Someone recently asked for advice for how to train cats to live aboard. I’m not sure you can train them, but they will figure it out. We have lived aboard for 2 years, we had 4 cats (due to the fact that our kids didn’t/couldn’t take them when they moved out) and are now down to 3 cats (1 passed last fall). Anyway, I digress. They were indoor cats only before we moved onto the boat. When we first bought our boat and moved aboard, we didn’t have a dinghy, so we had to be at the dock. We let them roam until we got yelled at, because our 17 lb’er decided to wander into someone’s boat to check and make sure he was still alive. He was at that moment, but also felt like he had been thwacked with a defibrillator, he was not happy and reported us to the dock master who proceeded to ask us to lock them up over night. They weren’t too mischievous during the heat of the day but early morning and sun down, they began to get curious. Okay, so we got our dinghy fixed and unless it’s raining they have free reign, inside and out. We keep their litter box on the bowsprit, which they LOVE and bring it in when it rains. I’d say they are happier creatures living aboard at anchor. Our cats have only taken a bath in the salty water 3 times, let me explain.
Peanutters, he was our oldest, the one that passed last fall, he was the first. We had lifeline netting all the way around the boat and were at the dock. The sun was going down. We were chatting with some friends a few finger piers down and all of a sudden, we hear the sound of something splashing into the water, we turned around and Peanut was on the outside of the lifeline netting, trying to get back into the boat, soaking wet! We are not sure what happened, we had to go pry him off the netting and give him a fresh water bath. He was fine and after that moment, he never went swimming again.
Sketchball, she is our youngest, and a calico. We were in Harbortown Marina in Merritt Island, FL. We had just checked out and were on our way back to the boat with our dog (yes, we have a dog too, her name is Sasha). We got to this finger pier and she started to sniff and whine at the end of it. We were like come on Sasha, what are you whining for, and then we heard sketchy cry. Sketchy (as we so lovingly call her) was crying from below the pier, well, what the heck? We looked through the cracks and into the water and saw her reflection. Wherever she had gotten in, she had found a way to climb up underneath the finger pier onto a deck beam and we could see her soaking wet body. Syd, being the smart man that he is had me go and get the drill, cause the decking had phillip head screws. I grabbed a towel too and we got her out and rinsed her off and set her on the deck of the boat to lick herself dry.
Dusty, he is our 17 lb kitty. He is a trouble maker, loves to make sure people are breathing overnight, and has been known to sit on windows until the people inside wake up and then wanders off, just making sure they are still breathing. Anyway, he also went in while on the docks at Harbortown Marina. After rescuing sketchy, we did a head count and found he was missing. We started wandering around the dock with a treat can, cause he loves to eat and calling his name. We found him on a sailboat about 4 slips down on the left side of the dock. Syd called him and Dusty continued to ignore him as most cats do… Syd climbed aboard, and was trying to get him to come to me on the finger pier, well, Dusty was having none of that, so he decided to be clever and jump from the cockpit to the dock. Whooooopss! Bad call. He hit a rope and spun around it and fell splash into the water, so much for being clever. We were approaching low tide and the docks were not floating docks, so we were about 4-5 feet above the water at that particular moment. I had to sit on Syd’s legs while he grabbed at Dusty and got him back onto the pier. He was not happy, but we were glad they were all okay. Here are a few photo’s of our adventure at Harbortown Marina.
Princess, is the only one who has never gone swimming, (knock on wood), and hopefully she never will!