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Old 26-09-2010, 16:42   #1
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In Loving Memory of John Steed, Our Beloved Cat

In search of support and comfort I did a search for cruisers who have lost their cat while living onboard due to accident but didn't find much. Please don't be judgemental about the fact that we allow our cats freedom to roam around the boat at anchor. We tried the harness and the tether thing but our cats were not at all happy. From the beginning they displayed respect and caution for the sea surrounding our home. What happened was a momentary fluke that has changed our life in a hugely sad way.

Two nights ago while at our mooring in Belfast Harbor Steed strolled outside into the rainy foggy night to check on the boat as he normally does with Naami every day and our sweet boy didn't return inside. Steed was the cautious one so losing him is a huge shock. We looked for him along the shoreline and on every nearby boat in hopes he swam to safety. We posted signs around town about his disappearance but there is little hope of finding him dead or alive.

Steed had the best year of his life living with us all on the boat. Every day he would rush out in the early morning when we opened the door and fall on his side and rub his body all over the textured cockpit. Steed and his little brother Naami loved to chase each other and wrestle around, inside and out. Then other times cuddle and clean each other as they did the night I first brought Naami home. Steed loved to sit in Dave's lap and purrrrr for hours.

We have no regrets taking him on this seaward adventure. He was a good sailor and great crew taking turns with Naami doing the night watches with us. Steed was much more than our cat. He was our child, our comedian, our protector and an active participant in our day to day activities in our life on the boat. His final arrangement at sea in Belfast is in good company where we will return to visit often.

We miss you so much sweet Steed-e-Steed. There is no other like you in the world.
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Old 26-09-2010, 16:52   #2
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Sorry about your loss. I too think they should run free. Most boat cats do. Only one of ours has gone on the boat but she stays home now. We used to take her weekending and she never got over her seasickness so we leave her at home. Tania Aebi lost hers too in the South Pacific.
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Old 26-09-2010, 17:11   #3
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Our heart goes out to you over your loss... we had our little 'Hobie Cat' with us aboard from the time he was a kitten. Several trips from San Diego to Mexico and many to Catalina. The only time he left the boat was when a neighbor in the marina had her cat go into heat and Hobie jumped ship in a heart beat. We still miss him but have two replacements now that eased the pain... so sorry...
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Old 26-09-2010, 17:13   #4
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Condolences.

We have lost 2 horses and a cat since I have belonged to this forum...its tough.
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Old 26-09-2010, 19:49   #5
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He was handsome lad. Kitty the Pooh is quite old (18) but she was pretty disappointed when we moved back into a house. When we go out to the boat now she gets very excited when we get to the tender. I really understand when you write that your friend enjoyed being on the boat. The Pooh cat would not consider a leash or PFD to be appropriate for any cat so I'd say don't beat yourself up over that one. A cats got to do what a cats got to do.
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Old 26-09-2010, 20:12   #6
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So sorry to hear of your loss. It's terribly hard losing a buddy like that and not really knowing for sure.
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Old 27-09-2010, 03:15   #7
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Hopefully he got to shore. Just because they don't like water doesnt mean they can't swim a long way.

Very sad and a beautiful cat, and friend.
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Old 27-09-2010, 04:35   #8
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I am so sorry for your loss, I have had two cats that have passed they are wonderful companions. Are you in Belfast harbor Maine? If so, we will arrive there in a week to work on our boat. We will keep an eye out for your feline friend because the truth is you never know cats can be incredibly determined and resourceful.
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Old 27-09-2010, 06:47   #9
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My thoughts are going out to you. We have lost some cats here on land, I seriously think they were stolen, and I know how sad you must feel. I hope Naami will help go through these moments of pain
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Old 27-09-2010, 07:37   #10
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Dave and I appreciate the sympathy and understanding. And our condolences to you that have lost your animal loved ones. We are in Belfast Maine for the next 3 weeks. Your offer Reluctantsailor to keep an out for Steed is so kind. Safe passage to you and if you see us here feel free to stop by and say hi.

We are fortunate we had the joy of two best buds in our home. Naami's a great companion but he's still looking for his older more stable brother Steed around the boat and in the water. I think about adopting another cat already hoping it will fill the void for our family. How long should we wait ... Capt Phil? What if the new cat gets seasick or the two don't get along? Sometimes *time* feels like the enemy.

Steed didn't have his collar on that night. I hope that if he survives and doesn't get returned to us, the family that finds him will have more need for him and his joyous healing nature. To me that would be an acceptable reason for why this happened.

Bless you and your animals on board.
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Old 27-09-2010, 09:49   #11
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We waited about 6 months to get another kitty and were concerned because we didn't want to go through the pain of loss again. But friends of ours had cat who had an unscheduled and unwanted litter so rather than the alternative and against our better judgement, we took 2 of the litter. I wanted to call them Smith and Wesson but was overruled and they are named Slim and Dusty after the well known Aussie country singer. I wouldn't hesitate to introduce another younger kitten to Naami who will probably take on the role of teacher and protector of new little one and provide company and companionship to both you and N. We have never put PDF's or collars on our cats and harnesses were a non-starter (still have the scars from several attempts). We always had chips placed in our cats in the event they did do a runner on shore. We were always so attached to all these cats, we put a good supply of cat food in our life raft on every repack... cheers, Capt phil
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Old 27-09-2010, 10:37   #12
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We know your feelings about your lost family member.
Your post could just as easily been written by us.
We had a Snowshoe Siamese who was the best cat we ever had.
He was a great sailor, but we lost him to kidney failure at age 12.

After a couple of years, we have another Snowshoe, but he isn't much of a boat cat.
Recently, we were rafted to a friend's boat in a perfectly calm anchorage. The cat was roaming around the boats after dark, the hatches were open as it was a warm night. Everyone had gone to bed when our friends heard a long scratch and a splash.
We didn't hear a thing, but were woken up by lots of loud panicked conversation so we quickly went topside.

Our "Frankie" (blue eyes) was swimming around and around the ama on the rafted side and was tiring very quickly.

As he passed me the second time around, I managed to reach him from the trampoline (just barely).

The water in the PNW is under 50 degrees f. so he wouldn't have lasted much longer.
We wrapped him in a towel, warmed him up and dried him off, but he was very still for a long time.

Lesson learned. We won't allow our kitty out at night unless we're there with them, and we're going to make some kind of boarding device. A piece of carpet at the very least.

Pets such as yours are indeed family, and will never be forgotten.
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Old 27-09-2010, 11:45   #13
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Cats probably would not put up with them but Iv been contemplating making neoprene boots for my wife's dog...she has excellent balance and is very quick..but with all that fur between her paws she slips around a lot...in a round up she'd be gone if on the fore deck
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Old 27-09-2010, 12:45   #14
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You have our sympathies on the loss of your pet. Loosing a beloved animal can be very difficult.

FWIW we have known quite a few people that have tried to maintain cats aboard over the years and in virtually every case the animal was eventually lost. Only one couple we knew managed to keep a cat for any time and only because they were so determined to do so after having lost its predecessor. Even with every care, however, "Jac Tar" eventually went by the boards during a night passage (they turned back and searched there track for several hours but without success). Given the foregoing, one must question the wisdom of taking a pet aboard, eh?
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Old 27-09-2010, 12:59   #15
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. Given the foregoing, one must question the wisdom of taking a pet aboard, eh?

It might not be the wisest decision but for those of who love animals and want to cruise it is a no brainer one. Even on land animals are at Risk all the time, many people have outdoor cats and the life span on these are very short but people still do it. Even if you keep animals inside, every time you open a door you risk your cat or dog running out, perhaps to be hurt or lost. If you have a dog and only walk him on leashes well he might get free and hit by a car it happens, it happens all the time yet we still have pets in our home that we love, care for and cherish, those animals have fantastic lives and are well loved, so yes there might be risk to having an animal on board, they might not live to be 16 years old and certainly there are challenges but I don't personally think that should stop us from having them. Is it right for everyone, no but it doesn't make it wrong either.

I know in our case we had dogs long before we decided to go sailing and I for one would not get rid of my dogs, since getting them our lives have changed and now sailing is a part of it so we must find a way for it to work with the dogs as well. They are family and you don't abandon family.
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