7 Self-help Tips (from one cat to another)

in Life at Sea / Sailing the World / Sailing with Cats
charlie hideaway sailing with cats turf to surf

Dear New-to-Cruising Kitty,

Let me first assure you, I know what you’re going through.

Your “owners” have decided to give up their land lives and move onto a boat. With you. And, of course, they didn’t ask first what you thought. They just plucked you from your large, comfortable home and dropped you onto a vessel only slightly larger than your litter box, which no amount of revenge pee can transform into Roman Abramovich’s 533-foot yacht.

Unless, that is, you’re Roman Abramovich’s cat. In which case, I’m not talking to you. You and your gold-plated self-cleaning litter box the size of a queen bed can mind your own business. You’re probably fed fresh tuna every day by a team of servants who were also hired to fluff your pillows and bring you live mice to play with. You’re the 1% I’m not talking to. This discussion is for real cats.

So back to the 99%. I know it sucks. But, take it from me, a fellow boat cat: you can’t change the fact that you now live in a floating prison surrounded by every cat’s kryptonite (H2O), but you can become happier by changing your outlook on this new life you’ve been subjected to.

And I, Charlie, queen cat of s/v Hideaway, am here to help you do just that by giving you seven tenets to live by to ensure a happy, fulfilled feline life at sea:

Rule #1: Take charge. Scratch the word “owner” from your vocabulary and replace it with “human servant.” I mean, are you a slave to these people? No. You tell them what to feed you, when to feed you and how often to change your litter. Get it? Servant.

sailing hideaway sailing with cats turf to surf

“A little to the left…almost there…you got it.”

Rule #2: Get to know your boat. Climb into every hole, crevice and opening you can find. All the time. Someone left a locker open? Get in there! Don’t worry about getting stuck between, say, a sack of flour and some electrical wiring. Seize the day! Your servants will fish you out.

boat cats sailing hideaway travel

“What? Did you need to get in here or something?”

Rule #3: Express yourself. You may not have the gift of language, but you can send a message. Litter need changing? Pee in their shoes. Don’t like your food? Scoop it into the bilge (if you don’t know, that’s the hole in the floor I like to call “the garbage disposal”). They’ll get the message.

Rule #4: Challenge yourself. You’ll never know how high or far you can jump until you try. Literally. There’s the boom, the dodger, the docks, the dinghy, etc. The boat is your playground! And if you want to see how far your human servants can jump, try balancing on the lifelines while the boat is underway. That’s always a good one.

Rule #5: Prepare your crew. Life at sea is unpredictable and your crew must be prepared to deal with emergencies at any time. Help keep everyone on their toes by, say, pooping on the bed in the middle of the night, jumping off the boat, or my favorite: pretending there’s a deadly insect on your servant’s face that must be killed PRONTO. At two in the morning. How will you know your crew can cope if you don’t test them?

travel with cats sailing hideaway turf to surf

“Just think of me as a sleeping obstacle to whatever you’re trying to do with this bag.”

Rule #6: Get your beauty rest. This one is important. We can’t be our cute, lovable selves unless we get at least 16-18 hours of sleep a day. Your servants, on the other hand, don’t need half as much sleep, so they may disrupt your continuous napping by trying to, say, move you off a tool box they need to get into or push you away from the winches they’re trying to use. Don’t stir. Tip: If you play dead, sometimes they just give up.

charlie sailing with cats hideaway turf to surf

“See what I mean? The world is your bed.”

Rule #7: Be a distraction. If your human servants are anything like mine, they work too hard. Just remember: you know what’s good for them, so make an executive decision and intervene! They’re doing electrical work in the back of a locker? Crawl into the locker. They spend too much time on the computer? Sit on the keyboard. They may act annoyed at first, but trust me on this one: they will come around to your way of doing nothing with a little persistence. And they’ll thank you for it later.

cruising kitty sailing with cats turf to surf

“Whatcha writin’ there? Wanna play?”

That should be enough to get you through the first few months of your new life at sea. With these tools, you should be fully equipped to transform your aquatic woes to a life of adventure and fulfillment. So, get out there and start pooping on some beds, crawling into holes, and leaping onto foreign docks! Live life to the fullest!

Remember: the only one standing in the way of your happiness is you.

You’re welcome and happy cruising,


charlie sailing cats turf to surf

“See? You’ll get used to it…eventually.” (Photo by Justin Dent)

0 Comments... Be the first to comment
  • Mid-Life Cruising! May 6, 2013, 11:04 am

    I no longer have any cats (or dogs) but funny post! I’m a little distracted by your dodger since everyone is telling us we need a dodger on our Catalina 30 … nice!

    • Tasha May 6, 2013, 11:07 am

      The dodger is nice to protect you from the elements. Plus we’ve put flexible solar panels on the top, velcroed into the canvas, so we didn’t need to build a structure for fixed panels. I’m a fan…it wasn’t expensive either, in the grand scheme of things. We had a new frame built and new canvas before we left New York, and it came to about $2500.

      • Mid-Life Cruising! May 10, 2013, 11:10 am

        Those flexible solar panels are definitely nice. Something we may consider. Glad to hear about a Catalina making it further South than the Bahamas. So many folks on those forums say they’re not for cruising. Ours is a little smaller (30 ft) but you’re proof that we should be fine. We’re not planning on crossing the Pacific! =)

  • Bob Baker May 6, 2013, 11:15 am

    I love cats they taste just like
    Chicken !!!

    • Tasha May 6, 2013, 12:07 pm

      Lol. But are they a sustainable food source? 😉

  • Michelle May 6, 2013, 11:30 am

    Your cats are just TOO cute 🙂

    • Tasha May 6, 2013, 12:08 pm

      I think so…but then again I’m biased 🙂

  • Jessica - MJ Sailing May 7, 2013, 10:31 am

    Don’t think I’m showing Georgie this post, I like the fact that she only uses her litter box and will stay in the cockpit while underway. 😉

    • Tasha May 7, 2013, 4:57 pm

      Good kitty. She likes her litterbox AND she can read! 😉

  • lillyandchloe May 11, 2013, 7:11 pm

    Wow, great tips! We been aboard for eight months now and it has been quite an adjustment! Thanks to your tips we now understand how to take control. I think Lilly was onto this idea at first, but got really seasick at the beginning. I thought it was really cool the way she puked and pooped on the servants bed, but I think she was embarrassed. All is good now. Your new feline friends, Chloe & Lilly s/v Smart Move

    • Tasha May 13, 2013, 12:06 am

      Nice to meet you, Chloe and Lilly! An additional, secret tip just for you, my new-found feline friends: If you knock over something fragile while your servants are preparing dinner, you can swoop in and steal their food while they’re cleaning up your mess. Works every time. Good luck and keep me posted on your progress!
      Charlie (the boss)

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