Félicette: The Street Cat Astronaut

Félicette: The Street Cat Astronaut

The story of Félicette, a small tuxedo cat who remains the only cat to have traveled into space and lived to tell the tale.
Félicette, a small tuxedo cat, remains the only cat to have traveled into space and lived to tell the tale. She went on a 15-minute French suborbital mission in 1963. Prior to the mission, she was thoroughly trained as an astronaut at the Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherches de Médecine Aéronautique (CERMA) in France, which had recruited 14 cats into its rigorous training program.

Training as a cat astronaut

Electrodes were permanently inserted into the bodies and brains of the 14 cats. They went through trainings that included confinement, loud rocket sounds, and churning centrifuge sessions for months.

All cats gained weight under the stress, except Félicette. She remained calm and collected – poise that few humans possess. She was a super-heroine cat alright! None of the other cats trained with Félicette could make it to the space, but her, and all due to her gritty resilience and sweet temperament.

Félicette and five other cats training to be astronauts

Launch into Space

Exactly 59 years ago, in October 1963, Félicette, designated as C341 was rocketed in a capsule from a space station in the Sahara Desert in Africa. She was monitored by scientists. The scientists had inserted a series of electrodes into her body and kept monitoring her breathing and heart rate. She reached at the altitude of about 100 miles above the Earth, then her capsule was detached from the rocket and she landed safely on the Earth. The entire trip took about 15 minutes. Before Félicette, France had only sent rats in space.

Life Before Launch

Before she became an astronaut, the kitty was a stray. She weighed just five and a half pounds. She had spent all her life on the streets of Paris. However, she was picked up by a pet dealer and was sold to France’s space agency. They chose to purchase Félicette based on her calm demeanor that was not diminished even while trying to survive on Parisian streets.

Life After Launch

Félicette returned safely and alive from space. However, she was euthanized by the scientists after her return, to study her brain. The heroine cat laid down her life for scientific advancement


Félicette's statue in Strasbourg, France

A bronze statue of Félicette was premiered on December 18, 2019 in a university in Strasbourg, France. She is immortalized in this five-foot-tall statue, in bronze, designed by sculptor Gill Parker. It shows her sitting on top of the Earth and gazing up toward the skies that she traveled. Félicette’s story and pose inspired our Moon Kitty necklace, the Moon Kitty ring, the Moon kitty bracelet, and the complete Moon Kitty Jewelry set, that can adorn you and honor Felicette’s contribution in moving humanity and cat-kind forward.

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