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Old 12-18-2018, 06:10 PM   #1
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Best life jacket for cats? Other advice?

Well, we have been contemplating taking our two adult cats with us instead of leaving them at home for days at a time.
My biggest concern is their safety. Can any one who has done this give us best practices advice as well as a reliable life jacket name?
Will it be really difficult to acclimate two 8 year old cats to the marine life? Ideally we'll be taking them on shortish trips of three days but if they seem comfortable, we'd love to keep them with us as much as possible.
This would be for summer only as we keep the boat outside of Newport, RI.
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Old 12-18-2018, 06:13 PM   #2
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Well, we have been contemplating taking our two adult cats with us instead of leaving them at home for days at a time.
My biggest concern is their safety. Can any one who has done this give us best practices advice as well as a reliable life jacket name?
Will it be really difficult to acclimate two 8 year old cats to the marine life? Ideally we'll be taking them on shortish trips of three days but if they seem comfortable, we'd love to keep them with us as much as possible.
This would be for summer only as we keep the boat outside of Newport, RI.
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Are they indoor or outdoor cats? And what size cats?
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Old 12-18-2018, 07:49 PM   #3
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If we're gone for more than a week we take our two adult cats along. They adapt quickly. They're indoor cats at home and they stay inside the boat when on board. I don't want to try to rescue a wet cat that's gone overboard. We've sacrificed one of our showers for a litter box and even bring a cat tree along. We've run into a lot of cats on boats and quite a few of them wander around outside with no problems. We have heard of a few that got lost though.
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:48 PM   #4
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I would pay to watch someone put a life jacket on a cat.



I love cats.



And I have the scars to prove it.
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Old 12-18-2018, 10:37 PM   #5
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I love Indoor cats. When left to wander, not so much. Having my home "marked" was unpleasant.

As to a life preserver, I cannot imaging g a lithe feline being in one much longer than a nanosecond.
As a boat companion, I believe pets are great. Bring yours along and see how it goes. Good luck.

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Old 12-19-2018, 03:30 AM   #6
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I guess it depends on the boat and the cat(s). I've heard of people doing the Great Loop with a cat and a dog on a 25' boat. Since there wasn't much comment on the cat (compared to the dog) in their travel blog, I guess the cat was not much of an issue. I also know of people that had two cats on their sailboat in the PNW, one of which had to be fished out of the water in the middle of the night.

If you start with the cat when it is very young, you'll probably have more success with the life jacket thing.

You might start with the car. Take a road trip with them and see how they handle it. Some cats get motion sick. Others might freak out with the motion and the noise. We had one cat that would start throwing up after about 20 miles, another that certainly was not happy about being in the car. When we stopped it was keen to escape. We have one now that seems to enjoy the view, so he might be a good candidate for the boat if we decide to go that route.
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Old 12-19-2018, 05:26 AM   #7
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A life jacket is not needed for the cat to float , they naturally float and can swim .

What the jacket is needed for is to have a handle on top so the cat can be hauled aboard with a boat hook .Reach down and the cat may climb your arm.

On our 90/90 we have an aft hung rudder. We rolled a tube of carpet that hung from the water to above the deck , with loose wire ties.

A roll of carpet ladder could be mounted aft on many style boats.

Out cat loved to go for dink rides (aluminum dink , not a condom boat) and was easy to teach she could gain the deck easily with the carpet.

2 times cruising the cat self rescued , came below dripping with sea water.

The big hassle was on the Loop the cat would want to go exploring at any dock or lock.

This was solved by using sliding window screen in the door jam , we could communicate while coming alongside , and step over the screen if desired , but it blocked the cat from the deck.

Cats can also be taught to use the toilet , but you will have to leave the lid up, and flush for it.


Enjoy your furry friends on board!
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Old 12-19-2018, 07:18 AM   #8
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We still have one cat aboard...

Can't remember the brand name of the life jackets we got, but it's a brand also well known for dog vests (which we had, too). There are many threads on cruisersforum.com about PFDs for critters, and many of those recommendations would be useful to troll for brand names.

Mostly the "handle" and decent under-chest/belly support are the significant criteria, as well as correct sizing of course.

Friends cruised with an "outdoor" cat, and they trailed a woven length of heavy lines so the cat could return aboard after an unexpected swim. FF's carpet ladder would be similar. Assumes claws intact.

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Old 12-19-2018, 07:56 AM   #9
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Are they indoor or outdoor cats? And what size cats?
Hi there,
They are indoor cats who would love to be outdoor cats! They are 12 pounds each and are fluffy Maine Coons,

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Old 12-19-2018, 08:00 AM   #10
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We still have one cat aboard...

Can't remember the brand name of the life jackets we got, but it's a brand also well known for dog vests (which we had, too). There are many threads on cruisersforum.com about PFDs for critters, and many of those recommendations would be useful to troll for brand names.

Mostly the "handle" and decent under-chest/belly support are the significant criteria, as well as correct sizing of course.

Friends cruised with an "outdoor" cat, and they trailed a woven length of heavy lines so the cat could return aboard after an unexpected swim. FF's carpet ladder would be similar. Assumes claws intact.

-Chris
Good information. All I have seen on Web seem to be made for dogs, but small sizes may fit a cat. Claws are indeed intact! So you mean an unexpected swim when underway?? Thanks!!
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:09 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by FF View Post
A life jacket is not needed for the cat to float , they naturally float and can swim .

What the jacket is needed for is to have a handle on top so the cat can be hauled aboard with a boat hook .Reach down and the cat may climb your arm.

On our 90/90 we have an aft hung rudder. We rolled a tube of carpet that hung from the water to above the deck , with loose wire ties.

A roll of carpet ladder could be mounted aft on many style boats.

Out cat loved to go for dink rides (aluminum dink , not a condom boat) and was easy to teach she could gain the deck easily with the carpet.

2 times cruising the cat self rescued , came below dripping with sea water.

The big hassle was on the Loop the cat would want to go exploring at any dock or lock.

This was solved by using sliding window screen in the door jam , we could communicate while coming alongside , and step over the screen if desired , but it blocked the cat from the deck.

Cats can also be taught to use the toilet , but you will have to leave the lid up, and flush for it.


Enjoy your furry friends on board!
This is fantastic information! Cats can use a toilet?? What'll ya think of next?!!
The biggest information I'm getting is that where there's a will, there's a way.
One big question: Was she a baby when she began her cruising life? How did you acclimate her?
Thanks!
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:14 AM   #12
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I guess it depends on the boat and the cat(s). I've heard of people doing the Great Loop with a cat and a dog on a 25' boat. Since there wasn't much comment on the cat (compared to the dog) in their travel blog, I guess the cat was not much of an issue. I also know of people that had two cats on their sailboat in the PNW, one of which had to be fished out of the water in the middle of the night.

If you start with the cat when it is very young, you'll probably have more success with the life jacket thing.

You might start with the car. Take a road trip with them and see how they handle it. Some cats get motion sick. Others might freak out with the motion and the noise. We had one cat that would start throwing up after about 20 miles, another that certainly was not happy about being in the car. When we stopped it was keen to escape. We have one now that seems to enjoy the view, so he might be a good candidate for the boat if we decide to go that route.
Great idea about starting with the car. They don't like the trip to the vet's but I noticed on longer trips they tend to fall asleep, which would be great because our boat is 70 minutes away from our house.
Thanks for the info!
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:22 AM   #13
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I love Indoor cats. When left to wander, not so much. Having my home "marked" was unpleasant.

As to a life preserver, I cannot imaging g a lithe feline being in one much longer than a nanosecond.
As a boat companion, I believe pets are great. Bring yours along and see how it goes. Good luck.

Here are Erin and Lessa on the Nav table in a Rhodes Bounty 2.
Wonderful picture! Your girls look similar to our Maine Coons, Maggie and Katie. How do you keep them entertained in such a small area if they aren't let out?
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:26 AM   #14
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I would pay to watch someone put a life jacket on a cat.



I love cats.



And I have the scars to prove it.
HAHA! That may be my answer! Will definitely let you know! (It will be me trying to put the jackets on with my husband videotaping, I'm sure!!)
Thanks,
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:30 AM   #15
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If we're gone for more than a week we take our two adult cats along. They adapt quickly. They're indoor cats at home and they stay inside the boat when on board. I don't want to try to rescue a wet cat that's gone overboard. We've sacrificed one of our showers for a litter box and even bring a cat tree along. We've run into a lot of cats on boats and quite a few of them wander around outside with no problems. We have heard of a few that got lost though.
Good practical advice about the litter box shower. Hadn't thought that far ahead! And the tree is a must since they have all their claws....I just hope there's room for us by the time we get done outfitting for these cats!
Thanks,
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Old 12-19-2018, 02:46 PM   #16
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Good info as we are shortly about to embark on another cruise, this time with cat aboard!
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Old 12-19-2018, 03:16 PM   #17
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FF has the best idea, have a carpet or something the cat can claw their way onto the boat.

I like cats, but for the most part, not on a boat, other than a real short trip. Just too much work!

I've tried taking our older cats on the boat to see how they'd like it....didn't!

I've put lift jackets on them and maybe it took them 2 seconds to get out of them. They looked like Hodini getting out of a straight jacket!

Now, I did take one cat for a kayak ride.... got about 15 ft from shore, she jumped and swam to shore and wouldn't talk to me for a week.

Another older male cat did go windsurfing with me....YES windsurfing. He stayed on the board, enjoyed the ride around a lake and jumped off when I got close to the dock. That same cat went for a paddle boat ride with my admiral and jumped off in the middle of the lake and had to be rescued.
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:21 PM   #18
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I have made 2 "life jackets" for small dogs. Neither I nor our dogs liked the commercial ones. Others are correct the key is just having handles to grab on to lift.
What I made was close to a simple harness w handles instead of D rings.
You might actually find a small size dog or cat to harness that could work. I don't have pics but what I made up was basically 2 nylon straps w plastic snap buckles and loop handles. I added some think flexible sheet packing foam inside a fabric cover and sewed the webbing to it.
It ended up as a soft flexible underbelly that snapped around & on top.
If you are interested in making one i could probably sketch something close to what I did.
I'd suggest trying a small harness to see how the critter reacts. Even w/o handles its EZ to grab a harness strap to rescue in an emergency.
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:34 PM   #19
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FF has the best idea, have a carpet or something the cat can claw their way onto the boat.

I like cats, but for the most part, not on a boat, other than a real short trip. Just too much work!

I've tried taking our older cats on the boat to see how they'd like it....didn't!

I've put lift jackets on them and maybe it took them 2 seconds to get out of them. They looked like Hodini getting out of a straight jacket!

Now, I did take one cat for a kayak ride.... got about 15 ft from shore, she jumped and swam to shore and wouldn't talk to me for a week.

Another older male cat did go windsurfing with me....YES windsurfing. He stayed on the board, enjoyed the ride around a lake and jumped off when I got close to the dock. That same cat went for a paddle boat ride with my admiral and jumped off in the middle of the lake and had to be rescued.
Haha! Thanks for the discouraging news!! At least you are honest!! I just bought two pet life jackets today...my husband is sure I am crazy!
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:37 PM   #20
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I have made 2 "life jackets" for small dogs. Neither I nor our dogs liked the commercial ones. Others are correct the key is just having handles to grab on to lift.
What I made was close to a simple harness w handles instead of D rings.
You might actually find a small size dog or cat to harness that could work. I don't have pics but what I made up was basically 2 nylon straps w plastic snap buckles and loop handles. I added some think flexible sheet packing foam inside a fabric cover and sewed the webbing to it.
It ended up as a soft flexible underbelly that snapped around & on top.
If you are interested in making one i could probably sketch something close to what I did.
I'd suggest trying a small harness to see how the critter reacts. Even w/o handles its EZ to grab a harness strap to rescue in an emergency.
Thanks so much for the input, but I am way too lazy for that!! Now I can't wait for summer to see how this all works out!
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