Cats Throughout History…Part 2…Trim

This is the story of Trim the Cat who sailed around the world with a captain named Matthew Flinders. Cats were often welcome on ships because they protected the food supply onboard from rodents. They also provided entertainment and companionship to the men who were at sea. Trim the Cat is a particularly important member of the crew. Let’s find out why and what made him so special!

Trim was a black cat with white socks and a white star on his chest. Trim was very energetic and even a bit of a risk taker who loved to find adventure. Once in a while he fell overboard but didn’t seem bothered by it because whenever he landed in the ocean, someone would throw him a rope and he’d climb back up. Captain Matthew Flinders admired the courage, strength, and spirit of the animal so much so that he made him his favourite.

Trim ran freely around the ship with the ship’s men and was known for sitting in officers’ caps. At dinnertime, he quite regularly stole pieces of meat from the crew’s forks with such brilliant dexterity that his victims were more inclined to admire his skill than be angered by the theft.

Trim sailed with Flinders on the HMS Investigator on his voyage around the Australian mainland and even survived the shipwreck of the Porpoise in 1803. When Captain  Flinders was accused of spying and imprisoned by the French in Mauritius on his return voyage to England, Trim also shared his captivity.While the men were still held in prison Trim disappeared and Flinders was heartbroken. Seven years later, Captain Matthew Flinders was released and returned to his wife in England but he never forgot Trim.

In 1996, the North Shore Historical Society commissioned a bronze statue of Trim for the window ledge at Mitchell Library in Sydney, Australia, and the library’s cafe has been named after Flinders’ beloved cat.

The best and most illustrious of his race
The most affectionate of friends,
faithful of servants,
and best of creatures
He made the tour of the globe, and a voyage to Australia,
which he circumnavigated, and was ever the
delight and pleasure of his fellow voyagers
Written by Matthew Flinders in memory of his cat
Memorial donated by the North Shore Historical Society

Wow! What an amazing friend, companion, and feline. May the story of friendship between Captain Matthew Flinders and Trim never be forgotten and may we never forget them either.