some NASA cats posed for a photograph. [armaghplanet.com]
France had originally planned to send Felix, a street tomcat from Paris, into space on October 18, 1963. Felix had other ideas, however, and managed to escape before lift-off. As a result, the female cat Félicette became the first 'astrocat' aboard the Véronique AGI sounding rocket No. 47. Although the craft did not actually go into orbit, the cat traveled 100-130 miles into space and came back unharmed.
One week later, France launched the second cat astronaut into space. However, this cat wasn't as fortunate as Félicette. It died following an accident as the craft was en route back to Earth.