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  #1  
Old 02-16-2012
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What to do with cat and dog

My wife and I are starting an extended cruise traveling the ICW and will be bringing our cat and dog. We are just curious what everyone does with them when they are away from the boat?

If we decide to walk around a city without the dog and cat, we do not have A/C, do you leave them below with a hatch open and fans going? In the cockpit? My wife is concerned the boat might sink while we are away and is worried about leaving them.

Just trying to figure out the last few details before we set off in a few weeks. Wondering how you all handle it?

Not taking the pets on the cruise is not an option we will consider.
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Old 02-16-2012
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We cruise with our two cats. We leave 'em in the cabin with a screen in the companionway and hatches open. Food and water available to them.

Boat's going to sink and they'll be trapped? Nah. C'mon. Leave them at home and the house could burn.

We follow the same protocol whether we're at a slip or on the hook. In theory, they could run loose on the boat when we're on the hook, but sooner or later one's going to fall off.
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Old 02-16-2012
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I wasn't sure about the boat sinking comment, either! I'd think the real issue is how well the dog behaves when left alone in a confined space. If the dog kennels easily, and doesn't go nuts, I'd do that. That'll give you some peace of mind about he/she getting into things when you're gone. We could never do that with our girls (two Queensland heelers, who'd make quick devastation of all things in a small cabin in less than an hour), but that's also one of the reasons we don't buy a boat and move aboard now. I think it depends on the breed, or maybe whether or not you're able to find places to doggy sit ashore.
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Old 02-16-2012
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I agree a house can always burn down, stuff happens no matter where you are. The boat sinking is just a fear that she has. She figures if something like that is going to happen it will happen while we are away and they will be trapped inside.

The dog is a chocolate lab and while he is very active when he is at the park, he is extremely lazy when he has his energy out. He has been deemed the worlds laziest dog by many people so I'm not concerned with him tearing anything up.

I appreciate all of your comments and ideas and hope for more to put her mind at ease. Thanks Guys!
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Old 02-16-2012
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Wild,

We've completed the Loop with our dog and cat -- no major issues, and your animals are probably a lot better behaved than ours.

Securing them below decks when you are away is the way to go. If, as you say, the dog only plays at play time then I think you'll be fine. If you leave them on deck, then undoubtedly the cat's gonna go explore somebody else's boat and passersby will get your dog fat in no time.

Unsolicited Advice Column: If you haven't yet done so, do everything you can to teach the dog to pee/poop at some designated place on deck for those instances when you simply cannot get him ashore. Trust me on this one -- it'll save you a lot of heartache at some point in the future.
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Old 02-27-2012
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I used to keep a kitty door in one of my portlights open at all times. Now, when I go away from the boat at anchor, kitty gets locked below. It's never hot enough here to worry about cooking kitty, but if you're worried about that, just keep the center hatch open. Heat rises and it'll never get too hot.

The bigger problems than sinking are them falling overboard. My cat used to go overboard about once a year or so at the slip. Even with a towel hung over the side into the water (which I have done) I'm not sure she'd find it and get back on. If the dog goes over, he can't get back on, period.

The other problem for kitty or a very small dog is bald eagles. Where I live they take people's cats pretty frequently during hatchling season.

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Old 02-28-2012
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I had a 'crimsafe' washboard made with a cat-flap



Whilst on passage, cat was harnessed and tethered



Cat grew up on boat
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Old 02-28-2012
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I have always let XO wander freely on deck when at anchor. Hang a rug or beach towel overboard so if your cat falls overboard he can climb back up (assuming he has claws.) On the other hand he is always in a harness and leash if on deck at the dock to keep him from going exploring and getting lost. You can purchase netting to rig on the lifelines but unless the weather gets pretty bad you most likely will not have a pet overboard problem.

The only people who I know who have had a pet go overboard was when their dog decided to chase some ducks. It was pretty funny because the fat little thing is about as passive as a dog can be. Did I point out that this was at o'dawn thirty when they were trying to get under a bridge before the 1 1/2 hour early morning rush hour close? No, they didn't make the bridge.
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