A British soldier “shakes hands” with a kitten on a snowy bank, Neulette, 1917.
In the Christmas truce film Joyeux Noël, a cat runs back and forth between the enemy trenches to soldiers that feed it. One names the cat Felix and the other Nestor, and when the two meet in No Man’s Land during thet ruce, a sweet argument ensues between the two men over whose cat it is and what is, in fact, its name. The director of the film, Carion, drew on a real life story of a cat who did this during the truce and was ultimately shot for treason: “Towards the end of the film Major General Audebert says ‘I’ve been ordered to arrest a cat for treason.’ A cat portrayed in the film as Felix/Nestor, was actually arrested and shot for espionage after it arrived in French lines wearing a new collar and bearing a note (in French) which read ‘which regiment are you from?’. The general in charge decided just to follow the letter of the law, the cat was shot for spying.” (Source. Carion also talks about this in the making of of Joyeux Noël.) The real-life story was so ridiculous and upsetting, Carion decided not to include its ending in the film but only mention it in passing, because he thought the viewers of the film would not believe the absurdity of a cat being shot for treason.
It’s going to be a soldiers with kittens kind of day, I guess.