About a month ago Dr. Arthur Mitchell Fraas, at the University of Pennsylvania, found what may be the greatest discovery of the year so far: a sixteenth century manuscript that depicted a cat with a bag of flame strapped to its back for use in warfare.
The original consensus was that this was a rocket cat. Dr. Fraas felt that this conclusion, while extremely tempting, was probably not correct. Instead, in his studies, Dr. Fraas found that the rocket cat was instead a grenade cat or more accurately a bomb cat. The original author, a sixteenth-century artillery master from Cologne named Franz Helm, intended for the cat (among other animals) to be an inconspicuous way to deliver bombs into unsuspecting cities. This method of delivery was very obviously flawed, as the animal used would most likely set your own camp on fire and not the enemy’s town. It does, however, represent the extremely imaginative ideas that people had for gunpowder, which, beginning notably with the use of cannons in the Battle of Crecy in 1346, was really starting to change warfare. The extensive use of gunpowder, such as that seen in this manuscript, could definitely be argued for as one of the main delineations between the Medieval and Renaissance periods in European history. Since there is no other evidence of this actually being done, though, hopefully cats weren’t really used in warfare.
The works of Franz Helm have all been digitized by the University of Pennsylvania at http://dla.library.upenn.edu/dla/medren/index.html.
The article from which this information was drawn can be found all over the internet, but I used the one at The Guardian, which can be found here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/06/fur-flies-rocket-cats-warfare-manual.
Finally, as using cats for weapons is quite cruel, an image of a real rocket cat to end on a positive note.