Cats on Board

Charlie on s/v Ceilydh

For nearly as long as sailors have been going to sea, their cats have been going with them. Whether as miracle workers, mousers, or mates, nary a crew member has been more valued than the ship's cat. Certainly, why we live aboard has changed throughout the course of history, but who we bring along to keep us company appears to be timeless. (Friends of Fido: Standby, dogs on board is an upcoming topic!)

Topic Coordinator: Jane (more JOY everywhere!)

Learn some nautical history - a fun introductory piece about "the ship's cat," from Sarah (Blue Water Dreaming). And a second post about Fluffy's forays afield.

This post is packed with specifics, starting with how to introduce your cat to the boat. A guest post by Sandy, published on Saltwater Suzi and Cap'n Larry's (The Frugal Mariner).

Learn more about the move aboard process from Tammy (Things we did today).

Oh dear. Tasha (turf to surf) dares to SHAVE her darlings and posted a video about it. She also wrote about going wild at the Charleston Petco, and her ambitious toilet-training plan.  There's also a post written from Charlie's point of view, to help other cats adjust to shipboard life.

Here are a few posts about the exploits of my cats (Jane, more JOY everywhere!). Read about cats moving aboard, cat overboard, missing cat, found cat, etc.

And here are a few posts about the exploits of Diane's cat (Ceilydh Sets Sail). Read about cat swimming, cat seasick, cat being imported to Australia, and more. Also a fun "small world" piece remembering her previous boat cat.

Details and pictures (!) of cat surgery in Grenada, from Willie (Mark & Willie).

Mike (Zero to Cruising!) wrote posts about adopting a kitty and clearing through customs in Trinidad and St. Vincent with a cat on board.

Lynn (s/v Celebration) wrote a heart-rending memorial for her 21-year-old cat.

Leigh (Living the Life Aquatic) contributed this story of how her old cat Zoe went missing on a weekend trip.

What do you do with a seasick cat? See Robyn's story (The Adventures of Smart Move), along with "before-and-after" pictures of Lilly.

Catless himself, the skipper of S/V Blondie-Dog pens an homage featuring some of Key West's famous felines.

First Mate Neptune tells tales of his adventures aboard SV Re Metau.

Jessica (Matt & Jessica's Sailing Page) describes adopting a cat partway into their cruise, and what they learned after the first two months:

If you want it straight from the horse's mouth (so to speak!), check out Bailey's blog:

Along with other adventures, Suzanne's (Orbis Non Sufficit) cat went for a swim ... in the galley sink!

A couple of months in, here it is from the cat's point of view:

And just for grins, here's an ad for a no-maintenance ship's cat, contributed by s/v Octopussy (s/v Octopussy)

Zeehag (SK Solitary Bird) sails with bubba, who wins first prize for "best picture of a cat in a porthole".

Project Motor Boat shares an adoption story: they were in the Turks and Caicos and they decided that one tiny kitten was not enough:

Drena (Sailing Journey), getting ready to start cruising, writes about Leo's first visits to the boat.  He's 12 and a bit grumpy, so will he be able to adjust to being a cruising cat? [Note: 5/19/2013 - Drena is MoFi's 100th blogger!]

The crew aboard SV Serenity writes about how their cat, Tack, may have reached spiritualization before them. Perhaps it was his close brush with death(?) when he fell in the water? They also recount Tack's newest hobby: seat snatching. What else are you gonna do for fun on a 30 foot boat? You can also read about the custom cat door they made and how they cleared Tack into Mexico.

Hi, blogger! Do you have a blog post on cats aboard that you'd like to share? Please post your link with a brief description in the comment section below and we'll add it to this list.
Already have a link on this page? Feel free to link back here so that your readers can find other posts on this topic. We have low-tech and high-tech instructions:

Low-tech instructions: Copy and paste this text onto to the bottom of your blog post:

Visit The Monkey's Fist to find other posts on this topic:

High-tech instructions: Copy the code below and paste it into the html at the bottom of your post to give your readers a link back to this page.

The Monkey's Fist


  1. http://www.livingthelifeaquatic.com/2012/09/the-past-48-hours/ In which, Zoe, my old cat, goes missing...

    1. As I was reading this, I was thinking, LIVING THE DREAM! When things go horribly wrong on Joy, we often remind each other, "This is the life, babe!" Stay strong, Zoe!

  2. Hey guys! Thanks so much for posting my kitty stuff here! I really appreciate it! If you guys have any topics you need writing on, I'm always thrilled to contribute... I love the site!
    Tasha (Turf to Surf)

  3. Be careful what you offer around us, Tasha ... we're likely to take you up on it! :)

  4. http://mjsailing.com/sunday-november-25-2012/
    Adopting a boat cat a few months into cruising.

    Two months in, what we're learning about life with a boat cat.

    Like Tasha said, if you need help on any of your topics, I'd also be more than happy to help.

    MJ Sailing

  5. ... and like we warned Tasha, we'll probably be taking you up on it!

    Loved your story about visiting the shelter. You articulated exactly my fear, and one of the reasons we're still catless 6 years after Tigger: "I'll take that one, and that one, and also the one over there ..." :D

  6. Jane,

    This post about cats onboard reminded me of something I just read in Spinsheet magazine last week. The link to the article below about Gullcat, replete with youtube video of it in action:


    S/V Octopussy


    1. This is hysterical! But I have to say our current swallow "infestation" is not even a bit disconcerted by our real, live cats - in fact they dive bomb the cats AND us - and they're so cute - Ean says it's like Walt Disney meets Alfred Hitchcock.

  7. I posted a bit about my ship's cats over on orbisnonsufficit.blogspot.com. Great space heaters for my first winter aboard!

  8. Confessions of a Boat Cat

  9. Sorry, here is the link to my post on my ship's cats: http://orbisnonsufficit.blogspot.com/2013/01/ships-cats.html

  10. bubba dabatkat has been a boatkat since he was 5 1/2 weeks pof age, has sailed the gulf of mexico, 6000 miles, and has sailed from san diego to zihuatenejo in our formosa ketch. he even has a fb page.
    he also shares our boats website
    when he decided to typo....

  11. The crew aboard SV Serenity writes about how their cat, Tack, may have reached spiritualization before them. Perhaps it was his close brush with death(?) when he fell in the water? They also recount Tack's newest hobby: seat snatching. What else are you gonna do for fun on a 30 foot boat? You can also read about the custom cat door they made and how they cleared Tack into Mexico. He's a frequent topic in our blog posts.

    The tabby's den: http://www.taketothesea.us/blog/2012/11/17/the-tabbys-den-sailing-blog-sv-serenity

    Tack overvoard: http://www.taketothesea.us/blog/2012/7/15/tack-overboard-sailing-blog-sv-serenity

    Fat cat on a little boat: http://www.taketothesea.us/blog/2013/1/16/fat-cat-on-little-boat-sailing-blog-sv-serenity

    The most expensive cat door in the world: http://www.taketothesea.us/blog/2012/8/17/the-most-expensive-cat-door-in-world-sailing-blog-sv-serenity

    International kitty: http://www.taketothesea.us/blog/2012/11/26/international-kitty-sailing-blog-sv-serenity

    1. Love the Tack stories. Congratulations - you been monkeyfi'ed. Thanks for your contribution!

  12. Come on people.. we are talking about cats here. Surely the only thing they are good for is an anchor in weed, right?
    I have discovered why you should never have a cat on a boat and what the best pet really is. It may surprise you.

  13. Mark, can I just say. Pfffttt. But I will admit that your ideas for other sea-going pets are quite ingenious. We did "dogs on board" and "cats on board" but never got around to the "other" compilation - chinchillas, birds, rabbits and rodents, lizards (semi-feral) and others have all been valued crew....

  14. http://svdenalirosenc43.blogspot.com/2015/09/a-day-in-life.html

    Everyone onboard SV Denali Rose participates in our daily routines.

    We asked Gus- one of our feline crew members- to share a typical day aboard his new home...