Item posted: Wednesday 18th April , 2007
At a recent board meeting (in our local) we got to discussing what it is that stops us sailing more than we do. Surprisingly high up the list (alongside overwork and underpay) was "the cats".
Well! this is no good we thought. What can be done? ... We'll just have to take them with us.
After a merry half hour discussing foolproof ways of keeping cats out of the bilges, and how to fit a litter tray in the heads, we moved to 'on deck' issues and lifejackets. Are there even lifejackets for cats we wondered? A bit of online research revealed that several manufacturers make lifejackets for dogs and commonly the smallest sizes are listed as for dogs and cats. For the protection of our critters we opted to buy the Petfloat from Crewsaver and you can see the results here:
They dont look happy do they?
We were really impressed by the quality of the Crewsaver Petfloat. It's very well made, but there is no doubt that it is designed for a dog. Cats have much bendier backs than dogs and the pet float doesnt allow for that, so they cant curl up, jump easily or even sit normally. In addition to this, cats simply dont like having something tied round them. Have you ever tried to get a cat to wear a simple light weight harness? I know that some cats manage it fine, but in our experience they just roll on their sides and refuse to walk. A life jacket is like that but much worse. They have the whole "something's round me, I cant walk" thing going on, but being relatively bulky it just seems to unbalance them. they run into things and fall over, and for some reason 2 out of the 2 cats in our trial seemed to want to walk backwards??
So .. At the moment we think we'd be doing the cats a disservice by putting a life jacket on them while on board. It'd make them about 85% more likely to fall overboard, probably while running backwards. .... but at least we'd be able to grab the handle on their backs and pull them back on board. So the jury is out. The cats have a couple more days of wearing the jackets round the house ahead of them and we'll see how they go.
We're also planning to contact Crewsaver to see whether articulating the foam is a possiblity. We could cut it into sections and restitch into the jacket lining if that wouldnt affect the buoyancy. At least the cats could bend then.
Anyone else out there with experience of cats and lifejackets please do drop us a line. We'd love to hear what you've found! :)
Founder and former director of Western Horizon Yachts, Photographer, Web Techie, and reluctant blogger.