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Old 21-11-2009, 18:13   #1
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What to Expect from a Kitten Aboard

Greetings: I've recently acquired a kitten who seems fearless when it comes to my Tri and the water. The boat is docked at my home and I'm continuously on and off doing this and that. While my dog sails with me the other cat keeps her distance where the boat is concerned. The kitten , however, is under foot constantly and bold beyond belief. If I take her day sailing what should I expect? If she simply hides below that's one thing but I'd hate for her to jump overboard or climb the mainsail. I'm mostly a dog guy and the cats just seem to show up and put down roots. It's only a matter of time before she stows away. What then? Thanks, Dave

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Old 21-11-2009, 18:46   #2
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We lost a kitten at anchor off of Long Beach while we were ashore. Surmize she fell off in her venturing and couldn't get back aboard. Hang a rope or something over the side that the cat can use to climb back aboard. Train the cat to use it by throwing her overboard and directing it to the rope, etc. Might take a couple of tries before the cat automatically swims to rescue line.

As far as falling overboard underway, that's something that there really isn't much you can do except tether the cat. We cruised with a cat that we'd raised from a kitten and he did fine till bladder problems did him in. We never had to worry what to do with flying fish that came aboard in the night. Didn't really do anything to keep him on board, he took care of that himeself. We were really surprized by how many that was after the cat was gone.

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Old 21-11-2009, 19:02   #3
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Expect anything. When In college, I had B.C., or Boat Cat. She did not like being left on the boat alone at anchor, and would swim to other boats or ashore. This of course did her in, as there was a road right at the waterfront, and she was hit by a car. ;<

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Old 21-11-2009, 22:10   #4
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We have a ships cat 'Minke' who knew spent the 1st 3 yrs on the boat; off for 18 months and now back onboard. We used to tether her when on passage and she hated it, but they are fearless. She used to walk on the ss pushpit under sail whilst I was cleaning a fish. She would poop on the solar panel. At a marina, she has never hopped off and gone wandering.

In heavy weather she would spread her back legs and waddle one side higher or she sits on her haunches (& gut) Strangest sight to see.

They are great fun.
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Old 22-11-2009, 01:23   #5
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Sounds like your kitten is the type of boat cat that's gonna go for a swim sooner or later. I'd confine her below while underway. At anchor or docked, hang a length of indoor/outdoor carpet over the stern. The carpet's much easier than a rope for the cat to climb up on. Don't even bother buying a kitty PFD. We tried that with our cat and she careened around like a drunken sailor. She couldn't abide it. We figured she'd be more likely to go over the side with the PFD on than without it.
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Old 22-11-2009, 02:26   #6
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Anything but this:
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Old 22-11-2009, 09:15   #7
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Old 22-11-2009, 11:12   #8
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+1 to using carpet instead of a rope as something for a cat to climb aboard with.

I had 2 kittens that I raised while living aboard, and we pretty much kept them below for the first few months before letting them on deck, and they got the message that below was safe, and on deck was for strictly calm weather.
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Old 22-11-2009, 11:48   #9
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Our guy wears a harness and is on a tether whenever he is in the cockpit. Down below he has free run. He is not allowed on deck. Cats are fearless and that's their downfall. If we ever lost him it would be a huge blow so we are very vigilant.

Way easier to have him on the boat than the dog. But then with the dog on board we get no unwanted guests, female German Shepherds are about as territorial as dogs come and she counts the boat as her territory.
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Old 24-11-2009, 11:02   #10
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teach kitten early to enjoy harness then leash--makes a world of difference when ye tries to sleep---lol---mine fell twice when he had the harness and leash on--makes for funny tales of kitten-do, but i still have kat lol..he is now 3 1/2 and loves his harness and uses leash to his advantage--is ok while alone on boat at a dock also----doesnt get wrapped up unless i am home---go figger----i have lost a kat overboard -he didnt use leash and was fearless---try it---he will only balk a minuet--harness first--i use a figure 8 harness placed so the loop for leash is under chest--that way the kat doesnt choke when falls or gets tight......also make sure kitten knows what exactly is under the boat--and that it is unpleasant--dont have to place kat into sea--just a paw the boat is his--not mine--HIS....he protects it well....kills anything having nerve to fly onto it....gooooood kitty...
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Old 24-11-2009, 18:13   #11
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Cats are perfect pets onboard. They are practically single use. So if you do love cats you will need many of them, probably a new one for each crossing. Cats are the brightest of all animals and they will rather chase the flying fish than sit and wait till you fill their bowl, like a stupid dog would do. Cats are supposed to be great swimmers which must be true since I have seen some number of them floating in marinas around the world. Your neighbours will love you and will love to hear your voice as you will endlessly walk the docks looking for your pet. The pet that will poo and piss on their dock lines and on their 'Welcome Onboard' mat.

Really, can't see any cons.

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Old 25-11-2009, 09:08   #12
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I also have taken our new ( 6month ) kitten cruising. Gave him a free run and food and litter below, but a harness and leash in the cockpit. Weather's been too horrible to get him out on deck yet! Maybe next year.
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Old 25-11-2009, 09:25   #13
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Most people I know that had cats aboard took them sailing as kittens. These cats didnt seem t o get sea sick. Also, they threw them overboard while at anchor (I know...hard) and taught them how to get back on. If you dont do this they will likely drown eventually.
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Old 25-11-2009, 10:20   #14
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Just keep them out of the grog rations!

They're not very good at basic seamanship like stowing anchor lines etc.

They will keep vigilant look out for approaching pooches!

This is what happens when one gets a little too schmooozy with a guard cat!

Most of the time they're just laid back and enjoying the ride!

Don't expect them to be very good mousers though. Sometimes they get just a lil' too cozy with the enemy!

The end!
Yours Aye! Rick
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Old 25-11-2009, 10:27   #15
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My experience with kittens, at least on land, is that you should get two. All cats are crazy, but kittens are insane. If they don't have a wrestling/chasing/biting/scratching partner, they are compelled to climb/scratch drapes, upolstery, and people.

OTOH, mature cats usually do well on boats. They sleep 16-18 hours a day. And while they are sleeping (usually in inconvenient places) they don't mind you using their boat as you see fit.
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