In the 1960s, cat spies were a very real consideration within the CIA. Known as Operation Acoustic Kitty, the plan was to use cats as living surveillance devices. Only one Acoustic Kitty was ever created by the CIA though. The reason why? Because it all went horribly wrong after just one initial subject...
The Acoustic Kitty was meant to be a cyborg cat that would be able to help out with missions. A surgeon put a microchip in the head of a cat, complete with a microphone, radio transmitter, and an antenna woven into its fur, which, is sort of problematic in today's climate. The cat was supposed to be trained to sit beside foreign officials to eavesdrop, however, training a cat isn't the easiest task.
"For its first official test, CIA staffers drove Acoustic Kitty to the park and tasked it with capturing the conversation of two men sitting on a bench," wrote science journalist Emily Anthes in her book Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts. "Instead, the cat wandered into the street, where it was promptly squashed by a taxi"—hardly the outcome they were hoping for.
While in theory it may have seemed like a good idea, in practice, this cat-spy test was an epic fail.