16 of History's Coolest Cats

History has seen some pretty cool cats.
History has seen some pretty cool cats. / Fernando Trabanco Fotografía/Moment/Getty Images

Anyone with a cat will probably argue that their feline is the coolest—but there have been at least a few other candidates through the ages.

In our latest episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy runs down stories of some of history’s most incredible cats (her own cats excluded), from Able Seacat Simon—the only cat to have ever received the Dickin Medal for animal bravery—to Abraham Lincoln’s felines, one of whom the president reportedly said was “smarter than my whole cabinet.”

There’s also a cat who went to space; feline stars of the silver screen; one-time mental_floss magazine editor Lil Bub; and kitties who inspired authors, artists, and even scientists. Nikola Tesla, for example, called his cat, Mačak, “the finest of all cats in the world.” In addition to being a loyal companion, the cat quite literally sparked the famous scientist’s interest in electricity. He also led Tesla to make what might be one of the greatest musings of all time: “I was thinking abstractedly. Is nature a gigantic cat? If so, who strokes its back?”

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