How has having a cat changed your boating life?
No, this is not another catamaran vs. monohull debate. Recently we were asked by one of our readers, Chris, to address the question “How has having a cat (feline – not multihull) changed your boating life?” Specifically he wanted to know:
- Do you feel that you have the same freedom to spend time at shore?
- Do you leave your hatches open for ventilation?
- What if you go a place that you want to explore and it takes more than a day to do so?
- What if you need to fly home?
Considering that we’ve only had our feline crew member with us since mid-June, it may be a bit premature to address the long-term implications of having a cat on board. The above questions seem simple enough though so I’ll take stab at answering them.
- Q: Do you feel that you have the same freedom to spend time at shore?
Yes. In fact, considering that our cat sleeps the entire day, we never even really consider her when making shoreside plans.
- Q: Do you leave your hatches open for ventilation?
Yes, we do. This is a change from before we had the cat because, regardless of how safe we felt an area was, we always dogged the hatches closed and locked the door. Now, because our cat’s litter box is outside in the cockpit (protected from the elements by our dodger and bimini), we do have to leave at least one hatch open. This is not so much for ventilation but rather to give her a way to get inside or outside of the boat. Is this a security issue? Well, conceivably, if someone was so bold as to board our boat and go snooping around, they could crawl inside the boat via that hatch. Our thinking is that if they were so bold as to try that, they could easily access the boat through some other more-forceful method too.
- Q: What if you go a place that you want to explore and it takes more than a day to do so?
Other than our spending the night on the beach in Barbuda, this has yet to occur. We had a cat when we lived on land too though and on the occasions when we’d be gone for a day or so, we just left a large bowl of food and water available. Cats are pretty self-reliant.
- Q: What if you need to fly home?
I guess in this situation we would need to find a friend to look after her. That is what our other cruising friends do with their pets when they leave the boat.
Some questions that Chris didn’t ask:
- Q: Where do you get cat food?
They sell it at all the stores.
- Q: Where do you get cat litter?
This is a bit harder to come by as I suspect that many of the local’s cats just go outside. They do sell litter here in Grenada at the larger grocery stores though.
- Q: Does your cat scratch up the boat?
Did you notice the sexy pink claws in the above pics? Samantha is a user of Soft Claws. They prevent her from doing any damage with her sharp little appendages.
- Q: What if she falls overboard?
When we adopted her, we were told by her previous owners that she had fallen of their catamaran on a couple of occasions. They also told us that she was able to make her way back on board via their boat’s transom steps. She has not fallen off our boat nor have we tossed her in to test this theory. When we are underway we keep her locked inside her cabin (yes, she has her own cabin). When we make a longer passage this may need to be modified but it has worked for us so far.