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Old 23-09-2011, 22:03   #1
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Cat Harness?

Come Feb. 2012 we are moving aboard our boat (currently in the BVIs) with our two cats Lilly (15) and Chloe (5). Both have been 100% house cats and have never worn a collar -- let alone a harness. I feel it is really important that they need to wear a harness when on board the boat. I think the best thing to do is to break them into a harness while we are still at home. I am thinking that in January I will start their adjustment period. My question is, what kind of harness will be the best -- I am leaning toward a figure-8, but I have read about the Kitty Harness (looks a lot like a life vest kinda thing). We have temporarily ruled out life vests because we believe our cats will scrim out of them. I would greatly appreciate everyone's opinion and input on this topic.

Thanks, Robyn
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Old 24-09-2011, 03:33   #2
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Re: Cat Harness?

Why a harness? Seems most cats are better on there feet than people and when your sailing put them in lock up-if your worried- I would let mine run free- the biggest problum I can see is where ever you land there gonna want to jump ship- and get lost maybe
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Old 24-09-2011, 06:10   #3
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Re: Cat Harness?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartMove View Post
Come Feb. 2012 we are moving aboard our boat (currently in the BVIs) with our two cats Lilly (15) and Chloe (5). Both have been 100% house cats and have never worn a collar -- let alone a harness. I feel it is really important that they need to wear a harness when on board the boat. I think the best thing to do is to break them into a harness while we are still at home. I am thinking that in January I will start their adjustment period. My question is, what kind of harness will be the best -- I am leaning toward a figure-8, but I have read about the Kitty Harness (looks a lot like a life vest kinda thing). We have temporarily ruled out life vests because we believe our cats will scrim out of them. I would greatly appreciate everyone's opinion and input on this topic.

Thanks, Robyn

Oh i think a cat could get out of any life vest made. Their flexibility compared to the relative rigidity of a life vest? Easy-peasy for a cat!

There's also a problem of the shape of a cat's face. Although they can swim, their flat faces would make things terribly difficult in a chop.

If you get the "kitty holster," put reflective tape on them, so if one of them lands in the drink your spotlight can help more.

I've told this story before -- Someone in my marina rescued her 12 week old kitten simply by putting a swim noodle in the water. The kitten immediately recognized it as something that could be climbed, and simply climbed back into the boat. She had to have a bath afterward. She would have poisoned herself licking all that salt water off her fur.

My cockpit is enclosed with zip-off netting. The cats, who are also 100% indoor, love it and now spend 95% of their time while at the dock in the cockpit. But the same rule applies: any gap will be exploited to its full potential. The guy who did my canvas put the snaps 6" apart and i don't think that was excessive. I'm going to put a cat-door in the companionway so I can use the AC in the summer and heat in the winter, and leave it up to them whether they want to be in the cockpit or not.

When I sail, I have a netted covering for the companionway, and the cats stay in the cabin.

They both have adapted extremely well, and one of my cats LOVES sailing. He lies in the netted companionway and complains loudly if anyone has to go below, because he has to move.

I have never seen any sign of seasickness in either of them, but your cats' mileage may vary, so talk to their vet.

My cats were 4 years old when they came aboard. On land they fought so badly I thought I was going to have to give one of them away. On the boat (markedly less space -- go figure!) -- they get along darned well.
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Old 24-09-2011, 06:30   #4
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Re: Cat Harness?

i keep a figure 8 harness on my cat-- when tethered, has saved his life 3 times, now. he began wearing this style harness when he was a baby and will let me know when he has managed to squirm out of part of it or when i forget to tie the bitter end to the boat---he knows there is something wrong.
how old are your cats? you may want to consider a critters inflatables for cats--looks like a decent cat pruf, mebbe, design.
cats do not drown unless they are tired of swimming-- they are excellent swimmers. when they tire, they lay their heads down. the only thing i have found that prevents them from drowning is the headrest the critters inflatables provided in their design.
if you find a figure 8 harness for cat, make sure it is placed on cat with the crossover under the chest-- a cat will reject a leash if on his back. mine does fine with the leash coming out under chest. he can pick it up in his teeth and walk when he feels that need....also for safety--if falls overboard, the harness will not choke him.
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Old 24-09-2011, 06:36   #5
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Hey Zee my cat is retarded she does not swim in the water she sinks with no attempt to swim at all
She falls over with a life vest or harness on she is not quite right. Solution she stays in the cabin and is only outside when supervised and the boat is not moving.
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Old 24-09-2011, 06:40   #6
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Re: Cat Harness?

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Originally Posted by Tori View Post
Hey Zee my cat is retarded she does not swim in the water she sinks with no attempt to swim at all
She falls over with a life vest or harness on she is not quite right. Solution she stays in the cabin and is only outside when supervised and the boat is not moving.
wow... sweeet kitty--you, tori, are a special person. special kitties are as much work often as special children, and need just as much if not more attention in times of stress. kudos to you

keep a long handled or telescoping fish net for retrieval of kitty if falls into sea.
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Old 24-09-2011, 06:50   #7
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We have a long handled net just in case but we are very cautious because I have tried to teach her to swim and she doesn't even paddle just sinks! The water is so muddy here if she sank I would never find her....
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Old 24-09-2011, 06:53   #8
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Re: Cat Harness?

Zeehag has the best recommendation for a harness. One that wraps around the body of the cat and not just the neck.
- - And as Tori says, some cats are not swimmers or will not know where to swim to. And therefore have to be kept below decks inside unless the boat is at anchor and not rolling or pitching. Another big problem for cats is they will try to attack a sea gull or other bird perched on the bow pulpit and end up running right off the bow of the boat. So they have to be supervised when allowed up on deck. I keep a C.R.M. handy in the cockpit mounted up under the roof. It is just a large fish landing net on a long pole. I scoop the cat out of the water with the CRM just like you would do landing a fish. Then get shredded arms washing the cat in the shower.
- - Older land cats rarely can make the adjustment to life on a sailboat. And cats do get sea-sick. The medication is exactly the same as for humans but only 1/4th the dose. See your Vet for specifics or Google sea-sickness and cats.
- - Back to the harness, it is rare that a cat that has never worn one can be made to wear one as an adult cat. I have two large cats and when I put the harnesses on them they would run at full speed - backwards - trying to back out of the harness. Almost laughed myself sick. Individually they could not get out of the harness so they figured out that if one cat grabbed the other cat's harness with its mouth the first cat could back out of it. So they teamed together to remove the harnesses. I was wide-eyed and amazed.
- - But cats are totally individuals, so who knows? You just have to try and see what happens. But in the end I simply do not let the cats out of the cabin unless the boat is anchored in calm waters - and - far away from any dock or way to jump ashore.
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Old 24-09-2011, 06:56   #9
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Re: Cat Harness?

Cat worship,
is it wrong?
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Old 24-09-2011, 06:58   #10
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Re: Cat Harness?

We moved aboard in May of this year bringing the cat with us. In his previous life on land, we compared him to the Lion King living on Pride Rock. We were concerned how he would adapt to being confined and not having the killing field to hunt in and bring back his unwelcomed gifts.

A concerned family member investigated life jackets and found they will cause more harm for cats. Darwin, the cat, only ventures on deck in the dark. I was very fearful about him falling overboard, but he NEVER comes up when we are motoring or sailing. Initially he found small dark holes to crawl into when we moved. But as he has become more accustomed, he lays on the floor of the salon or on a blanket I put on the settee. One day we found him on our bed, head hanging off the edge as we unmercifully rocked that day. He had a few days of looking a bit green...but overall he has adapted well for coming aboard at his age, 7 years.

He looks for any ray of sunlight to lay in. Twice he has ventured into the enclosed cockpit to sunbath. Our biggest concern is for when we finally do spend any time at a dock...we have been anchoring or mooring for two months...he will be so happy to be on land that we may not see him for awhile.

Overall, he has adapted well and we don't feel the need to use a harness with him. With his personality and age, I'm not sure if he would let us put one on him.
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Old 24-09-2011, 07:08   #11
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Re: Cat Harness?

ossiris--i want to watch--i bet that reverse full speed is a kick. cats are awesome, and can be great fun to watch as they try to ditch our rules we impose on them.
i have been most fortunate with mine--got him at 5 weeks and he is perfect.
i learned about the figure 8 harnesses when i first moved on board in 1990 and had 2 cats who were land babies. has been a real trial and error trip with em as far as types of harness and how to keep on the boat on docks.
bubba started on a boat very young, and he doesnt have a problem on anchor, as he was acclimated to moorings. he KNOWS there is nothing under him to enjoy. he will bat the rump of a seagull , but stalks them, slowly and silently. lots of fun to watch.

never never never trust a cat on a leash wearing only a collar-- it will hang and kill the cat. it wouldnt be fun to return to find a hanging critter.
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Old 24-09-2011, 07:31   #12
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Re: Cat Harness?

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. . . Our biggest concern is for when we finally do spend any time at a dock...we have been anchoring or mooring for two months...he will be so happy to be on land that we may not see him for awhile. . .
I have to keep my cat down below when docked or in a slip, I lost the other cat when he jumped ashore and promptly ventured onto a highway and got run over. He had never been on land before in his whole life.
- - But anyway, while I was in Cape Marina, Port Canaveral a decade ago, a British boat came in and took a slip. The guy had a nice cat that roamed the decks and slept on the foredeck. When asked by others if he was worried that the cat would go ashore, the boater said the cat never went ashore.
- - One morning the boater went ashore to go to some stores and for some reason the cat woke up and jumped ashore to try to follow him but the boater was around the building and gone.
- - When the guy returned the cat was still gone. On the third day afterwards, the cat came screaming down the dock and jumped back on the boat. When asked, the boater said the cat must have gotten into a fight as a chunk of one ear was missing. When asked specifically what the missing chunk of ear looked like, the boat said it was a perfect "V" shape.
- - We all laughed so hard we almost fell off the docks. The Port of Canveral encourages cats to live there to keep the rat and vermit populations in check. But they periodically capture the cats and check their health and neuter them and then release them back to where they were caught. The idea is to keep the population in check.
- - Seems this British cat's first shore leave was traumatic as he got his balls cut off.
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Old 24-09-2011, 07:47   #13
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Re: Cat Harness?

oh poor baby--- a neutered male doesnt roam as much a s a tom will. is catlike behavior.. poor baby...musta been a trauma for kitty! must have been a while before that cat ran to land! man was fortunate to have had his cat neutered for free....
ever since i saw one of my cats in san diego flat in the middle of the double yellow line uin front of the big blue police station on B street, i have harnessed and leashed my cat. there is no reason to subject kitty to potential death --whether long and painful or short and splatty by car or people who like to poison and kill them. we are responsible for their well being as soon as we adopt 'em and until they die. we can choose to be irresponsible, at which time, should find a new home for kitty, or we can be responsible and take good care of out cats. they truly are a family member-- we are their only family once adopted. be that. it isnt difficult.
i have noticed here that folks do not take responsibiltiy for their critters-- they feed em for a while then turn em loose to fend for themselves in the wild. this isnt fair to the kitties who have been allowed to find family in those folks before letting them stay out in the great outdoors--isnt the home the critter likes, is the human caregiver. they are social animals and mourn their loss as you or i would mourn the loss of our friends and family who leave. just food for thought.
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Old 24-09-2011, 08:05   #14
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Re: Cat Harness?

We use a cat walking jacket from walking jacket for cats and it is very effective both in keeping the cat onboard and taking her out if she really wants to explore a little.
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Old 24-09-2011, 08:16   #15
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Re: Cat Harness?

this is still something on cat's back. they hate that--makes them lie down. it also hampers cooling of the critter when in hot climates.. be careful in tropics using this method. watch cat closely for hyperthermia--open mouth with tongue out is what cats do instead of sweat.
i keep minimal impedence on kat as climate is too hot here for his fluffy furrz --even bought air conditioner as i couldnt watch him always having mouth open with tongue out panting for cool air. isnt any here.
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