Updated: Jan 23, 2021
We often get asked how Lillie, our boat kitty, adapted to life on a boat. At 9 years old, Lillie was no longer a kitten learning new tricks, but she had always been a laidback cat that was up for anything, unlike her brother, Kuma (read about Kuma here), who had a dominant personality. When we purchased our 47-foot catamaran (read more about the purchase here), Kuma Too, we wanted her to be comfortable on board, so as soon as we sailed into town from West Palm Beach, Lillie was brought aboard.
Kuma Too lives on anchor instead of at a dock, so Lillie had to ride out to the boat on our dinghy, which was more than a little frightening for her. Joe and I unloaded her carrier on the deck and opened the door. She cautiously crept through the door and looked around; she immediately walked inside and made a home under the salon table. Her litter box was down below in our cabin, so that encouraged her to explore areas other than just the salon. After a week of getting comfortable inside the boat, she realized that she was allowed outside on deck. After 9 years of being an indoor cat, Lillie didn’t know how to react when we let her go outside.
She spent another week slowly wandering around the cockpit area – under the table, at the base of the helm, on the seats, and looking around the corner that led to the water. Another week went by before she started looking over the side of the boat to realize her home was surrounded by water. The 4th week on board, she finally began to explore the whole boat by walking around the bow and on top of the cockpit. We debated tossing her in the water to ensure she knew it was indeed water and somewhere she did NOT want to go, but neither one of us wanted to do that. Two and half years in, she has not gone in the water yet.
In the beginning, we realized the dinghy ride would be too traumatic for her, so she lives on board 24/7, even when we’re ashore. She has full reign of the boat with small aft windows that we call “Lillie windows.” The windows are shielded from weather, so they are kept open to allow her to climb inside and out as she pleases. Kuma Too is a giant jungle gym for Lillie!
Lillie spends her evenings watching the sunset from on top of the sailbag then makes her way to the bottom step, called the sugar scoop, to wait for shrimp and minnows. As shrimp and small fish avoid being eaten by larger fish, they jump out of the water and land on Kuma Too’s sugar scoops, where a feisty feline is waiting for them. Lillie eats the shrimp and fish whole, leaving no evidence behind.
Lillie takes L-lysine twice a day to keep her coat clean and free of the dander that many people are allergic too. We have had family members and guests that are allergic to cats spend time with her without any issues. She loves people, but she will not go out of her way to makes friends. If you want to play with her, she will probably give you a few kisses, but if you don’t want to be near her, she will keep to herself.
Join us for a sail to meet Lillie the boat kitty. To learn about charters on board Kuma Too, visit www.SailingKumaToo.com
Until next week, Happy Sailing!
Edit July 31, 2019:
It is with broken hearts that we share, on July 23 we said goodbye to our loving furbaby and boat kitty, Lillie. After a long battle with asthma and upper respiratory issues, the final outcome was late stage cancer. She has lived an exciting life sailing around Florida, the Bahamas, the Atlantic Ocean and Virgin Islands. She now joins her brother Kuma over the rainbow bridge. Our third crew member already is and will be dearly missed.