat in the neighborhood,” Kirk said.

This post was originally published on Nov. 9, 2012.

See more from the Los Angeles Times archives here


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