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Old 28-05-2013, 15:13   #1
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Cats and Boats

I was planning a thought about our 2 cats for my new blog (which I am very proud of, by the way ) for tomorrow's entry. When it suddenly hit me. I really have no idea what I will do with my cats if they don't adjust. We have 1 indoor and 1 outdoor cat. The problem is that they don't really get along all that well, so I just keep the outdoor cat out of the house (except the back hall where his food is). This works out as he hates to be inside anyhow. But I really have no clue how they will adjust to life onboard. Will he wander off every time we hit land? Will he go nutsy whenever we are underway? And my indoor cat, not really sure if she is going to freak out either. Anyone have experience taking a land cat to sea?
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Old 28-05-2013, 15:28   #2
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Re: Cats and boats

I have taken now a total of eight different cats to sea. Never more than a few months at a time however. They almost all got sick the first day or two, then seemed to handle it fine. If in a marina given the chance they would roam about and get into other boats, usually at night, and then with activity during day might hide where they were. With possibility of someone sailing off with one of our cats on board their boat, we now have policy of keeping cats contained on our boat at all times.

I think given enough time a cat will adjust to staying on board, but in short time frame a cat used to roaming will very much want to get off the boat. We lost one cat in Mexico because of this (searched for days for him but never saw him again). That was a very sad experience and one I do not want to repeat.

We have two cats now (out of four) that do not get along, but seems when they are confined together for a time they actually get along better than usual. It remains a problem however.
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Old 28-05-2013, 16:19   #3
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Re: Cats and boats

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I have taken now a total of eight different cats to sea. Never more than a few months at a time however. They almost all got sick the first day or two, then seemed to handle it fine. If in a marina given the chance they would roam about and get into other boats, usually at night, and then with activity during day might hide where they were. With possibility of someone sailing off with one of our cats on board their boat, we now have policy of keeping cats contained on our boat at all times.

I think given enough time a cat will adjust to staying on board, but in short time frame a cat used to roaming will very much want to get off the boat. We lost one cat in Mexico because of this (searched for days for him but never saw him again). That was a very sad experience and one I do not want to repeat.

We have two cats now (out of four) that do not get along, but seems when they are confined together for a time they actually get along better than usual. It remains a problem however.
Oh wow, I hadn't even considered that my cat could wonder onto another boat and get carried away.

I don't know that there is any possibility of keeping this guy confined. He was born to be wild.

Guess I'll have to think about this...
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Old 28-05-2013, 16:20   #4
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Re: Cats and boats

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I was planning a thought about our 2 cats for my new blog (which I am very proud of, by the way ) for tomorrow's entry. When it suddenly hit me. I really have no idea what I will do with my cats if they don't adjust. We have 1 indoor and 1 outdoor cat. The problem is that they don't really get along all that well, so I just keep the outdoor cat out of the house (except the back hall where his food is). This works out as he hates to be inside anyhow. But I really have no clue how they will adjust to life onboard. Will he wander off every time we hit land? Will he go nutsy whenever we are underway? And my indoor cat, not really sure if she is going to freak out either. Anyone have experience taking a land cat to sea?

Both my cats adjusted very well to life on board, but you have to know that cats see "differently" than we do. I used to anchor out and then let them out of the cabin, and then one night I saw one of them, apparently seeing the calm water surface as a solid, about to jump.

They both fell in at one time or another.

I netted in the cockpit but had to add security to the snaps as one cat figured out that if she head-butted at the snaps enough, she could get out. Turned out she was trying to get away from the other cat -- they did not get along and he was, frankly, a bully. I found a new home for him and she no longer tries to escape.

I keep her in her cat carrier when sailing or motoring because big waves or wakes can really toss her around in the cabin. In her carrier in the cockpit she isn't subjected to the smell of engine fumes, and I can keep her safe if we get "rolled," which has happened twice.

My cats had no problem with seasickness, but they still didn't get along, and they both ended up happier living in different homes.
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Old 28-05-2013, 17:13   #5
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Re: Cats and boats

My cat at first was not a happy camper. He suffers for sea sickness, but normally only for the first day or so. If its really rocky, he will hide in a cubby. But normally he's out in the cockpit with me. Mainly as he's learned that he gets less sick outside.

He enjoys being at anchor, most of the time. When at the dock and outside, He stays on a long tether, about 30 feet. Plus we sometimes go for walks.

Non-tracking / non clumping cat litter will be your friend on the boat, BTW.

One danger at anchor is if the water is completely smooth. It looks like ground to a cat, and I've had the catch my cat twice as he was about to jump. Either a long towel over the side of the boat or long foam noddles will help a cat get back aboard a boat, if the current is not too much

Cats can climb out of the water at the marina's btw. Though they are not happy about it.
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Old 28-05-2013, 17:26   #6
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pirate Re: Cats and boats

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In her carrier in the cockpit she isn't subjected to the smell of engine fumes, and I can keep her safe if we get "rolled," which has happened twice.
Did you lose your mast..??
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Old 28-05-2013, 17:34   #7
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Re: Cats and boats

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Did you lose your mast..??

No, but I don't paddle out of the marina.
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Old 28-05-2013, 17:36   #8
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Re: Cats and boats

I have two kitties (Persians). They do really well living aboard and sailing. While underway, they stay down below. While at the dock, when I am up top, they are tied with 6 foot lines to the helm. They seem to do really well and haven't gotten seasick...yet. But then again, we haven't been out in really rough water.

GalaxyGirl, I would definitely give it a try. But, I wouldn't turn them loose at dockside. Either tie them up or keep them below. It just isn't fair to others to have cats roaming all over the place.
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Old 29-05-2013, 04:34   #9
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Re: Cats and boats

Our two cats didn't particularly like each other much, but they seemed to "take" to the cruising life pretty well (except during rough passages). We stacked the two cat carriers in an aft cabin and they used them as their safe "cubbies" -- be we found our 20 lb. tabby in many strange places after each rough passage (i.e.: inside a pillowcase with the pillow, and in the back of the smaller crate with the 7 lb cat in front -- both times it took a long time to find him). I would absolutely not consider letting them roam ashore. We anchored as much as possible to give them "roam" time...and they loved watching the fish jump, birds, smells etc... We confined them to the cabin during passages and in marinas, unless we could keep a keen eye on them.

+1 on the clumping litter (we misjudged and ran out in the Bahamas. Beach sand does NOT make a good substitute -- man, what a mess!).
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Old 29-05-2013, 04:46   #10
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Re: Cats and boats

i introduced my kat to the boat at age 5 1/2 weeks--he is happy on board and guards the boat. he is a true boatkat.
the only problem with carrying cats in a carrier that if something happens to YOU then cat cannot save self.
my cat is on a leash while underway and doesnt come to the cockpit as we were pooped by a quartering sea in gulf of mexico when we sailed there. he was on companionway steps and got wet. now he is smarter.
he knows his harness is safety. he doesnt get seasick. and he walks well on his leash.
i have had cats be seasick on board--isnt fun. i am glad this one doesnt get seasick. he is a good coonie cat.

make sure the cat knows the stuf under boat is not solid--i did that with bubba when i moved him on board this formosa. he knows the stuff under boat is not for venturing into.
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Old 29-05-2013, 07:26   #11
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Re: Cats and boats

About litter....we have found a litter that doesn't track and is relatively easy to clean.

Cat Country Wheat Grass Litter 20 lb - Cat Litter Pans and Supplies

Do any of y'all put netting around your life lines?
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Old 29-05-2013, 08:05   #12
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Re: Cats and boats

i have no netting. cats get caught in that stuff and can strangle.
i have found in mexico there are only the traditional litter with huge chunks, non clumping, and some brands of mexican made clumping stuff. nothing fancy.
one might be able to clean sand from the beach enough to kill the bugs in it for cat pan use--but is impractical and tracks a lot.
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Old 29-05-2013, 08:53   #13
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Fot cat litter on boat we are now using Breeze ceramic pellets. These pellets do not absorb any liquid, but instead let it drain through to bottom of special pan with a mesh bottom. Standard is then to catch urine in an absorbant pad, but we take the pad and tray out and let urine go through into shower drain. Then flush once a day with shower head washing through the litter and using enough water to clear out drain and sump. Sound weird but works very well. Poop is scooped out and very few pellets are lost when this is done. Check www.breezeforcats.com. Go through very little liter this way, and thats with four cats on board.

Wife insisted on nets so we have them. Cats like to squeeze under them and walk along the toe rail, so not perfect. They are mostly for when they are chasing each other around the deck to keep a cat from flying off if going into a four paw skid. Have seen no issue whatsoever with anyone getting tangled in them, but was careful to string them up tight with no loose or sagging areas of netting which might cause hazard.
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Old 29-05-2013, 10:45   #14
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Re: Cats and boats

anyone get their cat to just use the head?

the our cats just do their business in the toilet....it remains to be be if we train them to do the same on a boat.
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Old 29-05-2013, 11:46   #15
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Re: Cats and boats

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He enjoys being at anchor, most of the time. When at the dock and outside, He stays on a long tether, about 30 feet. Plus we sometimes go for walks.
I'm fascinated by your tether solution. How does that work out? Is your cat ok with being leashed? This might be a possibility for us.
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