Bailey Boat Cat, a male seal point Siamese, is making waves as a sailing sensation as he shares his maritime adventures with the world. Bailey lives with his humans, Louise Kennedy and her partner, James, aboard Nocturne, a Tayana 37 sailboat based out of Rome, Italy. Not only is Bailey an avid sailor and Internet-famous feline, but he’s also the star of his own book “Bailey Boat Cat: Adventures of a Feline Afloat.”
Louise was kind enough to speak with Adventure Cats about what it’s like to have a sailing cat as a pet, friend, roommate and crewmember on the high seas. In case you’re wondering where a feline might fall in the ranks in a fine seafaring vessel, Louise assures us that Bailey regards himself as admiral.
Louise adopted Bailey when she lived on land in France, but they both moved together aboard Nocturne in Italy shortly thereafter. Bailey was 10 months old when he met Louise, and he’s been enjoying a life of adventure ever since. Louise says she was drawn to Bailey instantly.
“I took one look at his eyes in the photo on his advert, and knew he was the one,” she said.
Before setting sail, Bailey got all of his required vaccinations — and a French passport — and now he enjoys many cozy spots on his sailboat, as any kitty-in-charge would.
“To watch out, he loves sitting on the stern,” Kennedy said. “If we’re sailing, he wedges himself under the navigation table or in the bathroom cupboard, and to sleep he has his own sheepskin bed on top of the wardrobe.” (It sounds like Bailey has rather nice quarters on Nocturne.)
For sustenance at sea, Bailey enjoys regular cat biscuits and ill-fated (but presumably delicious) fish that have jumped on deck. A word to the fishes: That’s what you get for boarding a boat without permission!
As far as cat box needs go, Bailey uses a litter house designed to prevent spilling during rough waters. It is sometimes situated under the nav-table or in the boat’s head. He has a smaller travel litterbox for land excursions, too.
It turns out that Bailey is quite the natural sea kitty. During rough water, Kennedy says Bailey handles the rocking and rolling like a seasoned sea salt.
“He sleeps! In big seas he’ll sometimes come up into the cockpit and get some reassurance from us. He’s smart enough to beg for treats knowing he’ll get them, and then he goes down below again. In storms or very rough weather though, he wedges himself in and goes to sleep.”
It turns out that just like most of us, Bailey is not entirely immune to seasickness though. While in a marina, he might get sick just one time after returning to open water, but he recovers quickly and then enjoys the ride.
“We comfort him and encourage him to get some fresh air in the cockpit which, like humans, helps him feel better,” Kennedy said.
Regarding safety, Kennedy has some great tips about keeping a cat like Bailey secure and out of harm’s way.
“He’s usually quite smart and stays in the cockpit when the weather or swell is anything but perfect, but we always make sure we know where he is if he’s outside. The best safety tip is to ensure you’re aware and make sure you’re prepared if your cat falls overboard. We have a big net ready if Bailey does go over. If the conditions are bad, and you need to be concentrating solely on the boat and your safety, make sure your cat is safely tethered, in a travel box or closed into a cabin down below.
“Bailey also has (and has been trained to use) a rope ladder to climb up if he falls in while we’re on anchor.” Louise also points out that Bailey has been leash-trained since he was adopted and that he knows how to swim.
Bailey is no stranger to run-ins with sea life. According to his humans, he enjoys interacting with other ocean travelers — especially sea gulls.
“Bailey has a love/hate relationship with ‘Dinghy Devils’ as he calls them. He loves to watch them but gets very upset and agitated when they land on the dinghy and taunt him. One of his favorite pastimes is watching fish over the side of the boat while we’re on anchor, and he’s always curious when we encounter dolphins.”
Bailey is not the only seafaring critter on board Nocturne, however. Louise recently introduced two Russian hamsters to the crew. Bailey naturally outranks his fellow furry friends on board … and might even have thoughts of luring them to the galley.
“Bailey wants to eat them so they’re affectionately known as the lobsters, Thermidora and Bisque. We live aboard all year round, and they are adjusting well to life afloat. They’re a great entertainment feature for Bailey; he enjoys watching them.” (Well, at least he hasn’t made them walk the plank or swab the decks!)
When asked just how “impurrtant” Bailey Boat Cat is to life on Nocturne, Kennedy said, “He keeps us both happy, and he completes our family and crew. Getting off a watch and having a purring cuddle is a great morale boost. I really can’t imagine going sailing without him now.”
Meow that’s quite an endorsement.
Along with sailing the seas, Bailey has come to enjoy his recent fame, thanks to many posts featuring his incredible adventures. Bailey has even been appointed by the Museum of Maritime Pets as an Ambassador at Sea. Louise even tells Adventure Cats how people sometimes recognize Nocturne and are itching to meet this famous seafaring kitty.
Watch out Leonardo DiCatprio, Bailey might just be king of the world!
All photos are courtesy of Louise Kennedy.