02 August 2013

"Normal" for Cats on Boats

I just collected a bunch of great blog posts about what passes as "normal" when you live on a boat.  You can find links on The Monkey's Fist.  In most of these posts, you'll detect a bit of wistfulness for the "old normal" - life on land, with big beds, unlimited ice, short walks to flushing toilets and showers with unlimited hot water....  But also the recognition that the "new normal" includes some pretty cool stuff, like dolphin visits, self-sufficiency, and home travel (that is, traveling with your home).

Isabel, chilling out in the salon
Now that we are getting ready to move back to land, I've been thinking about the adjustments in store for our useless crew: Isabel, Tucker, and Percy.  Mostly, they've done a great job adjusting to being on the boat - but I think they will be thrilled to be back ashore again.  Here's what "normal" has been for the past two years:

Our home rocks and rolls!  When the cats jump up on the beds, they've learned to jump a bit higher than necessary, and they land on all four paws.

Our home has windows of odd sizes and in odd places.  Some windows can be used as doors, but others are not safe to climb through!  All of our cats have gone overboard (once each, only while dockside) - Percy jumped out a porthole and found himself in the water.  The overhead hatches are a source of endless wonder.  They frequently sit on our bed and gaze skyward.  They jump down on us from the open hatches with a battle cry - "Death From Above!"  Our salon hatches are favorites for passage to and from the bow.

Our home makes weird noises.  I still remember how Percy flew the first time he was on hand to hear the electric toilet flush.  Generator and engine noises no longer faze them.  They've learned to ignore the random creaks and the slaps of waves hitting the hull.

Our home is hot.  They're used to the tropic heat and they've been mostly very healthy - except for some itchy ear problems.  Poor Tucker has been driven nuts.

Our home has a lot of great hiding places.  It's not as big as a house, but the spaces are carved up in much more interesting ways.

They've learned to share.  Since we moved on a boat, the cats make due with fewer litter boxes (2 instead of 3) and fewer bowls (only 1 water bowl now, and 2 food bowls).  They hang out together - for Isabel, especially, this is a huge concession.

They've transitioned from canned food to dry food.  A sad few weeks.  We took this drastic step in Colombia, when a can of cat food cost $2.50 and the grocery stores only kept a half dozen cans in stock.

Tucker now poops on newspaper instead of in litter.  Saves on litter and mess, and saves him from sneezing.

On land, they used to love going outside and rolling in the dirt.  Now, they still enjoy the great outdoors - but no dirt.

On land, they used to try to catch birds.  Here on the boat, they try not to be caught by the birds (pelicans and egrets are scary).

Do not mess with this guy - he will peck your little brains out!

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The Monkey's Fist

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