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Old 09-08-2020, 12:44   #1
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Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

Hello All Cat lovers,
I have a 14 year-old Siamese that has never even been outside of our land home. I am now seriously thinking about cruising full time and selling my home. I am wondering if anyone on the CF has thoughts and/or suggestions about moving an older feline from land to permanently aboard a sailing vessel? Is adaptation possible?

Many thanks for your much appreciated feedback!

Roberto
s/v Mare Nostrum
Acapulco
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Old 09-08-2020, 12:52   #2
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Re: Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

Depends on the Cat, I wouldn't let it out by itself though. My prediction is it will hide, maybe for days coming out at night while your asleep and it will adapt, just don’t push it, let it hide, even give it a place to hide.
Does it sleep on some kind of Cat bed or towel or whatever now, if it does bring it along of course.
I think it won’t like it, but it will get over it in time.

Wife had an old Cat when we first got Married, I think it hated me more than strange places to live ,(Jealousy) but we moved I’d guess twice a year for the first few years, Cat got over it.
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Old 09-08-2020, 15:17   #3
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Re: Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

We had some friends with a pair of Siamese kitties. When under way, they had lines, below decks, with the cats harnessed to the (3/8") line. Cats went wherever they wanted in the saloon, usually settling on the downhill side. Did fine on the boat, although they had been introduced as young ones.

Especially, if your kitty shows his/her love for you openly, it'll do okay. Seasickness may be a problem. Knew some people with a cat that would hide out in their head when seasick. Also, young ones can be trained to use the boat head instead of a sandbox. I'd do some searching about how to do that, because the littler gets tracked all over the place, otherwise, and in the long run it will be less work for you.

Ann
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Old 09-08-2020, 15:38   #4
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Re: Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

Our cat never left out house except to visit the vet.

We started bringing our cat to the boat on the hard for visits for an hour or two a few months before we moved out of the house. We had owned and sailed the boat for two summers so it smelled like us and was filled with stuff we stored at home over the winters that she recognized.

We made the visits longer and would lay in the V-berth watching a movie or cooking food and having dinner before taking the cat home. The boat was set up with bedding and everything ready to go for the most part.

Eventually the boat was launched and we took her to it at the marina to get used to the motion in the water. She was NOT happy about that, but she was already used to the inside and the smells and it being her second "home."

All the while we were moving out of the house and it became emptier and emptier inside. She didn't like it when all the furniture but the bed and the kitchen table was gone and wouldn't leave the bedroom except to use the litter box in the laundry room. When we took out the bed and the rest of our stuff she would not go back into the empty bedroom and would sit in the kitchen by the window waiting for us to return.

The last day when we took away the last couple of boxes and the kitchen table to charity, when we got back to pick her up she was hiding on top of the refrigerator and nearly jumped into the cat carrier letting us know in no uncertain terms we were NOT leaving again without her.

When we got back to the boat she stepped out of the carrier like she owned the place.
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Old 09-08-2020, 16:57   #5
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Re: Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

We flew our cat on a 3 hour flight and just released him into the boat after his indoor cat life.

I’ve never seen him happier!

Hates the engines. Loves to zoom around on deck after sunset and early morning.

They absolutely love boats for all the levels and places to hide/sleep.

Note: they only fall off once. Ha ha ha. After that trauma of that, they smarten up very quickly. They make a big splash like a mud clump off your anchor, so you can’t miss them when they do.

Hardest part is remembering to confine them to the interior at docks.
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Old 09-08-2020, 17:10   #6
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Re: Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

Our cat Scuttle seems to love living on board. He has fallen off twice and managed to get back aboard by himself. We put a rope off the swim platform so that he can get back on easier but it has not happened again. He likes to run around the docks and follows me halfway to the bath house. He doesn't like the engines though and will run and hide when they turn on. All in all a happy cat. Can't say about an older kitty though. It's has never lived anyplace else.
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Old 10-08-2020, 04:35   #7
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Re: Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

Thanks for the topic! Penny is 4 and we’re going to give it a try. One thing that concerns me is keeping the interior cool enough while ashore, if living in the warmer climates and tropics. Lots of ventilation, I guess.
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Old 10-08-2020, 05:07   #8
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Re: Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

Did conversion twice, once with older, indoor/outdoor cats, most recently with young (indoor) Siamese... just did it.. no acclimation...worked out fine both times...none of them like passages, but love having the boat to roam.. beware the first trip to the boat can be an clawful adventure. Within a week they were out of the salon, into the cockpit, and shortly thereafter patrolling the deck. And even with frequent cases of the “zoomies” none have gone overboard...yet
we summer ashore, and actually think they have more fun on the boat. Watch out for the water bowl when underway...inevitably sloshes over..we never seem to remember

Good luck
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Old 10-08-2020, 05:35   #9
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Re: Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

I was living aboard my Willard 36 trawler in SF Bay when my girlfriend sold her condo. She and her two cats moved aboard for about 6-months. Neither cat was thrilled, though the older one was less so. We took a couple cruises up into the Delta towards Sacramento, about 100 nms each way. Sabrina, the older one, definitely suffered from seasickness. The poor thing was just miserable. The younger cat was a tiny cat and half-feral. One night at our marina she got out. We go outside looking for he and we can hear her yowling. "Boomer" had fallen into the water and crawled up onto the Styrofoam floats that support the dock fingers. I had to pull-up boards to rescue her.

Despite all that, cats are fine. It's the litterbox that is super annoying. I don't watch them often, but caught a Gone with the Wynns episode a few months ago where they adopted their cat to a friend's pet-orphanage in Colorado. Reasoning was many-fold, but mostly they were headed to NZ and felt the quarantine issues would be a deal-killer. Plus the cat was getting old.

I'm a pet lover, but after 25-years of having pets (usually dogs and cats), we decided to go pet-less after Boomer died several years ago. We travel a lot and it just was not a good fit for our lifestyle. I sure miss having a furry fried around though.

Peter
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:36   #10
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Re: Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

The little bruiser will likely do fine
Two cat on boat yarns:
1976 33’ sailboat Key Largo to NYC for the tall ships event-had a neutered male cat “Zoteak” on board. Lazy old timer-he’d never been on a boat and he did fine. After July 4th in the Apple we cruised east down to Maine. We were in Cuttyhunk (if memory serves) and Zoteak took ill and we had to find a vet, on a Sunday aternoon in a little isolated spot. The poor kitty was suffering from kidney stones and the vet saved him by administering a catheter. No fish for neutered male cats.
1986 51’ sailboat and I had a Ragdoll “conch Kitty”. On passages I troll lures and when we’d get a fish on (the clicker on the reel makes a distinct racket as line is taken off) the cat would almost do somersaults to get to where we’d be bringing in the fish. Entertaining for sure.
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:48   #11
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Re: Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

Our 16 year old Tonkinese went from living in a 3500 square foot house in the cold Northwest to a 45 foot RV and now on a 45 foot cat. He is clearly more comfortable on the cat than in the house and that is probably because he is finally warm all the time. When the seas get rough, he finds a place in the forward cabin and sleeps until things smooth out. The engines don't seem to bother him but on a previous sailboat our previous cat would find the coldest, darkest place on the boat and that typically meant on top of the metal fuel tanks.
The current cat has showed no desire to jump off the boat and stays a healthy distance away from the trampolines.
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:49   #12
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Re: Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

we cruised the u.s. east coast and the bahamas with our two cats. they had always been indoor cats. our boat was a csy 37 with the B plan - a very open interior. the large head was up in the bow. we kept a regular litter box in the head but other than that no special arrangements for them.


they did just fine. they rarely went up on deck but i always kept a long handled net in the cockpit just in case. never had an accident.

one caution. bring plenty of kitty litter. DO NOT use beach sand. it contains all kinds of microscopic life forms that could make your boat, and your cats, their new home.

we bought a small compact shop vac, about $30, and the only item on the entire boat that ran on 120v. everything else was 12v. did a great job of keeping the boat clean including any litter that got out of the box.
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:51   #13
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Re: Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

I brought an older Siamese aboard my 38’ sailboat. The flight from the W coast to the E coast took a lot out of her.
She adjusted well; only got seasick once or twice; fell off once while at dock and a neighbor fished her out.
She spent most of her time down below but would prowl the deck at night.
When we were not moving her litter box was kept under the bimini.
She was a great companion!! Slept on my berth.
When caught in a named storm one time a crew member came up from down below to tell me the waves were keeping the cat hovering 2 feet above the bed!!!
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:54   #14
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Re: Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

I've had cats living onboard. One quite old, moved onto boat after living on land her entire life. She was fine with it. Went through an adjustment period as she would have moving to a new house. Kept her locked inside the boat for a couple of weeks like you would moving into a new location and then started letting her out. She was not thrilled with the boat underway and it took her a long time to come out while we were at anchor. Long time as in many times anchoring out. Another cat had no claws (I inherited her this way) had been an inside cat (predators outside, hence no claws) and she LOVED being on my sailboat. Engine freaked her out when it 1st started so I'd have to lock her inside and motor out of the slip. I never could find out where she she hid but it was a safe place for her. She'd throw up 3 times, every time and then she'd be out of the boat and up on the end of the bow pulpit looking down. Slamming into 10' seas? She didn't care. The only times she'd go in that water were when the baitfish were running. She'd try to catch them and slip and fall. 1st time I got her out and used a towel to dry her off. She hated that. Next time she figured out how to get out on her own and jumped onto the neighbors trawler with the flybridge so I couldn't catch her. When she was dry, she'd come home. Moved to another marina and those docks were to high for her to climb onto so she found the dock foam. I'd call, she'd meow and I'd slowly start zeroing on her position because once I got too close, she'd go silent. Remove the dock boards and after she was out,put them back.

Training a cat to use a head. Sounds like an awesome idea until you look at how they have to balance. It's all 4 paws together . Not 2 paws on one side and 2 on the other. I can't see how this would work in a seaway let alone bad weather.

I'm on the fence on getting another cat as I'm leaving to cruise next spring. If I do, I'll get a cat genie. Uses plastic pellets. After the cat has been there it scoops the poop, macerates it and disposes it where you want it to. Then it uses hot water and soap to wash the plastic pellets, rinses them, dries them and voila!. Clean litterbox.
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Old 10-08-2020, 10:00   #15
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Re: Cat Lovers: Moving Kitty Cat onboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mare Nostrum View Post
Hello All Cat lovers,
I have a 14 year-old Siamese that has never even been outside of our land home. I am now seriously thinking about cruising full time and selling my home. I am wondering if anyone on the CF has thoughts and/or suggestions about moving an older feline from land to permanently aboard a sailing vessel? Is adaptation possible?

Many thanks for your much appreciated feedback!

Roberto
s/v Mare Nostrum
Acapulco
Roberto,
You are giving it more thought than the cat will. Show it the food, water and litter box. Cats are extremely adaptable.
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