Those Apocryphal Flying Cats of Borneo: The Real Story

The flying cats of Borneo – apocryphal? Hyperbole? Fantasy? Jungle legend? Imaginary animals?

In response to a request from a professor at The University of Iowa I provided one piece of the story of Operation Cat Drop backed by the official record. When I first heard of this improbable story and the ridiculous claim of 14,00 cats parachuted by the RAF, I wrote to the Ministry of Defense (UK) to ask.

I received a most gracious reply and a copy of the flight log. Check out these links for what really happened. And yes, cats are involved and were dropped.

Above is the relevant page from the Operations Record Book as compiled by Flying Officer Humphry with the account of the RAF flight that parachuted the cats in their baskets to wage war on the rats. “Over 20 cats” – far short of that mythical and highly unlikely tale of the 14,000 – imagine the herding involved. (So – still missing – approximately13,980 allegedly rounded up, flown and.parachuted cats.)

The particular cargo listed in this record was but a sideshow to the wider military operations in Malaya and Borneo during the 1950’s and 1960’s during which British, Commonwealth and Gurkha forces were involved in a protracted light infantry campaign to contain an insurgency

Here are the three posts with the whole story

The Great Cat Drop: Take this Test of Critical Thinking


The Truth About the Parachuted Cats of Borneo and the Cartons of Stout


Those Apocryphal Flying cats of Borneo: The Real Story

1 Comment

  1. Closed World:

    I am really glad I came across this post. I have been attending a short course on System Dynamics and the Borneo mystery was one of the stories we modeled in Vensim (a modeling software). I found it difficult to believe in the 14000 number too.
    – Shilpa

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