How the CIA Wasted $20 Million On Attempting to Train a Cat

While handlers were able to get some success with the cats in the lab, outside the lab was a different story. The female cat was often distracted, would become bored with the commands she was given or get too hungry to bother with whatever mission she was on. The CIA realized they could address the hunger problem with yet another operation but there was nothing to be done for the boredom and distractions that the cat encountered.

The CIA had $20 million invested in the training, development and surgeries on this cat and therefore despite the problems in training, they decided to do a field test. They took a CIA reconnaissance van and parked it across the street from a park. From there they released their spy kitty and directed it toward the park where two marks were sitting on a bench. However, the CIA should have put as much thought into their location as they put into the development of the cat.

The cat immediately followed orders and hopped out of the van and headed across the road and toward the two marks on the bench. The cat was then hit and killed by a taxi. CIA officials could only scrape the remains of their $20 million cat off the asphalt in order to at least protect their technology and go back to the drawing board.

In 1967, Project Acoustic Kitty was completely abandoned, largely due to the fact that it was seen as a bad idea to deploy agents that the CIA had very little control over. In 2001, some of the details relating to the project were released due to the Freedom of Information Act but much of it continues to be censored so that many of the details are still unknown. But despite the failure of the project, those involved were commended for being scientific pioneers and proving that “cats can indeed be trained to move short distances.”