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Old 26-04-2011, 07:43   #1
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Cat On Board

We have a 6 year old cat that has never been on board our 43' Hunter. We are now going on extended stays on board. My wife is afraid that the boat will scare her to death and that she will not behave well. Has anyone else had experience acclimating an older cat to live aboard?

Tom
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Old 26-04-2011, 07:46   #2
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Re: Cat On Board

transporting the cat too and from the boat is the major trauma.

get a good pet carrier in which the cat feels secure.

make sure you've got some good sisal scratching pads aboard. And lots of catnip to train it to use the sisal.
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Old 26-04-2011, 07:58   #3
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Re: Cat On Board

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.............. My wife is afraid that the boat will scare her to death and that she will not behave well. .........
Tom

Be gentle and nice, and your wife will adapt to the life aboard, and train her to behave well

If this doesn't work, get a new wife....
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Old 26-04-2011, 08:06   #4
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Re: Cat On Board

It will take her awhile to acclimate. Give her a few days or even a few weeks of just living onboard without the boat moving, so she can claim the boat as part of her territory before all the movement and noise.

At first, the motor noise will generally send a cat running for a hiding spot, but they usually get used to it after a few months. My cat used to run and hide under the covers all day when I started the engine: now he doesn't even look up from his breakfast dish when I fire it up in the morning.

Cats love routine and are creatures of habit. They also need to feel safe inside their territory, which requires regular patrols for inspection. The safe boundaries expand slowly when they are thrust into a new territory, so you have to give her time to inspect, patrol and return to her safe place. She may not feel safe anywhere on the boat for a week or so, but eventually, she will claim the entire boat as "hers"; it takes patience on your part.

If your cat usually eats near where you eat, then repeat that habit on the boat. Resist the urge to feed her in a separate cabin unless that is how you feed her at home. The litter box must be spotlessly clean and readily available. Provide things that smell like home, like a familiar blanket or chair cushion.

Here is my current cat on my helm seat while we are underway on my noisy trawler.
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Old 26-04-2011, 08:11   #5
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Re: Cat On Board

my cat doesn't mind us putting the rail to the water unless things start falling off the shelves. then he freaks.

simple solution: stow your gear properly.
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Old 26-04-2011, 08:13   #6
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Re: Cat On Board

The first time out, ours threw up and peed on the settee. After that, she learned to accept being onboard, although she never really liked it. She hated the engine noise and always sought out a hidey-hole when it was running--under our pillows on the bed or, even better, in the storage bins behind the settee backs. She did enjoy coming out at night and walking the decks, checking out the smells and sounds.

Make sure your cat has a decent litter box and a cozy place in which to hide, and it should acclimate OK.
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Old 26-04-2011, 20:19   #7
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Re: Cat On Board

Mine has taken quite well to living aboard. She has claimed the boat as her territory and only allows me here as a guest.
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Old 26-04-2011, 20:50   #8
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Re: Cat On Board

We brought our 12 year old cat on board for the first time just this last weekend. He was pretty freaked out at first, but adapted surprisingly quickly. We probably should have followed all the excellent advice above, but we had him out once for a few hours, then took him down Friday night, slept at the dock, and headed out for a weekend away (on the hook). Not happy first day, but by the time we came back, he seemed pretty darned comfortable. Not bad for a 12 year old.

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Old 28-04-2011, 18:08   #9
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Re: Cat On Board

Thanks everybody. These answers are very encouraging. We are spending a fortune on the kennels to keeps her for weeks at a time. She doesn't like it there either. My wife has other worries. Our cat is partially an outdoor cat and still has her claws. She uses the scratching pole a lot, but leather upholstery is irresistable to her feline instinct. We have some lovely leather on board. Any suggestions?

Also, how often to cats jump overboard?

Tom
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Old 28-04-2011, 18:11   #10
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Re: Cat On Board

trim her front claws. the back ones leave long for defense... although I gotta say that given other happy options (those corrugated cardboard strips) our cats never mess with the leather. well, except to nap on it...
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Old 28-04-2011, 18:15   #11
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Re: Cat On Board

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Originally Posted by Tom Richardson View Post
Thanks everybody. These answers are very encouraging. We are spending a fortune on the kennels to keeps her for weeks at a time. She doesn't like it there either. My wife has other worries. Our cat is partially an outdoor cat and still has her claws. She uses the scratching pole a lot, but leather upholstery is irresistable to her feline instinct. We have some lovely leather on board. Any suggestions?

Also, how often to cats jump overboard?

Tom
I'll bet we fish one cat a week out of the water in our marina. The guy across from me keeps a shrimp dip net just for the purpose.
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Old 28-04-2011, 18:40   #12
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Re: Cat On Board

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I'll bet we fish one cat a week out of the water in our marina. The guy across from me keeps a shrimp dip net just for the purpose.
So Cap. Once you've landed the da_ned things, how do you clean'em and cook'em? (Or are you guys into catch'n release?)
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Old 28-04-2011, 19:13   #13
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So Cap. Once you've landed the da_ned things, how do you clean'em and cook'em? (Or are you guys into catch'n release?)
Ask any Chinese Restauranter.... stir fry'd with Water Chestnuts, Chinese Cabbage and Beansprouts.... folks pay a fortune for that in NY....
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Old 28-04-2011, 19:57   #14
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Re: Cat On Board

We have a good friend who persists in taking her (older) cat along on her Gulf/Keys cruises. A...The cat absolutely hates it AND...B...She gets seasick (the cat not my friend). Well, my friend does too but that's another story.
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Old 29-04-2011, 08:51   #15
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Cool Re: Cat On Board

So I guess that she's just got to take her chances--the cat not my wife.

Tom
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