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Pet Columnist

Do cats like boats? Aye aye, kit'n!

Dear Fisher:

My problem is going on a boat with my family. It's not that I don't love the water, but I get scared of the noises and boats coming and going. Can you tell me how to get rid of my scaredy-cat behavior?

Tater

I do know of a cat who rode around on a speedboat on a giant lake in northern Minnesota. He loved it! It isn't uncommon for some dogs and cats to go on boats. I think going over some rules and precautions will set your heart rate at ease.

Dogs are better boaters if the adventure is shorter, like a day trip. They adapt quickly to their new surroundings. Cats may take a little longer to adapt to the boat, but once there and settled in, they could go forever. I highly recommend Diana B. Jessie's book, Cruising with Your Four-Footed Friends. Her book is full of great advice for you and your owners, like:

• Do a trial run before planning that "ultimate" adventure. Your humans should introduce you to your new quarters and pathways, slowly, without leaving the dock.

• Take a short romp around the deck to get used to the feel of being on the water.

• Add motor noises and activities as you are feeling more comfortable to ensure a happy sail.

Everyone on the boat should have a personal flotation device — except the cat. Even the smallest "dog" PDF does not fit a cat well and limits their movement. Jessie trains her cats for rescue by hanging a towel off the boat and teaching them to climb it. If they fall off, they can swim to the towel and get back on board. Brilliant!

Do cats like boats? Aye aye, kit'n! 05/01/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 5, 2008 1:19pm]

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