Cat-Proofing the Boat

We have our own litter of cats, and find that we can’t spend as much time on the boat as we’d like because we have to be home to feed the critters and excavate the litter boxes. Yes, that’s plural. If litter was sand, we’d have severely depleted the Sahara by now, and there’s no end in sight. With four cats, multiple hygiene stations are a necessity, and our morning routine now includes giving them all food, and sorting through the litter boxes to see what treasures were left during the night.

Anyway, this means that if we want to spend any appreciable stretch of time on the boat, we need to make provisions for at least the two youngest cats to join us. The two older ones are a little more self-sufficient, a little less active in their enjoyment of the litter boxes, and frankly, would probably enjoy a brief respite from the young ones.

Now the boat has a fairly large enclosed area at least by cat standards, but the two little ones have come to expect their morning prowl through the fenced backyard, so keeping them inside for a few days at a time on the boat might be an issue.

They have no concept of water, so letting them out in the aft cockpit won’t work, because one wrong step along the edge of the deck, and they would be in very unfamiliar and soggy territory. We’ve discussed hanging a couple strips of carpet remnant over the edge so there would be something to climb, but I just don’t want to deal with a pissed-off, wet, scared cat.

We do have a flybridge, and the front is enclosed, but the back is open, so again, if we take them up there, and something like say, a seagull catches their attention, we could be back to the wet cat situation.

So we are checking with companies who do marine canvas to se what it would take to close in the back of the flybridge area with some screen. It would be nice for all, since we could then sit up there in the evening and enjoy the view without being visited by every mosquito in town.

We are finding that as with everything else boat-related, it isn’t as easy as it seems like it ought to be. To enclose the back, a new connection point for he screen needs to be located along the existing canvas bimini top. Canvas is used here in a generic sense, because the material is actually a composite of some sort, but soft goods are just referred to as “canvas”. So anyway, in order to hang the screen vertically, a new seam would need to made cross-wise along the rear portion of the existing top. This won’t work, we’re told, because the existing top is old, and taking it down and putting it back up after the new seam was installed would probably cause it to self-destruct.

We asked, “Is there an answer?”

“Why certainly” the nice canvas-cutting lady replied. “It’s simple…just make new bimini top and include the screen as part of it.”

Simple. I hate that word. It’s a synonym for expensive.

So we’ve gone from a piece of screen to a piece of screen attached to a brand new top. And guess what. Those clear plastic bits that now enclose the front and sides…they won’t fit the new top, so yeah, they need to be replaced with new clear plastic bits. Simple.

We have one quote, and are waiting to make an appointment with another outfit to see what they’d charge. In the meantime, the cats are looking at me going “Daddyyyyy, when do we get to go on the boat?”


About TwoCaptains

The TwoCaptains are Jim and Janet, both US Coast Guard licensed boat captains home-ported in Daytona Beach. We recently sold our 1990 Ocean Yachts 56' CPMY "Magic Carpet", and now we're in the hunt for a replacement.
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