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Old 08-01-2018, 21:35   #1
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Just got a cat, but not a Lagoon

We just acquired a cat. No not a Lagoon but a domestic shorthair. We need tips on sailing with her to keep her safe and comfortable
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Old 09-01-2018, 05:10   #2
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Re: Just got a cat, but not a Lagoon

Cruised for a year w 3 cats aboard. Rule was no cats on deck when under way.

If you want some entertainment...put a life jacket on a cat.
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Old 09-01-2018, 17:33   #3
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Re: Just got a cat, but not a Lagoon

Yes, the rule is no kitties on deck - not even alongside.

Cats like to go exploring, they don't come when they are called, and the smell of a fish cleaning station is irresistible. Our 12 year old tom does just fine. He was seasick the first time, out and dug his claws into the cushion he was lying on. But now he's totally cool with the motion of the boat. Sleeps the time away until it's time to beat on us for his dinner. If it gets rougher than he thinks is appropriate he goes into his carry-bag. As far as he's concerned it's a bunk complete with lee-cloth :-)

Good kibble, fresh water and lots of love, just like at home. Fish juice for a treat when it is available.

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Old 10-01-2018, 11:47   #4
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Re: Just got a cat, but not a Lagoon

We have recently introduced our two 5 year old cats to our boat. The most stressful part is getting them into their carriers and the car trip to the boat. Once on the boat they both found hidey holes that we didnít even realise were there.

Weíve had reasonable success with feeding them ground ginger before rougher passages - mix the ginger with tuna or whatever else your cat really likes.

We donít use a litter box with them at home, so had to train them to use it on the boat. We dedicated a small compartment for the litter box and lined the whole area with a rubber mat as they often seem to miss when the boat is moving.

Have a bunch of old blankets or towels that you can put under your cat wherever it settles during a passage - even if it doesnít vomit it may drool copiously and you donít want your regular upholstery to get messed up.

We do allow our cats on deck. They love to explore, are fascinated watching sea birds, and seem to have a very healthy respect of the edges. We do restrict them inside whenever we dock so they donít jump ashore. Iíve heard that people hang a thick rope off the back of their boat so an overboard cat can climb back on, but Iíve not been allowed to water train them, sigh.

We have harnesses and leashes for use in the dinghy and land outings. If you want your cat to really appreciate your boat, give them a ride in your dinghy!

Just as with a toddler in your house, you will need to cat proof your boat. In our case we are more careful about where we leave fishing gear and we have a lot more throw rugs.

Thereís a Facebook group Gatos de mar all about cats afloat.
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Old 11-01-2018, 09:05   #5
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Re: Just got a cat, but not a Lagoon

Congratulations to the addition to your crew. Ship's cats have been around forever, and all your rat problems are now solved.

Here is a photo of one of my cats happily in the dinghy.



Cats adapt easily to life on boats, especially if you train them young. If you want to allow your cat to be on deck, I would suggest to use netting around the boat. Most cats do not like to climb this.

My cats are trained to come home to a dog whistle. That makes it much easier to find them in case.....

Also you could buy a tracking collar, for the time spent in port, just in case the cat escapes, and they are good at that.

Also, train your cat to go on a leash. This is easy, but do not expect the cat to behave like a dog. From the cats perspective, she has you on the leash:-)

For litter boxes, the one with an opening in the top are perfect for boats.

Good luck!
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Old 14-01-2018, 03:18   #6
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Re: Just got a cat, but not a Lagoon

Used to have a salty cat who loved to ride in the dinghy. It was hard to get away from the boat without him jumping. Same ashore with my Jeep. Miss my sailing buddy.

Pics of cats on boats (and one random dog pic, not on a boat)

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/d3a3j0qfa...x60z7oPha?dl=0
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Old 18-01-2018, 04:53   #7
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Re: Just got a cat, but not a Lagoon

We have been sailing with our 2 kitties (Persians) for 5 years. The rules are, always down below while underway. At anchor, they can be tied to the helm with a long dog leash, while wearing harnesses. We do have small carriers on board that can be taken apart and stored.

I have walked around the deck with one of them but Persians have very furry feet and I'm always afraid they will slide off.

Just recently, I have discovered the Breeze litter box. It has been a huge improvement over a regular litter box. They can be found at Petsmart or online.

We have never had a problem with sea sickness, even in rough seas.

They are wonderful company and love to snuggle in the early morning, while I'm having my morning coffee.
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Old 18-01-2018, 04:59   #8
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pirate Re: Just got a cat, but not a Lagoon

If you get bored you can pass the time trying to put a life vest on it.. then watch it trying to get it off after/if you succeed..
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Old 18-01-2018, 05:06   #9
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Re: Just got a cat, but not a Lagoon

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
If you get bored you can pass the time trying to put a life vest on it.. then watch it trying to get it off after/if you succeed.. WHILE DISINFECTING THE SCRATCHES ON YOUR ARMS, FACE, NECK, LEGS AND CHEST... POSSIBLY OTHER AREAS
Fixed that for you.
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Old 18-01-2018, 07:00   #10
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Re: Just got a cat, but not a Lagoon

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
If you get bored you can pass the time trying to put a life vest on it.. then watch it trying to get it off after/if you succeed..
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiveslide View Post
Fixed that for you.
It is entertaining, but non-violent in my experience. They freeze and then fall over or try to back out from under the thing on their back.

For more dramatic entertainment, clip a clothes pin to a cat's tail when they aren't looking (did this when I was a kid)...the reaction is MUCH more dramatic...do not do this on a boat.
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Old 18-01-2018, 07:49   #11
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Re: Just got a cat, but not a Lagoon

I agree with no cats on deck while underway. I would never want to suddenly notice that I hadn't seen Kit or Boo for a while. Very sad.

Litter gets tracked around a lot. Cats aren't real fond of the covered litter boxes, but you can cut some holes in the plastic cover to give them some windows, but still keep litter scattering to a minimum. You can eliminate more than 90% of the litter that gets tracked outside the box with one of those collapsible nylon cat tunnels. I sewed a couple velcro tabs on one end of the tunnel, and glued corresponding tabs around the opening to the litter box (swinging door on box removed). This way, every time the cat exits the box, most of the litter on it's paws falls off in the tunnel. Just remove the tunnel and shake it out now and then.

Ditto on the leash. Make sure you have a good, secure harness, and as a previous poster said, the cat has you on the leash. We use a leash at home, too, and our male cat, Boo, catches about a dozen mice in the beach grass next door each summer. With a cat, mostly you just let them sniff around and enjoy themselves while you veg out. Occasionally your cat will walk in a straight line as you follow it, creating the illusion of walking it.

At the dock, the cats can be a PITA. You can't just tie up a cat, as they'll wrap their tether around the deck hardware. Or, they'll back up and slide out of the harness.

We're not cruising with our cats lately, but we always take them with us when we travel with our 26' travel trailer. Many of the same rules/techniques apply.

Plenty of people allow their cats to roam the decks while underway. I remember reading on a sailing forum that one cat loves to nap in the baggy, foot of the mainsail while underway. I'd hate to think what would happen if there was an unexpected jibe, etc.. What level of safety you want for your cats is up to you. Obviously, I err on the side of security for my fuzzy pals.

I can tell you tending to our cat's needs and safety is a hassle, as it's never ending. But, as I write this and drink my coffee, Mr. Boo, aka the boss of the house, is napping in my lap with that contented cat look on his face. Kit's enjoying a window sunbeam, aka "the cat beach". That's worth something.
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Old 23-02-2018, 19:00   #12
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Re: Just got a cat, but not a Lagoon

We cruise SE Asia with 3 cats from Australia. They have their own page on our blog but...
They have the run of the boat 24/7 as we netted, and no tethers, leashes or other restraints.
Litter trays are on the aft deck unless shitty weather then in the cockpit. Can't find litter in Indonesia so we use rice.
Cat food is mostly available but we also give then the same meat we eat.
A Vet in Langkawi actually comes to the boat an anchor for their annual shots.
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:24   #13
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Re: Just got a cat, but not a Lagoon

Please feel free to share any cat stories about sailing with cats. I know, crasy as it seems, but I found my cat in a shelter and we shook paws on it. A deal is a deal.
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Old 07-06-2018, 16:45   #14
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Re: Just got a cat, but not a Lagoon

We are part time on our boat so far and our two house cats usually cruise with us - longest trip was 2 months, but mostly 3-4 day weekends. They seem to hate the car trip back and forth the most.

We havenít netted our catamaran and donít restrict the cats in any way except if weíre docking and donít want them to escape ashore. They seem to well understand the edges of the boat and havenít fallen in yet, even when climbing out of an opened port on the side of the hull up to the deck. They like to sun themselves on the cabin top or bimini whenever the conditions are comfortable. They still have not stepped onto the trampolines. Iím tempted to through them in to show them how to get up the piece of rope hanging from one of our sugar scoops but my fiancť would hate me if I did.

We donít use a litter box with them on land, but have put a litter box in our office area on the boat. They found it and use it without difficulties. Weíre experimenting with various litter substances but I think the best option would be non-absorbent litter medium over top of a absorbent pad - solids get covered for smell control and the liquids go through and soak into the bottom pad. I have a stock of pads on board for oil changes and diesel fills.

We have learnt the hard way to not feed them within 8 hours of a passage - no matter how benign the conditions they foam/drool at the mouth at best and vomit and/or poop at worst - usually in their comfort spot on our bed. Weíve brought a toddler cot on board (low sides, 15cm, about 1.5m in diameter) that weíve lined with a mattress protector and an old duvet and placed on our bed. Thatís their new go to spot when itís rougher. Ginger mixed with their food seems to help.

They have found spots in our boat that we didnít know existed - one cat went missing for 8 hours before we finally tracked him to an unknown storage cubby behind our dive gear locker.

Both seem to enjoy the breeze in their hair and like to standup next to whoever is helming.

They hate the dinghy ride, but really love coming back to the boat. They donít walk very well on leads - dogs are certainly much better at that. Though one of the Wynns cats seems to like being on a lead. Weíre thinking of putting them into carry bags for the dinghy rides and will continue to work on their lead skills.

In short, mostly an unobtrusive joy and the same companionship as at home. They probably get more cuddle time on the boat than on land.
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