Saturday, November 2, 2013

Boat Cats and Water

A very secure Jetsam just yesterday...
It was never a matter of "IF" one of our fur babies would end up in the water... It was a matter of "WHEN".

Today was the day!

When Bruce and I first moved onto Dos Libras, we installed lifeline netting to keep the felines on the boat where they belong.  We've had a few "transgressions" in the year since, but for the most part, the kitties know where their cat food is served.

I made a grave error in judgement yesterday when I let the cats join us on the dock while we were sorting gear.  I should never have let them think it was OK to leave the boat.  But I did...

While Bruce and I were having breakfast this morning, both cats were up in the cockpit enjoying the wonderful weather.  Unbeknownst to us, Jetsam had evidently gone under the gate or leapt from the back of the boat, where there is no net, to the dock.  Just then, our neighbor, Dan, came down the dock to offer us the use of his car if we needed it.  

Jetsam tried to jump back aboard by way of the step.  Since the gate was closed, she landed back on the dock.  Then when she saw that Dan was coming closer, she made a mad leap into the net and rebounded into the icky water that is Clear Lake.  Luckily, Dan was there to snatch her quickly out of the water as Bruce and I clambered into the cockpit to see what the ruckus was all about.  

There she is - top center
Dan Handed Jetsam off to me and I set her into the cockpit where she immediately dove for the interior and shot straight to her safe spot in the V-berth.

I spoke to Dan for a few moments then excused myself to go find Jetsam and assess the damage.

Bruce crawled forward and coaxed Jetsam out of her hidey-hole.

Funny thing, I had been trying to decide if it was too cool outside today to give Jetsam a bath.  I read somewhere that boat cats get salt air on their fur, and if they lick it off, they can get too much salt.  I guess the decision to bathe her has been made!

Lucky for me, I have a stock of cat shampoo aboard waiting for just such an event!

Poor Jetsam!  She was really good about it all.  She wailed a little bit but, other than trying to climb the wall, didn't put up much of a fuss.

Poor Widdle Puddy-Tat

She has never been much of a snuggler, but I guess she's making an exception today.  (Just look at that FACE!)

She shivered a little and we went through three towels... Plenty of cuddling... and a little ruffling to get the water off!  I actually think I felt some faint purring between the shivers!

In the end, she was none the worse for wear with no damages except for her pride.  She hid for a little while, then came out and stared at me as if she was trying to figure out where to assign blame...  

Born today is a much wiser Boat Cat.  I just hope the lesson was learned and we won't have to do this again anytime soon.  Oh, and where was Jezabelle during all of this?  Well, as soon as the s&@t hit the fan... she disappeared.  I guess she'll have to figure this one out for herself!


  1. Yep, sounds like an exciting day. Poor baby! What a shock to his poor little anti-water system. Well, I bet he knows what not to do now! Cat's are smart that way. He's got if figured out, so it probably won't happen again.

    1. Yes, she's now spent the rest of the day trying to forget... I HOPE she has learned her lesson, and I hope Jezabelle was watching and taking notes! Thanks for your comments!

  2. Poor kitty! Did you ever find out if she could swim for the few seconds she was in the water? I'm amazed by the number of times my cat has now fallen in the water and climbed back up on her own. As long as it never happens it a place with a strong current, that's my only fear!

    1. Dan said she took off towards the stern but he grabbed her before she got very far. He was afraid she would get into the barnacles under the dock! I doubt there is any way a cat could get back onto our boat but you never know what they can do when they're motivated.

  3. That is one very sad looking cat! I guess it is best it happened in a controlled environment rather than during a passage. Do you keep the cats below when underway?

    We once had a black lab mixed mutt. She loved being at the boat. She also loved to chase the birds on the dock. Too many times we watched her run down the dock after a crane or egret. She was so intensely focused on the bird while running at full speed she would not notice she ran out of dock and would fly off the end or figure. Can’t begin to tell you how many times we fished that dog out of the water. We eventually got her a life jacket with a handle on top. We kept her in it whenever on board. While it embarrassed her amongst her doggy friends, it made it much earlier for use to get her out of the water.

    All the best,

    Mark and Cindy - s/v Cream Puff

    1. They generally stay below when we're under way. Each cat has ventured into the cockpit for a look around, but they don't stay. I don't know if they will get more brave and eventually come out but I have harnesses for them if they do. We wouldn't let them stay up when conditions are rough.

      We had a black lab when I was a kid. She was a poorly trained retriever, poorly trained in that she would not come back unless she had a bird. She would swim until she could hardly breath! I'm hoping that the cats are smarter than the average dog...

      Thanks for your comment!