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Boatyard Dog (CAT!) - Issue 128

Tikki: Cutter Cat

By Gretchen Piston Ogden
TikkiThe live-aboard expert and mediator extraordinaire. Photo: Gretchen Piston Ogden
Our editor at large, Gretchen Piston Ogden, has been sailing south this winter. She wrote to us recently during a stopover in Beaufort, South Carolina. Gretchen, her husband, Michael, and their boat-cat, Tikki, moved aboard their steel cutter Syrinx in October and set sail from Rockport, Maine, headed toward warmer climates. Gretchen reports that, after a period of adjustment, all are settling in just fine: Tikki can’t speak or hold a pen, of course, but if she could, here’s some advice she’d offer to other feline (or canine) readers of this column if they consider running away to sea. First, realize that the transition to living aboard will be possibly more difficult for your captain and mate than for you. During this period, you, the live-aboard cat, must be sensitive to the needs of your human companions. Realize that it will take time for them find their sea legs and try not to take it personally when they step on your tail. Again. Help them adjust by drawing upon your innate diplomatic talents—your ability to mediate and interpret will do much to ensure harmonious discourse on board ship. Make things easy for your fellow crewmembers. Eat everything that is put in front of you. Keep your bunk neatly made up. Stow your gear before the ship puts out to sea. Sleep. A lot. Volunteer for night watches. Put your marlinspike seamanship skills to use. All these efforts will go far to ensure you a permanent billet as a bona fide member of the crew. Is it worth it? If she could speak, Tikki would most likely say yes. Then she would share this little secret: her duties are not much different now than they were on land. She eats, she sleeps, she plays, she entertains the crew, she sleeps, she eats….

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