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Old 02-14-2006, 04:39 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Default Sailing with cats?

i am possibly planning an 8-12 month cruise to the Caribbean in the next year. However, the newest addition to our family, two (almost one year old) cats (Turks and Caicos) are one of the parts we aren't sure about.

Has anyone had experience with cats onboard? I have read numerous articles declaring them much better boat pets than dogs, which i would have to agree with. They are a pain in the butt in my house, much less a small boat, but i can't bare the thought of leaving them... Any thoughts?

Obviously, there are lots o negative sides to this, and i realize that, which is what makes this a difficult decision. What i am looking for is some sucess stories, if possible?? Or horror stories?

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Old 02-15-2006, 02:15 AM   #2
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Hi Lacey.

Cats are actually pretty easy, it's the litter box, scratching post and having a fish net readily available at anytime to rescue them that gets tricky.

My cat lived with me for a year on my boat and the litter box was number one issue. You need an enclosed box, one of those house type things with an opening in the front and you'll want to compliment it with a piece of carpet in front of the opening to hold onto the litter that sticks to their pads when they hop out. ( I hate sweeping up the floor after he gets done and worse, I hate that stuff sticking to my own bare feet)

Scratch post is next issue if the cat isn't declawed like mine. The best solution I found and has worked like a charm is one of those 'Cosmic Cat Scratch boxes'.. Basically a bunch of corrugated cardboard glued together and comes with a bag of catnip. Open the thing up, sprinkle the stuff in there and voilla. Your cushions, wood trim and any other victim is safe from damage.

Dodger.... The instant they hop up on your dodger (assuming you have one), make sure you break that habit with vengeance. DO NOT LET THEM DO THAT! I can't stress enough about that. They get cozy and fall off sometimes and if they aren't de-clawed, you'll either end up with new ventilation holes over time or badly pitted windows, or worse yet, overboard.

Also, check into the countries that you will be going to and get the proper forms because most of the time they require these forms to be mailed to them well in advance of your arrival, so you'll most likely have to jump through hoops and go through your vet a few more times for shots and/or updates.

Do they get sea-sick? Dunno but I'm sure some cats do. Mine doesn't so i can't offer anything there.

Hope that helps some.


sv Serendipity
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:30 AM   #3
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Oh yeah. Cats can get seasick.

We have 2 Siamese mix cats that are a year old. On moderately lumpy crossings to Catalina, one of them will hurl. Not sure which one, but they are both unhappy.

It's not a big deal as they aren't big cats. One "urp" and it's over. It generally happens on the sole as these cats are pretty neat and don't want to do that where they live. Don't know what would happen on a long passage.

Here's a suggestion. Take your cat(s) out on daysails, short cruises, actually anytime you're on the boat. I suspect that the more often they're aboard, the more they'll get used to it.

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Old 02-26-2006, 05:03 PM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2006
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[quote]Originally posted by rlucas53


We have two v elderly cats who moved on board with us three years ago. They seriously get seasick. The best solution is a quarter tab of valium and plastic backed blankets on the bunks. Both of them have various ailments so we (sadly) don't expect them to cross Biscay with us this summer.

Litter tray with a cover is absolutely right. Also experiment with different litters to find the right one for you. We use City Cat which is crystals (don't know what it is marketted as outside the UK). As a scratch post we put a v cheap carpet tile on the edge of the engine box at the bottom of the companionway. This has worked a treat.
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Old 02-27-2006, 01:55 PM   #5
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We have been sailing with a deaf cat for the past three years. We have a good litter box with a lockable lid when needed. We have put netting around the rails so the cat cannot fall overboard and an area where he can be locked in when we need to dock for fuel. A cardboard box is used for scratching and this is easily disposed of and replaced when needed. My cat never gets seasick. He doesn't eat fish either fresh or cooked but loves prawns, seems to have expensive tastebuds.
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:17 PM   #6
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We have cruised with cats with no problems. We also have friends who live aboard with their cat and have for yeats. They keep a rug overboard when anchored and have taught their cat how to get back on board by climbing up the rug.

Cats when they go into a REM (dreaming) state lose all tone in their neck and will fall on their side or off any type of pedestal, so they end up overboard.
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Old 02-12-2007, 11:11 AM   #7
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Have cruised with cats on a few different boats. Most do well, but a few do get seasick - some never seem to get over it. None of them ever seemed to like the sound of the engine running either - most would go to the furthest corner of the boat to get away from the sound.

One hint to get away from the kitty litter problem: get three old towels cut to approximately the size of the litter box. Rotate through the towels daily keeping one in the litter box, one soaking in detergent/soapy water, and one drying. The cats seem happy enough to use the litter box with the towel in it, and it eliminates the kitty litter.
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Old 02-13-2007, 09:42 AM   #8
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We were in the same dilema just last month and decided to take Simba our two year old Maine Coon cat with us cruising on our sailboat. So far it has been great. He is a good distraction and he is very content. We gave him the forward head and any other surface he cares to sleep on. He is cautious by nature and has not fallen overboard (yet). We keep a net handy at all times. He is adjusting to things and for the most part stays below unless at anchor at night.

Fair Winds

Michael and Robin
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Old 02-16-2007, 09:33 AM   #9
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So does anyone actually sail with a Dog on board ?

Catherine Carr
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Old 02-21-2007, 01:28 AM   #10
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Hi there,

I'm wondering if you know where I can find some info about which countries/islands allow entering with cats on board? And what documents might be needed, or vaccinations? Great thanks for help.
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Old 02-22-2007, 06:04 PM   #11
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Yes, people sail with dogs. And cats. However, neither animal is welcome in the South Pacific, and thus it is kinder to leave them home if you plan to go into the S. Pacific.

Check with Noonsite: www.noonsite.com about restrictions/rules/regulations for pets.
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Old 03-02-2007, 08:39 PM   #12
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Yes, cat's are great at sea, but not necessarily when it's rough. Lava, my cat, usually gets sick as a (pardon this) dog during heavy weather, but is at ease in port. When I lived in Catalina, he even knew our boat over any of the others. I'd use the water taxi to get back, and as soon as we got near the Hard Knots, Lava would leap to her deck. Three times, he misjudged the distance and landed in the drink to the irritation of the shore boat captain who had to fish him out. Lava also participated in Cat Over Board drills, which I normally did while cleaning the waterline, I'd simply pull him in the water as he peered down at me from the safety of the deck. Each drill he passed by swimming to the stern of the boat and climbing up the steel swim ladder.. His revenge was he'd immediatly go dry himself in my bed.


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Old 07-29-2016, 12:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by catherine@brittany-gites. View Post
So does anyone actually sail with a Dog on board ?
Sailing with a Dog? More like extreme sports than cruising. See Catamaran Dogamaran in South Australia. Now that Chloe has gone to Heaven I'm going to try it with MinMin the Russian Blue feline - wish us luck!
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Old 07-30-2016, 04:01 AM   #14
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