|A wet Aristocat, one of my favorite Disney movies.|
Our grey, tabby cat Gus, was basically a feral cat when he came to live with us. He'd been staying outdoors, with Bill feeding him food and warm water, and trying to coax him into the heated garage at night. One evening in October, it was -5F, and Bill knew he wouldn't make it at those temperatures, so Gus was picked up, and brought into the house, where he has lived ever since.
He had an adjustment period with the other animals, but everyone worked it out in no time. After he had been inside a day or two, we found him buried in the cat toy box having the time of his life, he couldn't believe all of these toys were for him! (Elsie had no interest in them anymore, "what, that old thing?")
This history leads up to how we care for him now. We have always brought our cats in at night, knowing predators, and bad things happen after dark. On Denali Rose, during the day, we leave the companionway cafe doors open a couple of inches, so they can come, and go. Gus, and Elsie like to watch the comings, and goings from the cockpit, or on deck. We give them a serving of wet food, one in the morning, one in the evening, and when they come in for dinner, we close the doors, keeping them in for the night. Sunday evening, Gus had been out racing around the boat, he likes to leap to the top of the dodger, the bimini, careening off, and landing back on the deck. When we are in our slip, he also races around the next door commercial fishing boat. If we wait too late to corral him, his feral tendencies take over, and it's difficult to get him back inside. We're in Wrangell on the dock, dinner was served, but we had waited too late, and we couldn't find him.
After Bill went out searching, and calling, we sat down to eat our dinner, watch a movie, kept Elsie in, and left the door open a crack so Gus could come in, when he returned. About 8:30pm, we heard a pitiful meow, Gus ran down the companionway stairs, and leaped up on the nav table where his evening vittles still sat. He plunged his head in, and didn't look up till they were gone. As he sat there, he dripped water in big puddles, and when we petted him, he was soaking wet. Bill tasted the water, it was salty.
|Soaking wet, hungry cat, sitting in a puddle of water inhaling his food.|
We waited for him to finish, and then got warm, wet towels to wash him off, and dry him. What we are assuming, since we didn't hear anything, Gus fell in the water somewhere, managed to get himself back up on the dock, lost his break-away collar somehow, and came home. We've walked the docks looking for any clues as to where he went in, how he got out, or his missing collar, but we didn't find anything. [It had been raining earlier in the evening, so there were no wet paw prints to follow on the dock...]
|Gus squirming while he gets his warm rubdown.|
|Gus is a happy kitty, waking up the next morning, after snuggling Dad's leg all night.|
|He is pleased to wear his new blue collar, to replace the one he lost.|
Because of the way Gus races around the boat, we have always said that it's a matter of when, not if he falls in. I braided a large bundle of old 3 strand dock lines, and we hang that off of the stern for a climbing ladder in anticipation of him needing to climb out, but it wasn't deployed at the dock.
We don't want to change his quirky personality, but we're hoping he slows down, and becomes a wiser, more careful cat.
As always, we enjoy hearing from you, either here in comments or on our Facebook Denali Rose Sailboat page.