Boating Adventures | "Skipper the Boat Cat Finally Earns His Name" | Article and 8 Photos by Vicki Totten

Skipper chillin in his favorite spot above the companionway.

When we decided to name our kitty Skipper, it was with the hope that he would become our boat cat. Since his first experience of being with us was on the boat, and he was only six weeks old when we found him, we hoped we could groom him so that one day he would earn his name. If you compare his comfort on a boat with most other felines, I think it's pretty safe to say he has finally earned his name. But it hasn't been without periods of doubt and drama.

A few months ago, I was ready to give up on this happening. For the first six months of his going back forth to the boat, he was perfectly content on the boat. That attitude, however, had begun to change over the past few months. He had started punching out screens on our ports to get outside and then jumping onto other people's boats - often when we were sleeping. Maybe that was his adolescent stage and he has now moved on to a different developmental stage. During our most recent time on the boat, he has not punched through any screens, nor jumped onto any other boats. Of course, another plausible explanation for his sudden appreciation for the safety of our boat could be the mishap that happened the last time he was here, when an ill-timed leap landed him in the water.

Thanks to pharmaceuticals, the three hour ride in the car was much more pleasant. 
Skipper had a nice long nap in the car.

And while he hasn't quite overcome his dislike of car travel, his human parents now have a prescription that seems to have solved the problem of transporting him to and from the boat. Just to be clear, it is a prescription Skipper takes, instead of drugging his human parents.

It has become clear that Skipper enjoys and possibly even prefers boat life. When we are on the boat, he becomes very affectionate and loving with us - much more so than when we are at our house. I interpret that as his way of thanking us for continuing to bring him with us. And his comfort on the boat even extends to when we go out sailing and he has to wear a life vest.

Skipper waiting for us to pass by so he can gently grab for us.

Time for the life vest.
Skipper encouraging me to write my blog. 

Of course, he still gives us that same look that every child I have ever put a life vest on gives. It's that put upon look that so clearly conveys their disdain for having to wear one. Luckily, he also seems perfectly content wearing his harness when on the boat, even though he is very particular about which harness he will wear. After he managed to ditch the cheap Walmart harness when we got home from the boat (I think he thought it uncool for a house cat to be seen wearing one), I decided to upgrade it to a more expensive one. His response was to immediately fall onto his side and refuse to get up. So, it was back to Walmart for the one he prefers, even though that one is now hung up in a tree. We had been out walking when he spotted a very tall tree in front of the art center, and I lost my grip on the leash when he headed up the tree.
Skipper is used to really big trees when he is home.

If you look carefully, you will see his red harness and leash.

I said he has earned his name, not that he is perfect.

Vicki and husband, ceramic artist Stan Irvin, are both retired professors who have discovered the joys of Rockport and living part-time on their 33' sailboat, while exploring new sailing destinations and adventures.

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