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Old 07-12-2020, 21:06   #1
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Installing safety netting to prevent cats from falling overboard?

I did a search but didn't find anything on this particular topic- I plan on living aboard a 27' sailboat in the future with two middle-aged cats, and I'm worried about them falling overboard. Would it make sense to install something like this? https://www.amazon.com/Salty-Reef-Ma...a-817027838305

Is cats falling overboard usually even a problem? I read in an older thread that it rarely happens again after the first time since they learn to be careful, but my cats are pretty rambunctious and like to wrestle a lot. I'd like to think they're smart enough not to participate in such activities on deck, but I'd be crushed if I ever lost one of them.

Any other general advice y'all can give regarding cat safety on board? I'll definitely be investing in a pool net of some sort to fish them out if needed, and am also trying to think about installing something that would allow them to climb aboard from the water.

Thanks for looking!
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Old 07-12-2020, 22:26   #2
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Re: Installing safety netting to prevent cats from falling overboard?

I don't have a cat but have met many many cruisers that have, and netting is more of a hindrance than help. If they go overboard underway it is very hard to recorver because they are hard to see, so a leash would be more efficient to keep them in the cockpit.

I assume you did not use the custom Google search under the "search" option.
Try that, use "cat overboard" you'll get several returns, catamarans notwithstanding.
You'll get several posts on keeping cats onboard and also tricks to help them climb back on, such as an old thick rope with nots hanging from the lowest point on the boat.
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Old 07-12-2020, 22:28   #3
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Re: Installing safety netting to prevent cats from falling overboard?

We lost a kitten off our boat while at anchor. We went ashore and the kitten was gone when we came back. The cat had lived on the boat for a couple of months after we got her just weaned. We were in a narrow channel between shore and an Island so cat may have swam for it. Hung around for a couple of days but so no sign of the cat.

The next cat was an adult when we got him but he adapted to the cruising life. After our first experience always hung a piece of carpet over the side at anchor for it to climb up if it went overboard. No evidence that the cat fell overboard on its own but we did toss the cat in a couple of times so it would learn to use the carpet to get back on board if necessary. For some reason didn't appreciate the practice sessions.
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Old 08-12-2020, 00:30   #4
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Re: Installing safety netting to prevent cats from falling overboard?

Had a short stay at a Marina once. While there, my cat always overestimated his jumping abilities or underestimated his distance to the dock. He never learned, but never stopped trying.
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Old 08-12-2020, 00:56   #5
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Re: Installing safety netting to prevent cats from falling overboard?

The netting will not stop the cat from falling in. At least if it’s like my cat. My cat fell in once and only once. He learned a pretty hard lesson that day. He learned to be careful around the edge of the boat. They don’t fall in by mistake. They are very sure footed animals for the most part. He fell in because he was screwing around trying to climb up on the bow pulpit and do something up there and slipped in from there. They won’t slip in from walking around the deck level in my experience. In fact, I might say that the netting will make it more likely for the cat to fall in because it will give the cat something to climb on.

They will, however, make very stupid jumps from the dinghy to the boat, boat to the dock, then fall in that way as well.
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Old 08-12-2020, 04:51   #6
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Re: Installing safety netting to prevent cats from falling overboard?

We had netting for dog and cat, cat went overboard once at anchor but never again. Animals like people are individuals and some are more likely repeat overboard most are smarter after one swim. Installing netting takes time and our dog would always use the side with the netting, the cat didn't.
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:33   #7
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Re: Installing safety netting to prevent cats from falling overboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aDemilich View Post
I did a search but didn't find anything on this particular topic- I plan on living aboard a 27' sailboat in the future with two middle-aged cats, and I'm worried about them falling overboard. Would it make sense to install something like this? https://www.amazon.com/Salty-Reef-Ma...a-817027838305

Is cats falling overboard usually even a problem? I read in an older thread that it rarely happens again after the first time since they learn to be careful, but my cats are pretty rambunctious and like to wrestle a lot. I'd like to think they're smart enough not to participate in such activities on deck, but I'd be crushed if I ever lost one of them.

Any other general advice y'all can give regarding cat safety on board? I'll definitely be investing in a pool net of some sort to fish them out if needed, and am also trying to think about installing something that would allow them to climb aboard from the water.

Thanks for looking!
We have never lived aboard, but we frequently have taken our two Birman cats to sea as coastal cruisers. When under way they happily ensconce themselves under the dodger on either side of the companionway or sleep in their cozy mat in the saloon. The only precaution we have ever taken with them is to hang a piece of two and a half inch hemp rope off the back of our sugar scoop stern in case they went overboard at night while at anchor so they could haul themselves back up. They generally aren't active in the rougher weather and snooze.

On one occasion our boy was up on the canvas bimini top, (we like to tease him by running a finger under his belly while he's up there, but you have to be quick to miss the claws) and a sudden gust threw the boat over to the side and we saw him sliding across the bimini top towards the edge. It surprised us that his claws didn't immediately come into play but he must have been asleep. However he got a grip before disaster took hold! Coming into a marina berth we like to keep them below because they want to explore as soon as they know we are coming in and are likely to jump ship while still coming to a halt and could get jammed between jetty and ship or just trip us up while we organize lines.

At anchor every day we ask if they want to go "dig, dig" on the shore and as soon as they hear those words they leap up the companionway and wait for the dinghy to be brought up close.

When we get to shore they sometimes jump a little prematurely and end up getting a footbath which is hilarious because at each step they lift a foot and shake it carefully before putting it back in the water only to repeat the process on every other foot.

Getting to shore is sometimes a slow processs but we get lots of laughs in the meantime.
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:56   #8
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Re: Installing safety netting to prevent cats from falling overboard?

Good luck! At anchor, hang a carpet over the side; but beware. Throwing cats overboard....for training purposes...make a hilarious show for others in the anchorage. Btw The same cat would, sometimes, swim over to our boat when her owners visited us. Cats are bewildering. Lol
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Old 08-12-2020, 17:35   #9
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Re: Installing safety netting to prevent cats from falling overboard?

Thanks for the advice and anecdotes, everyone. I'm honestly a bit glad the consensus is that netting won't help, because it looks pretty ugly to me. I will most certainly hang some carpet over the side for them to climb, and if I can bring myself to do it, will try throwing them in as a test.
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Old 10-12-2020, 20:03   #10
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Re: Installing safety netting to prevent cats from falling overboard?

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Originally Posted by aDemilich View Post
Thanks for the advice and anecdotes, everyone. I'm honestly a bit glad the consensus is that netting won't help, because it looks pretty ugly to me. I will most certainly hang some carpet over the side for them to climb, and if I can bring myself to do it, will try throwing them in as a test.
Video please!

Also, thanks for the thread, getting ready for my own first bigger boat and long time cat owner/servant.
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