And no, we don’t mean catamarans
As rare as it may seem, more and more boat owners are bringing their feline friends onboard. Having dogs on a boat is quite common. But unlike their canine counterparts, cats do not have a natural ability to adapt to a water environment.
Generally, domestic cats have not been bred to be on the water so they do not typically swim and or enjoy being near water. Yet, avid boaters – who also happen to be avid cat lovers – may still wish to overcome these laws of nature, and take their cat along with them.
Preparing Cats for Boat Time
It is best to slowly introduce your cat or cats to the water environment, and your boat. Some cats have an innate fear of water and will tremble at the mere sight of it. In more difficult cases, such as with older cats, adapting could prove more challenging than with younger ones.
Once on the boat, it is best to help cats become familiar with the vessel while docked. Loud boat engines on powerboats may be startling or hurt your cat’s sensitive ears. The speed and wind produced by powerboats might also be hard for cats to handle. These may be reasons why cats are most often seen on sailboats.
Keeping Cats Safe on Boats
Cats are known to be very well-balanced and good on their feet. Many boaters that observe cats on boats are surprised to see how nimble they are walking around the edges of boat decks and marina docks. Despite their ability to gracefully walk boat decks, BoatSafe.com suggests you have your cat fitted with a special pet life jacket for water safety. A slip into the water could be disastrous for cats that do not know how to swim.
When packing provisions for weekend or long distance cruising, be sure to include plenty of fresh water and food for kitty.
Keeping your cat cool in hot weather and protecting delicate paws on hot boat decks is important to ensure their health and well-being. And don’t forget the kitty litter!
With the right preparation and careful attention to special accommodations, your fluffy ball of fur will purr with pleasure at not being left behind when you spend time onboard.