While anchored at St. Croix, a friend asked me to babysit her cat for a couple of weeks while she was off island. When I first took Kiki out in her carrier to my sloop, she ran around the deck and then promptly hid herself behind a sailbag and wouldn't come out for hours. She had previously lived aboard a trawler on a sea wall and could go ashore at will. When she finally came out, she took a look over the cockpit coaming at the water all around and yowled mournfully and I thought that this was going to be very hard on her. Within a couple of days, Kiki settled into a routine of enjoying herself, playing on deck and climbing up the rolled up headsail. My dodger and bimini are at the end of their service life (UV rot) and I decided to discourage her from going on them by squirting her with water. That worked and when my friend returned it seemed that she was not anxious to take Kiki back and so it was left undecided what would be in her future. I was worried about losing her while sailing but during the first couple of daysails that I took, she climbed onto a shelf behind the radios and stayed put, not venturing into possible danger, and so I decided that she could stay.
One night, I heard more noise out of the anchor rode than conditions called for and went on deck to investigate and found a soaking wet Kiki wandering back from the bow, grabbed her, rinsed her off and all was well. Another time, I was tossing a toy on a string and Kiki jumped on a piece of foam & fabric covered lifeline chasing the toy, found herself upside down and falling, managed to grab the tail of the jibsheet with one claw and held on as I raised her back up...another time a pelican went swooping by very close and Kiki wiggled into attack position and launched herself across the stern and splash - swim. I have kept a towel tied from a stanchion in the water for her to climb back aboard with, but not waited for her to find it when I could offer her a line.
When I finally took her on a passage, she was fascinated by the big seas around us and safely stayed in the cockpit. When conditions moderated, she would want to venture on deck, but underway I strongly discouraged that and she seemed to listen.
As a singlehander, Kiki's wonderful companionship. I felt a bit guilty about keeping her cooped up on a 37' sloop, where previously she'd had roaming ability, but she seems happy aboard and last time I had her ashore, she jumped out of the dinghy too soon anxious to get back to the home.