Acoustic Kitty

In 1966, the CIA hatched a plan to discover Russia's Cold War secrets by installing bugging devices in a cat. "Acoustic Kitty," they hoped, would allow them to eavesdrop on secret conversations from window sills and park benches.

"They slit the cat open, put batteries in him, wired him up," recalled former spy Victor Marchetti. "The tail was used as an antenna. They made a monstrosity. They tested him and tested him. They found he would walk off the job when he got hungry, so they put another wire in to override that."

Moreover, when Acoustic Kitty, a tabby with an eye for the ladies, wandered off in search of the opposite sex, more wires were implanted to detect and bypass his lusty urges.

After exhaustive testing, the cat, finally ready for his first assignment, was set loose in the street, followed by a CIA support truck loaded with expensive monitoring equipment -- and was promptly run over by a taxi cab.

[In 2004, a Milanese man acting like a cat was spotted in a tree mewing for help. When attempts to coax him down with a saucer of milk failed, the cat-man was rescued by firemen and taken to hospital for psychiatric tests.]

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