I think it is one of those lost arts called Seamanship. You can buy a boat and all the toys but seamanship only comes from learning and experience. It is not something you can buy. I would not even dream of leaving the boat sailing un-attended. That is just plain stupid. Then again seem to be a lot of people on the water these days who think a wallet or CC card can substitute for seamanship. I have a few more things on the subject on our blog at sailvega | 118 year old sailing vessel for humanitarian relief
you might find interesting. In any case telling the fellow with his new cat that he needs to learn a bit before setting out would just not work... on the other hand maybe Darwin was right after all and that is what cats are for, says he laughing.