Cat Started As a Stray, Ended up Ship’s Mouser!

Erik the Red was the rodent control officer on the CSS Acadia in Halifax, Nova Scotia for over 15 years. Named after the famed Viking, Erik was found by Acadia shipkeeper Stephen Read back in 1999 when he was just a malnourished little stray.

The cat followed Read back to the vessel. “I was walking through streets of Halifax one night with a friend, and this cat started following us, street after street after street…” said Read via (

Read laughed that this little ginger kitty must have heard about their former Acadia mouser Clare who wasn’t too enthusiastic about her position.

“He really had to hit the ground running when he came on board… but he more than proved his mettle,” said Read.

“Erik would patrol the entire waterfront from Purdy’s Wharf to Pier 21.”

“He’s my buddy, and my valued co-worker. I’ve known three of the four rodent control officers who have been on board this ship since 1981, and he’s been the best that I’ve seen. He was the most efficient and the most consistent.”

Erik and Read have been together on the ship for more than 15 years, with the kitty sometimes bringing him ‘gifts’, often leaving them in the bottom of his shoe. “I understand that it was a symbolic gift, and I was grateful for it, after the initial shock,” said Read.

The ginger feline is somewhere between 17 and 20 years of age. He’s now semi-retired for a few years and currently lives at a comfortable home in Halifax’s north end.

Many people came to his retirement party, sharing fond memories they had with Erik on their guest books in the Acadia’s chart room.

“One Halifax resident described how Erik brightened her walks to and from work, while another lamented they will never be able to look at another orange cat without thinking of him,”

The Star reported.

Erik slept through most of his own party, occasionally opening his one eye to take a peek at who was petting him.