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Old 27-09-2010, 15:03   #16
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Well a good many cats adapt very happily to life aboard and have no difficulties; for the most part we hear of the failures or casualties rather than the successes. Still one can weigh the odds, and for the most part, being on a boat is in some ways safer than for an indoor/outdoor cat who spends a portion of his time outside and part inside. In rural areas, cats while predators, are still preyed upon by owls, eagles, hawks, larger felines such as bobcats--in short they are fairly well down from the top position on the food chain. And of course there are accidents--particularly in busy cities. Except for falling overboard, on a boat cats actually have a safer time of it than they would prowling their land neighborhood; they are far less likely to be injured in a fight or catch a disease, provided they are not allowed shore leave in a strange port (highly discouraged in some places highly illegal). One must make the boat as cat friendly as possible though. I would rig netting to life rails, particularly if you do not have teak decks and cabin roof. Non slip surfaces which work well for us, may not always do so for our four legged friends and provide a boarding platform suitable to his needs just in casee lines. If the little guy does fall overboard, some means of either getting back on board or a platform for him to get to so he doesnt have to tread water too long is a good idea. (assuming you are in port).

It would also help to have an alarm system. perhaps like:

Safety Turtle Alarm System

Mostly, though, use common sense. If conditions appear dangerous topside for a child, then they will be dangerous for a pet as well. Keep them below and try not to leave them unsupervised when on deck.

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Old 30-09-2010, 18:02   #17
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1) Isolate them from their true nature and keep them locked inside all the time 2) live on land and let them go out 3) take them cruising. All have potentially undesireable consequences. For us it's not a question if we should keep/adopt another. They provide us with so much entertainment and love, we are incredibly blessed to have such loving furballs.

Our cat safety strategy is evolving but currently it's Naami stays inside unless one of us watches him, no matter how calm it is outside. Night time air is ok but strolling is a no no. We need some kind of conviently stored easily put in place screen in our sliding door to let air in. Any ideas of how we can make/attach/buy one?

We're considering giving Naami swimming lessons and provide a carpet or rope for him to climb on. Only concern is as he's a Maine Coon mix who loves water and is likely to jump in for the fun of it. Any water/swim loving cat parents with advise? What's better, rope, carpet or macrame? Suggestions regarding the best area(s) to hang it from a catamaran?

We're discussing the possibility of netting on the port and starbard side but wanted to hear from others if they tangle with the boat lines, pets? Do you take it down when you dock? Any other factors to consider?

Would an animal shelter approve our adopting a cat while we're living on a boat? Naami has up to date shots, current microchip account, stock pile of special food for urinary medical condition in case we can't find it elsewhere, nutritional yeast for healthy coat, everything we could provide him on land to keep him healthy plus the above mentioned changess for safety.

Was really excited about the Safety Turtle Alarm but this was on the website. Any experience with this type of alarm for pets on a boat?

"Immersion Alarm and Salt Water
Natural fresh water does not greatly impede the signal radiating from an immersed Turtle. No matter how fast a Turtle descends in the water, it will always alarm on the way down.
An increase in salt concentration increases water’s conductivity, making propagation of a radio wave more difficult. This has the effect of reducing “depth coverage”, the depth below which a Base Station cannot decipher the signal transmitted by an immersed Turtle."

Thank you moms and dads for your sympathy, experience and wisdom.

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Old 02-10-2010, 19:18   #18
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Somewhere on this forum I mentioned that we lost our cat this summer (I don't remember which thread though). I completely understand how you feel! Our Chlorox was 14 years old and adapted to our boat so quickly I couldn't believe it when she went over board! At home she wouldn't even venture near an open door and had no desire to roam. On the boat she soon started venturing above and would sit in the cockpit and sniff the air. Sometimes she stood on her hind legs and looked just like a meer cat. I can still remember how shocked I was when I realized she'd been going up to the bow during the night and caught her dropping into a hatch! But she was also very cautious. While we were moving she never came up top. If we were at anchor and there was any wind or boat motion, she would go down below. Then one night at a dock she went overboard, and we didn't find out until the next morning. We too searched all over the marina and when we finally left we scanned the shoreline with our binoculars, but no Chlorox. We left all our information with the Harbor Master and 2 days later they called to say they found her hanging onto the swim platform of a boat! I was so excited and they actually drove her to our anchorage in DC. I am still very upset with myself that I didn't take her to a vet right away! We now realize that she may have been in the water for the whole 30 hours she was missing. Instead, I wrapped her in a towel and put her in our bunk. She was purring and would wake up and purr if I checked on her. But during the night she started showing distress and I took her up into the salon area. She was struggling and panting and I knew she wasn't going to make it until morning, and she didn't! In retrospect though, this cat would not have tolerated a tether. I should have found a way to keep her below during the night but it was so hot this summer we had every hatch wide open (maybe I should have crated her?). A net around the lifelines would not keep this cat contained, and anyway the whole back stern is wide open. I just know that I'll never get over the guilt of what this cat went through! We still have our pit bull but I don't think we'll get another cat.
Once again, I feel so badly for you!!
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:30   #19
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In Loving Memory of John Steed, Our Beloved Cat

Here's a similar story, with a happier end, that might help others.

"Dear Terrapin,

A week ago Saturday I purchased a Safety Turtle to use as a "pet overboard" alarm in sea water. Unaware beforehand of the salt water limitations on product use, I called the company for clarification. One of the folks at Terrapin was kind enough to call me back on a Sunday and reassured me it was okay with the Turtle on the top of a pet's collar.

I was awakened at 4:30 am the following Saturday by the alarm going off. I figured it was a false alarm caused by my cat, Oly, getting his turtle into his water bowl. I couldn't find him, but I kept looking because the alarm continued to sound. I walked out to the back of the boat and heard a pitiful cry. He had fallen from the upper deck, then managed to paddle to the back and was hanging on to a structural member underneath the swim step. I got into the water to rescue him. There's no question I would have slept until 9:00 am, and with forty degree water, I'm sure we would have lost him to hypothermia. My cat and I are most grateful. Your product works beautifully.

John Nance

Tacoma, Washington"
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:31   #20
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Originally Posted by Hans and Laura View Post
She was purring and would wake up and purr if I checked on her.
We were sorry for your loss too. I consider it a miracle that Clorox made it home to be held by her family who loved her so much they never gave up looking. A trip to the vet may not have extended her life but would have been more trauma in her last hours than the peace and warmth she felt.

Whether on land or on a boat none of us have a guarantee how long we have. It's our quality of life that's important. Being a creature on land or sea it makes no difference. In either realm the challenges may be vastly different but they exist. Having that last purr is what it's all about.

For the last week we live with the fear of losing our other cat. Replacing the full on love with fear doesn't feel right. There's not a shred of doubt that many cats are happy on boats, and Dave and I are very happy to have their love and antics for company. Even though we are sad and we miss our sweet Steed, in time I think we'll get another cat. There's no doubt that we have to change some things around on the boat and our ways of minding them.

After reading the letter above I'm looking into the Safety Turtle again. Thank you for the post rylonss.
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:25   #21
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I was recently told by another cruiser that when the water is calm as glass some cats mistake this as a sign that the water is solid ground. I think this is what happened to our Steed.

We have a new Tonkinese kitten onboard (supposed to be a good traveling breed)and she's super sweet, even our curmudgeon Naami has warmed to her. No matter how bumpy or loud the ride gets she doesn't flinch, she's that mellow. She'll need about 10 pounds of cat treats on the boat to satisfy her addiction.

We got the safety turtle immersion alarm system for our pets on Ebay as a backup (if it works once in an emergency it paid for itself) but they get immersed in the water bowl when they drink. Figure 8 harnesses will have to be employed from now on. We made a ladder out of rope to hang off the swim step. We will teach them how to swim when we get to warmar waters.

Unlike before we started restricting Naami's access to the outside to occasional as opposed to letting him roam freely. Though our boys were cautious around water in the past, and our control to access may relax a little in time, for now it's too great a loss to bear twice. Naami seems to understand in his kitty way so it's not so tough on us.

I wish all animal lover folks a wonderful holiday season and safe travels.
Many hugs for you and your creatures. Susan
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:38   #22
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Glad you got some company for Naami... we found that a piece of carpet hund over the side was as good as a piece of heavy line to let cats board themselves... they hate water and are only to happy to scramble back aboard if hey have the means... CP

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