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January 22, 2004


Da Goddess

Cats, dogs, men, and women...each possess the potential to be as good or as bad as you think them to be.


Cats are the perfect liveaboard pets, for all of Jim's reasons, plus THEY WILL KEEP RATS FROM BOARDING THE BOAT. Once you get rats, you have a real problem on a liveaboard. You can't shoot at them (hell, you won't see them very often) and they make a mess out of your lockers and they will chew wiring, messing up the way the electrons are supposed to flow to and fro.

All of my boating friends who have dogs have a very time consuming ritual to perform in walking the dogs, and teaching the dogs to hold their waste until you get them off the dock to the pet area is a difficult job. Most boat-dwelling dogs are very protective of their boat, and when the next slip has a party, or folks stroll the docks looking at boats, the dogs drive everyone nuts with their barking.

On balance, cats make the best four-footed shipmates. My cat loves the boat, but hates it when I run engines, so I leave him at home mostly when I cruise locally, but he's fun to have aboard when we're docked.


More cat lore: My daughter, retired and sailing the world at age 35, got tired of the cat litter routine for her cat Squiz (for whom their boat is named, see http://www.squizfloats.com )so she trained the cat to use a piece of astroturf instead. After the cat had soiled the scrap, a line was snapped on and it is rinsed overboard or trolled in the wake for a time until clean.

wes jackson

RINSED OVERBOARD? WTF! Can't wait to swim around that barge.
Just darling to find a nice sweet cat loving blog.
where's that hot sauce when you need it?


Jim, I thought you were an incredibly funny poster on the blogs I visit. It wasn't until your post at the A-man's about blog readership that I realized that you were a blogger (hanging head in shame). Okay, I'll be visiting here from now on.


Your comments about the cats are absolutely correct. Cats are loyal and easily trained. (I've had cats that I taught to fetch those little whiffle balls--big mistake! They can be more enthusiastic about fetching than a lab.)

I used to have a lot of mourning doves here in the barns. I wished the cats would have cleaned them out, but they didn't. When the hawks moved in and started raising their young, the mourning doves disappeared. Heh.

A visitor came up one day and one of the mama bantams spotted me and came running up with her 12 or so teeny little chicks. They were running around me, and running around the cats and dogs, lookin' for me to throw 'em some corn. "How come yo' cats ain't eatin' them lil chicks?" "Because they've been raised around little chicks and don't know that chickens are food plus I would spank them." "How come them dawgs ain't eatin' them?" "Because them's MY chickens and I don't allow it."

If you can't train your animals, your children probably run wild as well.


Jim's right -- I've always had cats, and currently have three indoors and help a neighbor with a managed feral cat colony (trap, spay, neuter, shots, release, feed occasionally).

The wild cats do not play with their prey at all -- Marlon Perkins could have devoted an entire show to the subject.

In addition to the predator issue, I am starting to believe that well-fed, domestic cats kill for nutritional issues, and simply do not eat their prey because they are well-fed. I don't know if you followed my allergic reaction to the cats, which turned out to be related to their food, but since then I have been seriously messing with their diet -- in addition to a high-protein, low-corn food, I have been supplementing them with fish and table scraps. The incidence of mangled bodies has decreased significantly . . .

Most litterbox problems are usually related to cleanliness. The three monsters will not use a foul litterbox -- it must be changed daily -- and a line forms to be the first to use the fresh box.

For the record, our last dog was an 80-lb. chow/shepherd mix, and she hunted mice (coyote hop) and other small animals with the best of them, depite being extremely well-fed.

The cats wait outside for me to come home from work, and I get escorted in with my own personal Greek chorus of "meows" and waving tails.


You're absolutely right, Anne. The folks that complain about cats killing (wild) animals abviously do not know what their dogs are up to when they're not around. (My dogs will kill foxes, possums, squirrels, raccoons, armadillos, whatever gets in the barnyard.) The doberman was death on mice and moles. She did that coyote hop to perfection.

I have tried to warn new neighbors about their dogs killing my livestock, but I always got the "not my dog!" response. So, now I just shoot the livestock predators and hang 'em on the fence. They can claim the body if they want, and pick up the bill for damages while they're at it. (And at approximately $400/registered ewe PLUS $200/each for registered lambs, one dog can easily rack up a bill for several thousand dollars in an hours' worth of play.


I have two inside cats as well. I wouldn't trade them for dogs, for nothin'. My cats also greet me everytime I come home. They love to cuddle and they are very loyal to me, (except for one special visitor, who they seem to claim everytime he's here)
When I am sick or depressed or not feeling well, they curl up on my stomach and sleep.....BOTH of them, and one of them ain't too small.
Cats are definatly special critters :)


I've always felt that Acidman was probably raised on a farm. Without exception everyone I've ever known who was raised on a farm considered cats as necessary pests to keep the barns free of rodents, my husband included. Also, those with the mindset never WANT a pet cat to learn what a cat is really like. Thanks Jim, Riverdog, Anne, and SwampWoman for your comments that could shine a lot of light on the B.S. surrounding felines. Every single point you made is true. I sleep with 3 cats and a Rottweiler - crowded, of course. They are not only compatible, but protective of each other - AND ME!


Wonderful post Jim. I laughed so hard at some lines I had to stop and catch my breath.

I had never been near a cat until 17 years ago when we found a pathetic little scrap of fur mewing outside our house. My husband immediately made moves to get "that damn cat" some place else and our of our bathroom. He did. She's curled up sleeping on his side of the bed as I write this. She was but the first feline friends to grace our home. He became the man who couldn't say "No!" to strays. Whether bringing them inside or feeding them outside. When one of the foundlings developed diabetes he cared tenderly for it until Mr. Noirpassed away. Far outliving the years the vet pedicted he would have. It had to be from the loving care. I knew I married a good man.

Smooth sailing to you and your faithful feline crew!

(And women do appreciate a skilled snuggler! Yes, we do!)


Whether wrong or right in your views,THIS is the kind of writing you do that I like to read!

dragonfly jenny

Great entry. Your on-board four-legged pals sound like the cats meow!

Raging Dave

I've got a big black cat that curls up on my chest at night and purrs me to sleep. She's a snuggler as well. Loves to ride on my shoulders and couldn't be happier than when I'm petting her.

I'm a dog man, but I still love cats as well.


Rivrdog: rats don't just show themselves. If you actually see one, you've got a real infestation.


Just more proof 'bout well-trained cats.

I got home tonight at about 8 pm, from a weekend of generating massive plumes of burnt cordite out in deep Southeast Texas.

My neighbor John had checked on the cats at about two hours earlier, and had called me on the cel to let me know he'd leave the companionway open for fresh air.

When I got home, I didn't have the first two bags out of the car, before Harley was up on deck, hollering and meowing at me. He knows the sound of my car, and always is up and ready to greet me when I come home.

I was gone from Friday PM till tonight at eight. Then, the cats were left on an open boat, for two hours, unattended and still, Harley did not jump onto the dock. Hell, Ariel just stayed in the cockpit.

Who says cats can't be trained. *heh*

Sloop New Dawn
Galveston, TX


So true about the cats. Their companionship and loyalty is beyond words. I am a "mother" of three. My oldest and only male cat, Michie, is a momma's boy and that's fine with me. He is never farther than three feet from me except when I'm in the shower. My oldest female, Tomasina, is daddy's girl. Even when she is comforting me and sitting on my lap, she knows exactly where my husband is. Our youngest female and newest addition, Boo, always insists on wrapping herself around my neck at night, even though she is getting considerably bigger.

As soon as they hear the garage door open ALL three of them are patiently waiting by the door to greet me and mine as well come when they're called.

The ONLY reason why we don't have dogs is because we live in a townhouse without a fenced-in backyard. It just wouldn't be fair to the dog to ALWAYS have to be on a leash.


Smoke on the water ....loved this story and following posts. I have cats and some bigger than others They are my bestfriends....I lived with a cat on a boat for a year once he was great,lost him at 17 years...miss him....thanks for sharing I enjoyed all


Hi, Just after your advise if you dont mind..? I am currently thinking about buying a narrowboat, but have two 6 month old kittens...could you give me any advise on how i could safely live with them on this boat??

Really grateful for any advise

Many Thanks


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