|Meow and hello there,
I’m Puff (pronounced “Poof”),
ship’s cat,and I run this boat.
I took over this boat in late 2010 and what a sorry mess – they had no idea how to do a cat’s job. Since then I’ve worked very hard to get things back to normal. It’s been hard work but I think I’m starting to see signs of progress.
I was born in a small city in the East of England, I never really knew my parents. I remember Mom until one day this person dressed in yellow caught me and my sister Piff – we never saw Mom or our siblings again. Piff and I spent about 6 months in a cat shelter – boy what you don’t see when you live in a cat shelter. We were dry, had a basket with a heating pad to sleep in, the food was OK but I really felt that I was wasting my potential in there. Then one day these 2 people showed up with another human, they brought a piece of rope with them which I quickly grabbed and showed them every rope trick I knew plus a few I made up on the spot. Piff wasn’t too sure about the rope business and more sat back and watched me “ply my trade.” Sure enough the next day the 3 of them returned, the elder man took Uncle Charlie while the other 2 took me and my sister away. I can’t say much positive about the drive to our new home, it was a little distressing to be in Betsy the car but finally we got to a boatyard and were able to get a breath of fresh air – sea air. I was already feeling invigorated!
Uncle Charlie went to a large motor boat called Kakatua which was 4 boats away and we didn’t see much of him after that. Being a hunting cat he eventually was given his own gang plank and we would see him going out to work in the early evening and returning in the early morning, usually with something for the table. He chatted to us a couple of time – him on the ground and us up on the deck of the boat – but like I said, we didn’t see much of him after a while. All the boats were out of the water and in various stages of repair or maintenance so we weren’t going down onto the ground ourselves.
But back to us. Piff and I had been relocated onto a boat that was in terrible shape! Everything was in its proper place, ropes were coiled, open containers were upright instead of spilled over. I’ve never really seen such a mess in my life. I’ll never forget my first impressions of what was to be my new home: “nice place but it needs a cat’s touch.” A Halberg-Rassy 41! I had heard tales of them but never thought I would see one myself. Being a ketch they have a lot more “string” to play with and many many more nooks and crannies to hide in. The sucessor to the 41 was the 42 and it’s nice, don’t get me wrong it’s a good boat, but nowhere near the same amount of challenge for a cat. That night I made a bit of fuss to let “the two” know I was protesting my relocation but deep down in my heart I had this good feeling. I figured it was a good fit – me and this boat. As long as they kept slinging the food my way, things were going to be OK.
Over the next 11 months I gradually got things sorted out. I continued to see ever less of Uncle Charlie but my sister and I were busy enough with our own work. “The two” were in the process of laying teak & holly flooring when I arrived. Now I’m not fussy whats going to get cut up – as long as there are offcuts to play with. Well the teak and holly worked out OK, there were lots of cuts during the fitting and lots to play with. But let me tell you, a router sure does make a lot of noise. “The two” seemed to want to keep the big bits for themselves – OK with me, after all who can play with a 1/2 square metre piece of flooring? I’m telling you, “that pair” have a screw loose if you ask me. But they do feed me…
They seemed to tire of their big pieces and gave them to Kaktua where Uncle Charlie was shacked up. Some people you can’t tell a thing! Of course they were going to get tired with big pieces, how can you play with big pieces??? Anyway, I never got the chance to ask Uncle Charlie what his human did with the teak and holly pieces but I think he stuck it on the fridge or something. Different strokes for different folks I guess.
“The two”continued working on the boat, as spring arrived more and more work was outside. They were kind to me, I was given a water tray on the deck so I could work on my technique for catching fish without getting wet. They seem to think I’m going to swim in it – how stupid can they be? Not to be cruel but they are a thick pair. They also got me a basket for the cockpit off of eBay, nice enough, ’bout the right size, but it stinks of chihauhau. I mean come on, would you like to sleep in something that reeks of chihauhau? They keep placing me in it but I give it a wide berth – if you know what I mean.
It was about this time when my sister and I were taken away in Betsy again, no sign of Uncle Charlie this time. We went to some cat doctor and each of us got a “Sicilian necktie”. I had no idea, we went there in our travelling cages and were popped out onto a metal table. Freaky or what? Anyway these female humans took us aside and we got our neckties. Didn’t bother either of us that much, more a case of us wondering what was going on. I figured something was afoot but Piff wouldn’t have any of it. Then a while later we went to see real primo vet, name of Dr. Sumners. Seems that something we got back at the cat shelter was an ID Chip in the back of the neck – when I found out that I felt like I was in Blade Runner or something! Anyway Dr Sumners was able to take some paperwork and issue us each a Pet Passport. I’m telling you, I was ready to travel before they could say “kibble time”.
A slightly fuzzy picture of me and my sister Piff (she’s in front)
It was about this time my sister took ill. Not really sure what caused it, she was just feeling the stress ever since we had left Mom, and what with not seeing Uncle Charlie or any of the rest of the family she took it sort of hard. She was having trouble, no doubt about it, “those two” took her to Dr Sumner who worked wonders – the lady really has the touch. Turned out Piff had cystitis but the doc got her back in shape with a bit of medicine and some special food. But me, I was really wondering to myself, it just don’t make sense to get stressed out on a place like this. I’m telling you, there are so many corners and items to hind under, behind, inside of, it just never ends. I tried to discuss this with “sis” but it was just sort of a “no go” topic if you take my point. Anyway to wrap up this tale, dear old Piff went down again with the stress, don’t ask me, I just don’t know. Me, I love this stuff, boats, string everywhere, not a square corner in the place, but not her. Anyway, the Doc figured she had never seen a worse case so things weren’t looking too good. “Those two” had a chat with the good Doc and it was decided that for my sister’s well being she should find a less stressful environment. Me, I was sorry to see her go of course, but what’s best is best, and I trust the Doc, she has a real way with these things. And no, I haven’t heard from my sister since, I just hope she’s doing well.
So that was about April 2011, since then I’ve been on my own here. To be honest, I must admit that I was curious what all that Pet Passport stuff had been about but after a while I gave up trying to figure it out. As we moved into summer I learned about barbeques – one of the best ways to prepare cat food if you ask me. Everybody’s got their own favourites but for me, give me salmon or tuna on the BBQ. I will do anything for that stuff. I’ve learned that the prepatory signs are getting the coals out and marinating seafood. Boy I see either activity and I get myself into position – it don’t matter what I’m doing, “tuna-time” at the BBQ just out ranks everything else. I’m not sure what a tuna or a salmon is, someday maybe I’ll find out.
A short word on litter. “The two” don’t seem to use it, don’t ask me what they do in place of litter, beats me. Anyway, I prefer pine-pellet litter. It really is fresher (and stays fresher) than the bentonite based litters. Liquids that hit the pine-pellets simply cause the pellet to expand, soak up the liquid and then the natural resins of the pine wood mask any unpleasant odours. And you know what I mean by unpleasant odours. So at the end of a couple of days the litter is pretty well expanded into pine sawdust, the pine resins are masking any odours and the sawdust is coating any solids. Everything is organic so the tray can be tipped out anywhere that organic waste can be left. A 20 kg (30 litre) bag of pine pellet litter lasts me about 2 months. Also it’s pretty nifty at soaking any spillage as the pellets just absorb the liquid and turn into sawdust.
Other cats ask about what options there are for hunting on a boat, well here’s an action photo of me – the thing is I almost caught the bird but it was behind some glass or window.
You know something that really gets me? Food ratings on boats. You just Google “cruise food” and see what you get. Who cares about cruise ships and the rest, I want to tell you about good old kibble. Now I eat a dry diet, my theory being that if I need wet then I got the old water dish. So let me tell you, all kibble ain’t created equal. Here I’ve prepared a list of my favourites along with a couple of special treats (see the previous paragraph on BBQs).
|UK||Morrisons||this was my first post-shelter kibble and the stuff was OK.|
|ASDA||this one makes the grade too|
|Tesco||no problems with this one|
|Aldi||this is OK with me, I didn’t realise I’d be seeing it in other countries|
|Belgium||Aldi||my first and only Belgian kibble – right up there with Belgian beer, boy those Belgian cats know how to eat…|
|Netherlands||Aldi||this is the third go-round for me with Aldi and I still like the stuff|
|Lidl||this stuff ain’t too bad either|
|Albert Hein||now don’t get upset, but this stuff just don’t turn my crank…|
|C1000||I could make do with this stuff|
|Jumbo||Somethin’ about kibble from a store with an elephant as a mascot that appeals to me|
|Sweden||ICA & Coop||Räkfrossa (Prawn Feast)
This is the ultimate, can only be beaten by fresh prawns. Five stars.
|Coop||Salmon flavour, this is do-able.|
|ICA||Basic (beef flavour), this stuff should stay shelf, suitable for dogs!|
|special food morsels:||tuna – nectar of the gods, I’ll do anything for this one|
|salmon – another top one, I do have trouble leaving this one on the plate|
Map of “Good Spots”
Now you ask anyone about cruise ships, everybody has their favourite spot. Such and such a deck, certain side of the ship, you name it, everybody has a favourite. In this section I plan to share mine with you.
|1||The “Watch Tower” – I control the boat, both inside and outside, from this vantage point. I have a personal entrance/exit via my own window. Nothing gets by me in this spot.|
|2||My basket under the saloon table. A great place to control the comings and goings of the people. Nice and cool in the summer, and nice and central!|
|3||My Television Towel. Called this because of the Dickinson diesel heater – my sister and I used to call it the Pet TV because of its heat and the picture in the little window. You miss a bit up here but boy is it warm in winter.|
|4||This is a dominant position, nobody gets in or out without my say so – I block the companionway ladder. I can see down onto the food preparation counters, across the saloon table and also back into the cockpit. No way “tuna time” gets by me when I’m sitting here.|
|5||My Chihauhau basket. Under the windscreen, out of the wind, about 300 degrees of visibility. Not too bad when it’s warm outside but shucks, they gotta do somethin’ about that dog smell…|
|6||This is my private office – the pump bench in the engine room. On a cold day, after the engine running for a while, this is where I chill out (so to speak). I’ve figured out where I can step to cross the engine once the engine room door is opened – don’t want to burn those foot pads by stepping on the wrong piece.|
Anyway, that’s about it for now. Any of you cats and dogs out there that are ship-bound and want to drop me a line, feel free. And if anyone sees Mom, Uncle Charlie or Piff, do let me know.
These Are Just Some of My Favourite Books
While lounging around the decks, I like to keep up on my reading. And one of my favourite topics is me! Or at least my cats like me…
I should point out that it takes me a while to get through a book, I need to lie on them – preferably in the sun. And I like to lie on both covers – paperbacks are better for this as they are softer when sleeping. Then I like to sniff some of the pages – just to randomly sample the book. Occasionally I’ll taste a page that smells really interesting.
I’ve enjoyed all of the following books:
- Cat Watching by Desmond Morris
It’s a brief book in question and answer form about common questions regarding domestic cats like me. Who would have known that he started out working with and studying large cats (felines)? It makes a domestic cat (felid) like me look at his work with more respect.
- The Secret Language Of Cats by Susanne Schötz
It’s nice to see academia (Lund University in Sweden) applying phonetic research to the language of cats.
- The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
This is a beauty, a lovely road story of a man with a terminal condition trying to find a home for his beloved cat. And part of the sad story is told from my fellow cat’s perspective.
- Sex and the Kitty by Nancy the Cat (Melissa Tredinnick)
An expose on English society as seen from the eyes of a young female black cat – just like me!
- All kibble is not created equal
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