I thought that our 13-year old cat would freak out when we introduced her to the sailboat. I was sort of expecting that we would awaken one morning to find blood everywhere and the cat dead. I don’t know what I imagined she would have died from, but I just imagined that she would freak out and, in that freak-out, she would have killed herself and she would just be dead.
Less severe, I was worried that she would pee or poop somewhere on the boat that she wasn’t supposed to and cause the boat to smell like one big litter box. This wasn’t as distressing as potentially finding her bloody and dead, but it was distressing all the same.
I was so worried about it that I actually placed an ad on Craigslist to try to find her a home. I know it seems cruel to put a family pet in a new environment with new people, but I really was worried that she would die on the boat. What if she jumped off the boat and drowned? I didn’t want her to die.
After the lack of response on Craigslist, we introduced her to her new cat carrier while we were still packing the office. She actually seemed to like it and spent much time in it over several days, sleeping or just hanging out. When it was time to go to the boat, we put her in the cat carrier, to which she didn’t object, and we put the carrier in the car. She stayed calm the entire time until we arrived at the boat. We put the cat carrier on the bed in the aft cabin where the Captain and I sleep and unzipped it, upon which she slowly crept out and started sniffing.
We put her litter box under the ladder that goes up to the cockpit, hoping she would use it instead of a towel or carpet somewhere. So far, after two weeks of living on the sailboat, she is using the litterbox and not a bed.
She found a hidey-hole in the V-Berth where we are building the bunk. That is where she is spending most of her time. The only time she comes out is to eat, relieve herself, and to climb up on our bed and stare at the Captain while he is sleeping.
We let her remain below for the first week, but then one morning I decided to put her up in the cockpit to see if she would enjoy being outside. She sniffed around a bit and then decided it wasn’t for her, and she raced back through the companionway and down the stairs and hasn’t ventured back up since. Maybe that’s for the best.