No cat wakes up one morning planning to drown that day, aside from the fact that most of us really don’t like swimming in the first place. A big part of my life is spent on a boat totally surrounded by water, so safety on the water is purramount. I had an accidental swimming lesson not too long ago and I learned that no matter how hard I try, I can’t walk on water. The humans annoyingly laugh about it now, about how bad a swimmer I was and how funny my straight paddle like front legs looked pummeling the surface of the water as I frantically searched for a way out from between the vertical valley of rafted fiberglass. My claws finally latched onto the rubber pontoon of Jester the dinghy and I, with a chuck of salty wetness soaked into to my fur, hauled myself out. Not very dignified was meow and all I wanted to do was run and hide my sorry looking self inside the boat. Human mom was right on my tail and I was scooped up in a nice dry towel, only to be put in a tub with more water….the rinse cycle. At least it was warm.
Fortunately for meow they had heard the unfamiliar sound of slapping water and went to investigate, but what if they hadn’t? What if I had swum the other way towards the bow of the boat and out to open water instead of where the humans were at the stern. After all the effort to keep yourself afloat drains your energy and the adrenaline wears off, then what? Nothing. Drowning is actually quite silent.
Needless to say, my human mom hasn’t really been able to relax on board since, and that doesn’t really fit well with the concept of a holiday and pleasure boating. “What are the options” she pawndered? “A lifejacket” she concluded! Yes, all my boating dog furiends have one. Off to the internet to research the matter. After some time of ignoring me while she went from forum to forum reading the experiences of other boaters with cats she was a little disappointed with the general consensus of lifejackets on cats. They all basically said cats can swim and can easily be scooped up in a small net, or can climb a rope or carpet hung off the side of the boat, all of which is much easier than trying to get us to wear a lifejacket. Ironically enough, as with most wearable accessories we seem to forget how to stay upright with them on, so it would be a small worry about us walking anywhere, much less off the boat. Another con was how restrictive they can be, and actually may even be a danger as they hinder our skillful maneuverability and sense of balance. My humans wear an inflatable type of lifejacket which is much easier to wear in general, but we can only get one by mail order and it won’t arrive in time for our holidays. The best option was a device that would attach to my collar, and upon getting wet (falling in), would send an alarm signal to a monitoring station. Unfortunately they don’t recommend using it in the ocean…how disappointing.
We ended up deciding that I should have a collar with a bell attached, and a lifejacket to at least be worn when I’m in the dinghy. So off to Mr. Pets we went for a lifejacket fitting. The staff there were very helpful in getting a few sizes and styles down off the wall for me to try on and here I am modelling the one that fit best. We may have to alter it a bit since it’s really made for a dog; they all were. As for my boat hopping tendency while in a raft-up, I’ve checked and we have a dip net handy, and am told the boat will be outfitted with some strategically placed rope and carpeting this weekend. That fits well with mom’s peace of mind and the rest of my 9 lives.