In April we reported about Amelia, the seasoned sailor accompanying Captain Liz Clark on her round-the-world adventures. Now it's time to meet the latest feline sailor - introducing six-month-old Maine Coon kitten Strauss von Skattebol of Rebelpawz. Yes – you read that right! The cat, known as Skatty for short, adores sailing with his pet parent Paul Thompson and has a huge job to do while the pair are at sea. Thompson is completely deaf and without any training whatsoever, Skatty has learned that he needs to be his dad’s ears when they’re bobbing around the coast of New Zealand.
Thomas explained: "He has twigged that I don’t hear and of his own accord he lets me know if a boat comes alongside, people are at my door and when my phone receives text messages."
The duo's relationship was forged following the passing of Thompson's previous cat, a gray Tabby named Tommy. Having cruised between South Africa, the Americas, Mexico, Canada, and the US, the 15-year friendship came to an end with Thompson resolving to train a new shipmate. Enter Skatty, just fourteen weeks old.
"Having a cat on board forces you to slow down and take life at your cat's pace… I learn to see things in a new light or from a different perspective," Thompson mused.
A computer programmer from South Africa, Thompson himself built La Chic, the pair's boat, which he and Skatty live on board during the summer months. If you look closely, you'll notice that Skatty has something else that most cats don't – an extra toe. Polydactyl cats were thought by sailors to be good luck, and Skatty has certainly proved his worth to his pet parent. While cats usually hate the water, Maine Coons actually enjoy a refreshing dip. However, Skatty tends to keep his paws firmly on deck - having fallen into the ocean once, he isn't too keen to repeat that adventure!
You're doing a fantastic job, Skatty, and we can't wait to hear more about your adventures. 2017 will hopefully see Skatty's very first circumnavigation and he's also training to be a therapy cat. If you'd like to keep up with Skatty and his adventures, follow the sailing cat on Facebook.