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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking of taking my cat on board and would love to hear your experiences. Do cats fall over board? This is my biggest fear......

I'm interested in other comments, too, so bring em on.

Thanks
 

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Nope, no cat has ever fallen over board...cats are actually invincible to falling over. ;)
Have a piece of carpet you can hang over the side that way if they do go over, they can get back on. Many people have posted about their cats, you may want to do a search.
 

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Yes, cats can fall overboard. A piece of heavy rope or carpet hanging over the side will allow a cat to climb back aboard while at anchor, on a mooring or in a slip, provided the cat has not been declawed.
 

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Cats are part of the vermin control program you have for your boat... Thus necessary to be on board. Yes they need those claws to catch the vermin.
 

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I recall that some superstitious (meaning most) sailors, would refuse to sail on a ship that didn't have at least one cat.

So you're in good company. Claws are good.
 

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Gooday fellas,
Our cat (Minke)spent the first 4 years of life, never stepping off the boat except a trip to the vet. Even in a marina, she never hopped off.

She would walk on the pushpit rail, whilst sailing, climb the main sheet while it hung over the side of the boat. She almost became breakfast to a pair of nearby sea eagles, but we never lost her (yet). Best company on a boat. Great weather forecaster/ anchor drag announcer, chart, carpet, cushion and owners hand shredder. Fastidiously clean. In rough weather we would harness her with a short tether so she couldnt fall over.

Her first boyfriend (scrappy) wandered in marinas but never fell over. No.2 boyfriend fell off twice at anchor and scrambled back up a 20mm line they kept for this reason. A german cat (meouwed with gutteral accent, like its owners!)apparently used to fish from the duckboard and came into the cabin wet twice. He must have been a fast swimmer.

In response to Woulda shoulda - I think Cats honestly think they are Pirates and we are their crew.
 

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My boat has three cats on it... ;) one right next to the name of the boat on each ama and one on the transom.
 

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I reccomend this method

You will need:

1. a cat

2. a piece of buttered toast

Everyone knows, a cat always lands on it's feet. Everyone also knows that a dropped piece of toast will always land butter side down. Therefore, if one were to attach a piece of toast to the back of a cat such that the buttered side and foot side of the amalgamation were opposite, the opposing forces would result in a powerful antigrav field. See attached illustration below:

 

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We take our cat, Maximum, on our sailing trips, and of course, he likes to hang out at the marina. He's an indoor cat who's allowed outside only on his leash (connected to his harness).

The leash is a total pain in the butt on a sailboat...I don't have to tell you how many things there are for him to get caught on. The use of a spring-retractable leash helps a little to reduce hang-ups.

Still, when underway, he's always on his leash. We're very attached to our cat, and would NEVER want to be out sailing and suddenly wonder, where's Max?!?!

Cuz yes, a cat can fall off a boat. Max fell into the water once in the slip. He had his harness and leash on, so all I had to do is reach over and grab his harness to retrieve him. I can tell you the look on his face was priceless as he was looking up at me, back paws flailing in the water...anticipation and great relief lol.

There are lifejackets for pets, but I'm not convinced that they are designed in such a way that they'll keep the pet's head out of the water, as the flotation material tends to be positioned on their back. Even a brightly colored lifejacket would make a small visual target out in the waves.

Oh, by the way... you'd like to think your expensive boat with all the spit, polish and care you put into it would cause a few heads to turn in appreciation as you're cruising into port, with you nonchalant at the helm. Wrong! To REALLY get attention all you need is a 100 dollar siamese cat sitting squarely and alertly in the middle of the cabin top (Max always rousts himself from his nap as we're approaching port and posts himself for the best sights and smells). Waaay to cute. Heads turn and fingers point.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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You will need:

1. a cat

2. a piece of buttered toast

Everyone knows, a cat always lands on it's feet. Everyone also knows that a dropped piece of toast will always land butter side down. Therefore, if one were to attach a piece of toast to the back of a cat such that the buttered side and foot side of the amalgamation were opposite, the opposing forces would result in a powerful antigrav field. See attached illustration below:

My sister has a cat that looks a lot like this one.
This is too funny! I wonder if the cat's self righting force would overcome the buttered toast face first force?
 

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Yes, cats have been lost at sea. A cat will go where a cat wants to go, and kitty brains aren't smart enough to know that "Master says not to go there" means going overboard and dying.
 

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I spent 7 years cruising with cats, one of which had no brain - just a random number generator hence the name Rumba. She was one nutty cat.

She went overboard when we were at anchor on average about once a fortnight, usually as a result of a mad 1/2 hour dash which finished up 2 feet from the transom with the little light bulb above her head coming on - Oh Oh .

I ALWAYS had a piece of netting hanging over the side of the big boat and if the dinghy was in the water a piece over the pointed rear of the tube. She climbed back on her own if I did not get to her and lift her out first.

However she also went over twice on passage, we were really lucky to get her back then.

Most young cats [ kittens ] seem to adapt really well to boat life say 90%

Some older cats hate it and may never appear above deck on passage. Rumba often spent part of the passage sitting on the boom esp. if it was reefed and she had a nice soft curve to lie in. Yes our pre tack check included Tack the cat ??
 

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Cats are actually from outer space. They got here by buttering their own backs and dropping each other in a cold bath tub... After that they accelerated to the speed of light and landed on earth.
 

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I have had my Siamese/Himalayan cat "Demon" on board for 7 years. I installed a pet door in a portlight and she had free roam of our end of the marina dock. To my knowledge she went in the water about once a year, though I'd work 24hr shifts and she may have gone in much more often. Cats are actually quite good swimmers and she never had a problem clawing her way back onto the wooden dock.

Once I was asleep onboard and heard a thump against the hull, as screech from a blue herron, and a splash. I lept out of bed and the wet cat was already out of the water, up on the dock, on the boat, through the cat door, and in the middle of the salon. She was soaked except for the top of her head.

Her favorite games at anchor are acrobatic ones, preferably over the water. She loves walking out to the end of the boom over the water, getting in the dingy on davits, sitting on the lifesling, and climbing the mizzen mainsheet.

Because of this, when we are at anchor we hang netting or an old towel overboard to the waterline. I once took her in the dingy and attached her to it at the waterline to show it to her. She climbed up smartly, and yes, I got shredded for my efforts. We keep an eye or an ear out for a splash during the day and keep her inside most nights at anchor. (BTW a long handled fish net works great for cat retrieval though I've never had to us it)

When sailing she often comes out and visits on warm light air days. She's not fond of wind or cold and thus stays below when things get even slightly squirly. Once in a great while she comes out when things are nasty but then we just toss her below and shut the hatch.

I agree also that a cat attracts more friends, comments, and conversation than any amount of brass and brightwork. We even had people from a very small cruise ship bring us a basket of fresh food and wine just so that they could visit the kitten.

Said cat is priceless when a mouse climbs up your docklines as happened to us at Princess Louisa Inlet in BC.

MedSailor
 
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