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Nermal or Nemo?

Posted by on August 4, 2011

With fewer than three months to departure, our lives are full of questions: where to store scuba tanks, how exactly will we mount the solar panels, where will we even BE in six months?

And… can our cat swim?

We discovered the answer to that last question bright and early this morning.

Nermal is a relatively new addition to the crew. He was one in a litter of stray kittens born at Bohemia Bay  last summer. He was very friendly and joined the crew in November as a “foster kitty.” At least one of us planned to find him a permanent (landlubbing) home. I repeatedly pointed out all of the extremely logical reasons why we should not have a cat on board: fur, limited space, a litter box, added travel complications… fur. Brad convinced me that we should keep him “just a little longer.” My husband knows me well and quite quickly, I was in love and our kitty had a permanent, floating home.

Except for the occasional snowball we brought inside for entertainment (yes, we got a little bored with no TV and plenty of snow last winter), Nermal had no interest in the outdoors when it was cold. But since summer has arrived, he enjoys hanging out in the cockpit, chasing spiders and watching the sparrows try to nest in our mast (that’s another post entirely).

So early in the morning, I usually let him hang out, leaving the companionway open and checking on him every few minutes. So far, without incident. This morning, though, I checked on him one minute, and he was sitting primly on top of the coachroof. I went back below to make coffee, popped my head up no more than a minute and a half later, and he was gone. I frantically scanned the empty dock and listened to the early morning, mid-week silence of the marina. My heart dropped into my stomach. I turned and looked around the water, and there he was, swimming like a little orange otter in the middle of the fairway. I ran down to the dingy dock he was heading for and forced myself to pause before diving in after him (the dead fish floating 3 yards away helped). He was moving like a little speedboat and didn’t appear to be struggling, so I just encouraged him until he was close enough to grab.

Both of us drenched and relieved, we climbed the ladder and headed back to the boat for a bath and some treats.

So now we know our cat can swim like an otter, and being sea-loving people, we couldn’t be happier. Maybe someday he will even follow in the pawsteps of this feline trailblazer and enjoy fish from a different perspective!

I hope the kitty and I have both learned something from this. For my part, I’m revoking unsupervised outdoor privileges for now, and I’m moving “Make Cat Rescue Net” to the top of the TO DO list.

6 Responses to Nermal or Nemo?

  1. Dad

    Looks like there’s nothing normal about Nermal. Perhaps you should have let him watch shark week on Discovery channel last week.

    • Brad

      We’ll have to see if he wants to continue swimming or if he has learned his lesson.

  2. kathy

    Nermal does need a lifejacket!

  3. shannon

    that’s great that he can swim! I wonder how he fell in?

    • Brad

      My guess is that he was chasing the swifts that are flying all around the dock, he’s fascinated by them!

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