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Old 10-08-2019, 00:57   #1
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Sailing with Cats

We have two Siamese who are already great travelers in our RV, but we are trying to introduce them to the sailboat. Thai does pretty well, but prefers to be in the cockpit rather than down below. Or maybe I should say he wants to be in the cockpit until he doesn't, and then cries because he wants one of us below with him. Gracie apparently got a bit seasick last time we took them out... she laid on the floor and kept reaching out with her paw to make the room stop spinning once we were back home.


My question is for those who travel with cats. How does it work out when you are in port and away from the boat? We're concerned it might be too hot in there for the cats, and too confining over a three week period. We don't know whether to go ahead and start our trip with them aboard, and maybe have to rent a car to bring them home; or to leave them at home with a sitter, and maybe need to rent a car to come back and get them if they don't do well without us being home. (Thai stopped eating for a few days when we spent more time on the boat at the beginning of this season. Yes, they have us trained...) They've never been with a sitter for more than three days.
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:37   #2
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Re: Sailing with Cats

Hey there, we live full time onboard with three of the little parasites--i mean adorable kitties.... Everyone does things differently with their pets. Ours adore anchor because they can play upstairs all day long. Night time, or when we're away, it's down below. But our boat is fairly large, cool down below, and well ventilated. In marinas it is harder. Usually they stay down, and that is a BIG pain because the slider for the companionway has to be kept up all the time. So far we trained one of them to never leave the boat even at marinas, so I usually boost her out in the morning, close the lid, make my coffee etc, forget about her. And she'll be sitting there good as gold watching people on the other boats or dock (see pics, that passarelle was down all day! ). The other two are still working on it. As for getting used to the motion, I think anyone and everything can get used to it. They might be seasick for a few days or more, but then things will settle down. Put blankets/sheets on furniture you don't want puked on till then

Look on FB for the group Gatos del Mar. There will be endless advice there for you. Good luck!
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:42   #3
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Re: Sailing with Cats

Hey there, initially Moses had terrible anxiety on the boat,especially when the engine was running. She would drool like crazy and sometimes throw up. She has adjusted to life on the boat now though. If we stay still for a few days then head out to rough weather, she will gets bit sick, so I avoid feeding her before setting out
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:33   #4
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Re: Sailing with Cats

They sure don't serm to like the main engine running. Lol

Our cat is fully adjusted. The dope has has a couple mishaps so be alert for those. He fell off once. I think they only do that once. Then he fell in taking an ungraceful, early leap from dinghy to main boat too once.

We keep him below when at docks. Cats are ok in hotter temperatures than humans. Their body temperature runs several degrees hotter than ours. I read something like 90-100 degrees isn't an issue.

We don't leave him in the RV like that for more than a few minutes because it can get dangerously hot. The boat with all the ports open but no hatches? Just isn't hot like an RV.

At anchor and on moorings or underway, he had full access to the entire boat. Deck level and all. They absolutely love boats as compared to RVs once they get used to it. And they will get used to it.

Ours is a lot less fearful of the diesel engine now and takes the rocking in stride. Yours will adjust too.
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Old 10-08-2019, 16:08   #5
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Re: Sailing with Cats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sojourner View Post
Hey there, we live full time onboard with three of the little parasites--i mean adorable kitties.... Everyone does things differently with their pets. Ours adore anchor because they can play upstairs all day long. Night time, or when we're away, it's down below. But our boat is fairly large, cool down below, and well ventilated. In marinas it is harder. Usually they stay down, and that is a BIG pain because the slider for the companionway has to be kept up all the time. So far we trained one of them to never leave the boat even at marinas, so I usually boost her out in the morning, close the lid, make my coffee etc, forget about her. And she'll be sitting there good as gold watching people on the other boats or dock (see pics, that passarelle was down all day! ). The other two are still working on it. As for getting used to the motion, I think anyone and everything can get used to it. They might be seasick for a few days or more, but then things will settle down.]

Look on FB for the group Gatos del Mar. There will be endless advice there for you. Good luck!

Thanks! I guess I forgot to mention that our boat is pretty small... 26 feet. Not much room for kitties to be cooped up for 3 weeks. Our cats are indoor cats at home - necessary because of the eagles, coyotes and raccoons - so we couldn't have them running loose at marinas either. They wouldn't know what to do. The RV is bigger, has air-conditioning or heat, whatever is needed. Larger windows so they can see out. And they've grown up traveling in it with us. So it is very different from the boat.


I'll check out the kitty group... I can use endless advice right now!
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Old 10-08-2019, 16:14   #6
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Re: Sailing with Cats

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Originally Posted by teddythetwig View Post
Hey there, initially Moses had terrible anxiety on the boat,especially when the engine was running. She would drool like crazy and sometimes throw up. She has adjusted to life on the boat now though. If we stay still for a few days then head out to rough weather, she will gets bit sick, so I avoid feeding her before setting out

I'm mostly concerned about leaving them onboard when we're in port and we want to explore away from the boat. I've been checking out backpacks for kitties... Gracie might be okay but Thai is almost 13 pounds - heavier than the weight for most I've seen. That still doesn't help if we want to try out a restaurant.



Another issue is that they both have asthma. It is usually seasonal, 3 or 4 times a year. But it is also brought on by stress, and I can just see them stressing out over being left on the boat alone.


Thanks for your response!
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Old 10-08-2019, 16:47   #7
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Re: Sailing with Cats

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Originally Posted by Selah Way View Post
I'm mostly concerned about leaving them onboard when we're in port and we want to explore away from the boat. I've been checking out backpacks for kitties... Gracie might be okay but Thai is almost 13 pounds - heavier than the weight for most I've seen. That still doesn't help if we want to try out a restaurant.



Another issue is that they both have asthma. It is usually seasonal, 3 or 4 times a year. But it is also brought on by stress, and I can just see them stressing out over being left on the boat alone.


Thanks for your response!

As a human with asthma, let me tell you boats are practically the worst place to have it. Triggers are:

Mold
Outdoor Air Pollution
Epoxy and sometimes other chemicals
A little scratchy feeling from pollen for me but no outright asthma attacks.

The cats will be continually exposed to asthma triggers and this may not be so good for them.

As a human with asthma, I need to close the boat and run the air conditioner or close the boat and run a large HEPA filter air purifier any time outdoor air quality drops to a certain level. I have also had to take antihistamines frequently to deal with all the exposure to all these triggers on boats you don't get on land so much.

This is something to consider. It's very difficult for me to do boats even with all this gear to help.

For the cats, the asthma might be a deal breaker on a 26' boat that doesn't have all the options I do on mine.
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Old 10-08-2019, 16:55   #8
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Re: Sailing with Cats

Sadly I have something to add to this thread.. lol.

I'm traveling with a couple that seem to have a very popular sailor cat called miss Rigby.

https://www.instagram.com/miss_rigby_boatkitty/?hl=en
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Old 10-08-2019, 17:35   #9
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Re: Sailing with Cats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
As a human with asthma, let me tell you boats are practically the worst place to have it. Triggers are:

Mold
Outdoor Air Pollution
Epoxy and sometimes other chemicals
A little scratchy feeling from pollen for me but no outright asthma attacks.

The cats will be continually exposed to asthma triggers and this may not be so good for them.

As a human with asthma, I need to close the boat and run the air conditioner or close the boat and run a large HEPA filter air purifier any time outdoor air quality drops to a certain level. I have also had to take antihistamines frequently to deal with all the exposure to all these triggers on boats you don't get on land so much.

This is something to consider. It's very difficult for me to do boats even with all this gear to help.

For the cats, the asthma might be a deal breaker on a 26' boat that doesn't have all the options I do on mine.

You might be right- Our vet does give us syringes with steroids for emergencies, so these would have to come along. We don't usually have a lot of humidity (except for this past week, lol!) and mold has not been a problem; but other issues might make it difficult. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
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Old 10-08-2019, 17:38   #10
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Re: Sailing with Cats

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Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
Sadly I have something to add to this thread.. lol.

I'm traveling with a couple that seem to have a very popular sailor cat called miss Rigby.

https://www.instagram.com/miss_rigby_boatkitty/?hl=en

Too bad Miss Rigby is so camera shy, LOL.



I'd love to know where they found her harness. Gracie refuses to let us put one on her, and even though Thai puts up with his because he loves to go for walks, it looks terribly uncomfortable. I'm not on Instagram... could you find out for me?


Thanks for your reply!
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Old 10-08-2019, 18:56   #11
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Re: Sailing with Cats

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Originally Posted by Selah Way View Post
Too bad Miss Rigby is so camera shy, LOL.



I'd love to know where they found her harness. Gracie refuses to let us put one on her, and even though Thai puts up with his because he loves to go for walks, it looks terribly uncomfortable. I'm not on Instagram... could you find out for me?


Thanks for your reply!
Will do,Im seeing them tommorow. If you PM me your email (if you wish) I can pass it on, I'm sure MV wont mind talking cat. I think Ms Rigby has something like 30,000 Instagram followers, or something like that.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:26   #12
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Re: Sailing with Cats

Quote:
Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
Sadly I have something to add to this thread.. lol.

I'm traveling with a couple that seem to have a very popular sailor cat called miss Rigby.

https://www.instagram.com/miss_rigby_boatkitty/?hl=en
Astonishing! Do people really spend the time to look at all those pix of a bloody cat? I like cats well enough, but that is... gosh, I'm at a loss of words to describe this Instagram extravaganza.

For the OP: some cruisers have pets aboard... cats, dogs, birds of various sorts. Of those that we've met, dogs cause the greatest disruption of the owners cruising life due to their frequent needs to go ashore (some few can be trained to deal with life afloat, especially if brought aboard as pups). Cats generally do well, especially hardy mixed breed types, but we've seen some that are just not emotionally suited for life aboard, and that drives the cruising life for the owners. Birds, mostly parroty types, do surprisingly well. they typically can live in their cages for extended periods (seems cruel to me, but common practice), and when trained to ride on shoulders can be included in shore activities. Here on CF, the poster "Pickles and Jesse" has cruised with parrots for years and enjoys them a lot.

But they ALL impact cruising in complicated ways... and so, despite Ann and I both liking animals, we've chosen not to have them aboard. The cruising comes first for us; you must decide on your own which activity is more important to you and take appropriate action.

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Old 11-08-2019, 08:04   #13
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Re: Sailing with Cats

there is a facebook group named gatos del mar... all cats at sea. lots of good information and cats who sail.
https://web.facebook.com/groups/2777...?ref=bookmarks

some of the owners err typers actually have asthma.....som etransitioned from rv to boat to rv...with cats.... might want to look into a cat specific group
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Old 11-08-2019, 23:21   #14
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Re: Sailing with Cats

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Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
Will do,Im seeing them tommorow. If you PM me your email (if you wish) I can pass it on, I'm sure MV wont mind talking cat. I think Ms Rigby has something like 30,000 Instagram followers, or something like that.

Would be happy to do so.... but haven't been on a forum like this in quite awhile, so I'm trying to figure out how to send a PM. If you don't hear from me soon, feel free to send instructions!
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Old 11-08-2019, 23:39   #15
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Re: Sailing with Cats

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
there is a facebook group named gatos del mar... all cats at sea. lots of good information and cats who sail.
https://web.facebook.com/groups/2777...?ref=bookmarks

some of the owners err typers actually have asthma.....som etransitioned from rv to boat to rv...with cats.... might want to look into a cat specific group
Already sent 'em your way, Zee Twas the first thing I thought of
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