Tips for Cruising With Cats - SailNet Community
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Tips for Cruising With Cats

Introduce your cat to the water before he accidentally falls in. Although he or she won't need lessons to know how to swim (they all swim naturally), he may be more comfortable when he knows he can pull himself out of the water himself via a cat self-rescue system.

∑ Rig up some kind of self-rescue system that will allow your cat to climb out of the water and back onboard himself.. In light, or no current anchorages, a coiled line hanging over the side and reaching into the water will suffice. If you encounter stronger current situations, try our trailing self-rescue system as described in the article.

∑ Keep a fish-retrieval net handy (with a pole that is long enough to reach into the water from your highest deck) for potential rescues underway.

∑ If you're not comfortable letter your pet run free, life jackets for cats and dogs are available. If we were to start over, we would work harder at making our cats comfortable with the harnesses so that we could tether them in. In fact, after writing this, we're going to try them in harnesses again so that we are more comfortable with them offshore.

∑ For a litter box use a small piece of Astroturf type grass, cut to fit inside your regular litter box. Attach one corner of the mat with line to the box in order to keep the two pieces together when dunking overboard. Attach another, longer piece of line to the box to allow dunking and soaking, overboard. If your cat is used to real litter, you may want to try sprinkling a bit of litter on top of the Astroturf to begin with, but you'll soon be able to eliminate this.

∑ Glue down inside another plastic box your cat's food and water bowls (a cat litter box works well here also). This will help contain spills when underway.

∑ Your cat needs some kind of scratching post. We use multiple pieces of corrugated cardboard that is glued together so that the cut edges are up. This is placed in a rectangular box. Then sprinkle with a bit of cat nip. (You can buy commercial versions of this in pet stores.) It works great and our cats both use it regularly.

∑ Best play toy on the boat is just a balled-up piece of aluminum foil.

∑ Most cats like to curl up inside a cubbyhole or box of some kind. Many boats have natural spots in the cockpit for this. If you don't have one, the addition of a small box for this purpose will be much appreciated by your pet, and it will likely become his favorite spot.

Sue & Larry is offline  

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