As far as bad ideas go with animals and warfare, this one comes near the top of the list. The person who devised this plan has clearly never spent more than thirty seconds in the company of our feline friends.
The concept was put forward in the 1960’s by the always reliable CIA. Their proposal, known as ‘Acoustic Kitty’, was to use cats as listening devices. The idea was to have microphones implanted in their ear canals and radio transmitters in the base of their skulls.
They would then be let loose at the desired location, whether that be a Soviet embassy or the Kremlin itself, and would just wander about eavesdropping on conversations between hopefully high value targets that might just inexplicably happen to be openly discussing state secrets.
The CIA reportedly sank close to $20 million in to this ‘definitely going to fall at the first hurdle’ project and sure enough, guess what happened next? The test phase didn’t exactly provide the results they were hoping for.
The public would have to wait until the documents were declassified in 2001 to find out just how successful the Acoustic Kitty was in its efforts gather vital intel to ultimately help the United States win the Cold War. Spoiler alert, it didn’t go well.
In its very first deployment, Acoustic Kitty’s mission, should he chose to accept it, was to eavesdrop on two men in a park outside the Soviet compound on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, D.C. Minutes after entering the world of feline espionage…..
It ran out in to the middle of the road and was immediately struck, and sadly killed, by a passing taxi. Suffice to say, the CIA weren’t going to see any of that $20 million any time soon.