On the subject of establishing our 3.5year old cat Oscar on the boat:
A bit of research on the DBA’s ‘Barge Life’ forum (especially for the purpose of discussing domestic boating issues – as opposed to all other boating issues practical and mechanical), as well as a timely article in this month’s BlueFlag (the DBA members’ magazine), has revealed that the best thing one can do for one’s boat-bound feline is to:
A) Furnish him with a “Loc8or” on his collar, which emits a loud noise/ bright light when you press the button on your monitor to locate him. Clearly only for use in moments of sincere panic as to his whereabouts. If he survives the shock it’ll help me find him, wherever he is. Or let’s face it even if he doesn’t. http://www.loc8tor.com/uk/pets/
B) Put a “cat ladder” over the side of the boat for him to climb up should he fall in. This is a rather more poetic (and cheap) solution, comprising a decent rope with knots tied every 30cm or so.
And my own addition: keep him inside for as long as possible, but when he’s ready to go out just leave him to get on with it. He’s a cat. More to the point, he’s a scaredy cat. He won’t put himself in danger if he can possibly help it. Which is where the ladder and loc8or comes in.