LIfe with Captain Cooper, Onboard

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Living with a cat on board is tons of fun, but can throw a few challenges your way as well. With Cooper on board we try to keep him entertained and safe whether we are sailing, at anchor, or even at a dock. Each posses a unique situation we must be aware of.
 
Cooper is in life-jacket with water-activated safety light
While we are underway, Cooper typically likes to sleep a bunch or hang out in our bunks up forward, There he has toys of all shapes and sizes, a scratching post, and tunnels that he can play in while we are working the sails or teaching ASA courses. Anytime we are going under a bridge or if he plays out on deck while moving, we try to keep him in his life jacket. This gives us peace of mind so if he goes overboard from a wave or trying to catch a bird we can easily reach him with a boat hook and pull him safely aboard.

Cooper sleeping on his shelf in our cabin.
Tethered in for docking practice!
We also have to keep him on a harness when we are docked as he loves to go exploring on shore and chase anything he can find that moves around. Cooper has been known to jump 5 feet side ways to either shore, or a rafting boat to just say hello to their crew.

 Some boat things that we have had to consider so far are:
  1. Food getting moist / stale due to the Florida humidy
  2. Water spilling of out of his dish if we are heeled over a great deal
  3. Litter clumping / getting wet due to the Florida humidy
    1. Which brings us to cooper’s training on the head….. we are trying to eventually get rid of litter on board for good and have bought him the “Litter Kwitter” a system with a series of steps to encourage your pet to use the head. So far, we have made it to 5 of 7 steps within the last year. It’s a lot of work and often times we have to go back a few steps to the Litter box if someone else is watching Cooper or if we are traveling on the road a bunch.
  4. Exercise: On board, we play hide and go seek and tag – like games with Cooper to keep him running and entertained. We also try to take him on as many walks as possible on our days off or if we get a chance during our charters at an island state park.
  5. Entertainment: Even more than a "normal" cat, Bengals need stimulation both physically and mentally, especially in the form of toys and exploration. They also tend to get bored with their toys after a short while so to keep Cooper happy we have a box of toys that gets rotated out every once and while. 
  6. Overboard: we have heard stories from friends with cats on board of them eventually finding their way overboard at night, whether by accident or intentionally trying to hunt a fish…  but we *under the protest of Cooper’s meows* taught him how to swim to the stern of the boat and pull himself up to the swim platform then paw over paw climb the ladder back on board. He doesn’t like practicing it too much, but does a great job at getting himself to safety and being loud enough to let us know when he is overboard.
New Toys!

Cooper learning to fish from our recent anglers on board!

Best Climbing post around!

Safety first!

learning to be a 'big boy'

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