Name: Larry and Debbie Gaddy
Boat name: Tropical Blend
Boat model: Nordhavn 43
Years cruising with pet: Two and a half years
Funniest moment: In Barra de Navidad Mexico, there is a baker (El Horno Francais) that comes into the marina every morning selling fabulous baked goods. Quincy happens to like french bread, and he would get very excited when he heard the bell ringing, which announced his arrival.
He also loves fried chicken. We hadn't had any for over a month, and the first time we went in to Panama City, we found that the Price Smart (very similar to Costco) sold it. We took some back, and while we were bringing the rest of the groceries on board, he leaped up on the table and was trying to open the box.
We were boarded while cruising from Columbia to Honduras, by the Honduran Navy. They asked on the radio how many crew (there were two of us), and we had to present ourselves on the swim platform. After the officer came on board and entered the pilothouse, where Quincy was sleeping, he solemnly declared that we had three crew, and then laughed.
Scariest moment: We were taking a brief trip back to the states, leaving Bocas del Toro before sunrise. We had the doors open as we were offloading our bags, and when we got ready to lock up the boat, we couldn't find Quincy. Even though he almost never leaves the boat, we thought that he had jumped on to the dock, and we went looking for him. Eventually we found that he had just wandered onto the bow.
Treasured memories: Whenever we come back to the boat, either at a marina or by dinghy, he knows we are there, and he starts meowing loudly - the ever-present greeter.
He likes to pilot the boat from the helm seat.
On a difficult cruising day (6' head seas with a 5 second period) with the FUBAR fleet, many pets got sick, but not Quincy. He needed to use his litter box, and he figured how to spread eagle all of his legs to balance himself and do his business. We wanted to take a picture, but we had to reserve his dignity.
Unexpected/unanticipated difficulties: Finding cat food in remote places that he will eat. He's 21 years old, and he can get really picky. He hasn't figured out that his favorite brand of Fancy Feast isn't always available.
Unexpected/unanticipated joys: For a cat that had never been on a boat before, and hated being in cars, we thought he wasn't going to be very happy. But, he took to cruising just fine, and never gets seasick or complains.
He has routines - when the engine starts, he has a place in the salon were he curls up to sleep. When the engine stops, he knows it is dinnertime and lets us know in no uncertain terms. Lately he started yowling when the anchor would drop, and now he recognizes the stack blowout. He's a constant companion.
Worst thing about traveling with pets: Finding food and supplies in remote places.
Trying to stay legal with import restrictions, such as health certificates. It's not really feasible to be getting to a vet every time we move to a new island. Since officials never ask for the certificate, we can't claim him anymore.
Best thing about traveling with pets: He's part of our family. We've had him for almost twenty years, and two years before we left on our cruise, he was diagnosed with kidney failure, common to older cats. We didn't think he would be with us when we started, but there he was, and he's still with us. He does love being around us almost all of the time, and he's still a joy to us. Not many kitties have visited 22 countries.
Advice: With older animals, you have to plan your cruise around the pet somewhat. We can't leave the boat for more than a couple of days at a time. A cat is lower maintenance than a dog, so we think that it's easier to cruise with a cat. Especially for a dog, you need to be aware of pet import regulations.
Other: Funny story - not our pet, but a friend we were cruising with (N40 Salacia) had a small dog on board. Dogs are not allowed on the beaches in the islands of the Sea of Cortez, so Neil left Chewy on board, but he was concerned with his barking. While on the beach one day, I suggested that he use the VHF to scold him. When Neil heard the barking, he would yell, "Chewy no!" over the radio, and there would be silence for a while.