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Old 03-28-2008, 04:56 PM   #1
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Thumbs down Traveling With Cats?

Hi, my husband and I will be retiring and sailing the Caribbean.

Have done on research on docking with pets in the islands

and customs. Will have all certifications and international certificates.

Concerned about the kitties falling overboard - which we are

attempting to plan for. Spoke to one couple who told us

they drag a piece of carpet behind the boat.

Has anyone traveled with cats?

Thanks

Sara "windlass"

mrsgoodcash AT gmail.com

(706) 955-4778
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Old 03-28-2008, 05:32 PM   #2
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Dragging a piece of carpet behind the boat will work only when you are at anchor, and if the cat has been trained to look for it and grab onto it. Even at 2 knots the boat is going too fast for the cat to catch up to the boat if he falls overboard while underway.

I read in one of the sailing/cruising magazines about a boat's cat that fell overboard at night on a passage, and although the owners turned around to search for the cat, it couldn't be found. Fortunately, the cat found a buoy to climb onto, and another sailboat passing it found and rescued the cat and successfully returned it to its owner. Not possible in the Caribbean, though, because there are very few buoys or other marks around.

Friends found an abandoned kitten and adopted it on their boat. It never really knew land life and was a fantastic sailor. They thought the cat was incredible; when they were sailing along the cat was most comfortable down below, but it would suddenly jump up and run onto the deck, returning below with a flying fish in its mouth! A true boat cat.

They make life jackets for cats and dogs, though I doubt that any cat would allow you to put it on him!

I doubt that you will have any problems with customs, etc. so long as you go no farther than the Caribbean. However, tropical bugs, flies, etc., are such that you should be sure to be prepared for the parasites and infections your cat will be vulnerable to, and carry all the necessary vaccination certificates, whatever.
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Old 04-04-2008, 03:15 AM   #3
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Our kitty has his own little life vest and has worn a harness enough that the life vest doesn't totally freak him out. He's such a klutz though, he's never even been able to figure out how to get up the companionway to the cockpit, much less make it onto the deck.

He's only traveled stateside.

If he fell overboard, he'd never be able to swim to a rug or rope. He's a 14 year old huge Maine Coon Cat, fat (22 lbs when he was young and svelte, now about 26 lbs), frightened of his own shadow, and well, just not too good of a candidate for such heroics. He stay below. He does get seasick--we can tell because he salivates and mews when he's seasick. No barfing, though.

We keep his cat carrier wedged into a spot in the saloon where he can sit in it and watch all the happenings. He also likes to wedge himself into tight spots (like the cubby in the picture above) His litter box is a sweater box (with lid we can put on it in rough seas) and is usually in the forward cabin (in our way) and uncovered for his use. If things are rough, we close him into his carrier because when he's scared he wants to go to the litter box and, well, its closed up when things are rough. Fear also can make him pee instantly at any time anywhere. So, we have another rubbermaid bin that is our kitty bath to clean him up after he's been freaked out by something.

All in all, we love pets and wouldn't think of traveling without our cat--but we must admit that he's not the best of sailors He's in a harness or his life vest when onboard pretty much so we can pick him up with the attached handle if we need to.

P.S. even to travel in the states, you need a health certificate from a vet to cross state lines. Easy to get, just get it within 10 days of starting your travels. If you stop and stay someplace a while, its easy to get another at a local US vet. I'd think internationally its not quite so simple.
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Old 04-04-2008, 09:40 AM   #4
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And they are better than a boat alarm.

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Old 04-04-2008, 10:50 AM   #5
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When you go ashore in Mozambique - please do not forget your reading glasses and pepper spray.

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Old 04-18-2008, 01:45 AM   #6
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we were in the bahamas last spring with our two cats - on a 37 foot sailboat. they're house cats and accustomed to using a litter box, so we just brought one along with lots of extra litter - might be hard to find in the caribbean but i don't really know. we followed the bahamian rules and applied for import permits, got shots and vet certification papers (total ripoff from big chain store petsmart - should have gone to a local vet). when we got there nobody asked for them or could care less if we had papers or not.

the cats lived below the entire trip, about three months. didn't have a single problem with them, but they're housecats and used to being indoors. we did find kitty litter in nassau but i don't think we would have found it anywhere else.

by the way, if you're a pet lover be prepared to be shocked in nassau. we saw awful looking strays roaming the streets....
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Old 04-18-2008, 04:10 AM   #7
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we did find kitty litter in nassau but i don't think we would have found it anywhere else.
Not so sure about the cats but the "litter" is a good absorbant so should you ever have an oil spil then head for the cat sand.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 04-19-2008, 04:38 PM   #8
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Though i love animals (mostly dogs, but like cats, as well), i'd be so heartbroken if my pet fell overboard, i never thought i want to take one to sea for that reason alone. the life vest, harness idea has opened my eyes to new possibilities!
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Old 04-19-2008, 06:53 PM   #9
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by the way, if you're a pet lover be prepared to be shocked in nassau. we saw awful looking strays roaming the streets....
And in most of the Caribbean, strays are dreadful looking, flea and worm-infested, full of mange, just sad, sad animals.
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:35 PM   #10
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Hi, Just checking in and saw all of your responses. Wow!

In sailing school last week brushing up on our skills.

Harness and lifelines, got it! Great ideas.

I agree with cartoon, would feel terrible if one of my girls fell overboard. But can't see ourselves traveling without them.

They are family and travel everywhere with us. Don't know how they are going to take to the sea. Planning on getting a big enough Catamaran so none of us get "cabin fever". Has anybody brought trees and shrubs aboard?

Heard there's plenty of sand in the Bahamas . . . and its free. So kitty litter shouldn't be a problem.

Was in Dominica couple of years ago, didn't see many strays there. But they have just started a local Humane Society there to deal with abandoned pets, especially dogs and puppies. Maybe the other islands will follow suit.

Thanks for all of your input everyone.

Sara "windlass" Goodman

mrsgoodcash#gmail.com
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Old 05-01-2008, 05:37 AM   #11
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Heard there's plenty of sand in the Bahamas . . . and its free. So kitty litter shouldn't be a problem.
You'll bring fleas onboard. And kitty is more likely to get worms if using "natural" sand or dirt rather than kitty litter.

Advice from another cruiser is to secure indoor-outdoor carpet in the litter box. Once kitty has used the box, take the carpet and drag it in the water behind the boat, dry, and put back into the washed out box. I suppose one keeps a steady supply of indoor-outdoor carpet to do this with. I don't know if it actually works.
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Old 05-01-2008, 06:27 AM   #12
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I can imagine that carpet, aside from being a substitute for litter, is a good idea as a cat can sink its claws into matting and get a good grip rather than sliding about as the boat rolls. Just have to make sure the carpet is well secured in the box and that the box in its turn also is secured.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 05-02-2008, 02:33 AM   #13
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windlass - don't think you'd want to use beach sand. contains all kinds of critters, many too small too see. if they don't infest your pets they might infest your boat. for the same reason we didn't take our cats ashore. they lived on the boat the entire time.
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Old 05-02-2008, 03:38 AM   #14
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