Sunday, June 17, 2012

Test Week With Cats

Our Master Plan to move aboard Dos Libras currently includes bringing our two cats to live aboard.  We have had many people weigh in from friends to blogs I follow... and the end result is that we will just have to see if our cats can adjust.  I had a vacation week tacked onto the end of the Rockport Music Festival weekend and with all the boat projects still undone, we decided to bring the cats out to see how they would do.  The look on Jetsam's face kind of sums up her opinion of boat life...

She spent the first half day hiding under the galley stove.  When I got busy cleaning out and reorganizing the galley cabinets, she darted to the v-berth and proceeded to hide there between the mattress and the anchor locker.  Jezabelle spent some time in the v-berth as well, but she is naturally more curious.  She soon came out of hiding and explored the whole boat.

We soon fell into a pattern similar to that we have at home.  Mornings and evenings, the cats liven up and spend time with us.  Much of Jetsam's day is spent hiding in the closet or some other close space, while Jezabelle will rouse herself to follow us around when we are home.  She loves to be with us and "help" in whatever project we have going on.

Jezabelle showed a surprising interest in engine repair and maintenance.  Bruce opened the aft engine access panel so that he could check some things out and she was eager to do what she could to help.  I had a passing concern that she would go down into the bowels of the boat and nevermore be seen, but we learned that we could count on her need to be with us to bring her out into the light of day once again.  The only damage done was a little spot of engine oil on the back of her neck. 

Mornings assumed the same routine with Cat Breakfast being the first and most important duty.  After eating, Jetsam retired to her hiding place and Bruce and I took Leila into the cockpit to enjoy the sunrise and our coffee while Jezabelle considers her options.  Leila has adapted nicely to boating life. 

She hops around on the deck and watches all of the goings-on in the marina.  These same goings-on are what keeps Jezabelle from overcoming her fears.  She really wants to be out there with us, but just can't bring herself to stay...

We gave up on coaxing Jezzer out.  Each day it was the same, she would poke her nose out... step out... take a look around... then some sudden sound would send her scurrying back to the v-berth.  Oh well, she needs her beauty sleep anyway. 

She always came out to help with projects, even those as uninteresting as my journaling.  I think she was just so happy to be with us, she was willing to put up with nearly anything.  I'm pretty sure that both cats were familiar enough with the boat smells we brought home with us each visit on our laundry, that it wasn't a completely foreign place to them.

The days passed and we further developed our patterns.  Jetsam began to come out in the early evenings and sit with us or just enjoy some quiet time as things calmed down in the marina. 

We were very encouraged by the end of the week, when we were working on our last project... the AC ducts and blower motor replacement, when BOTH cats pitched in to help.  Bruce made all kinds of un-catfriendly noises on this project... but nobody ran for the hills.  This is such an exciting breakthrough in my opinion.  I think the girls are going to survive. 

Unfortunately, my plan to continue on through the next workweek were postponed as Bruce had to do security rounds for our townhome community each night, so we had to pack up our cats and go home.  Thankfully, there was no repeat of the carsickness we experienced on the trip out and we all got home clean and happy.

Maybe next trip out, we'll take the cats sailing!