Every boat should have a ship's cat. Little did I know when I started life in Kentucky, in July of 1993, that I would become a ship's cat. I originally belonged to the Captain's friend Tilton's mother in Kentucky. She named me Bemdat. Yes, it's an unusual name, but it had meaning to her. The letters of my name are the first letters of all her children's and grand-children's names. She was a nice owner, but when I was about four, she passed away. The Captain's friend, Tilton took me back to his house in Houston. I was pretty happy there, as long as I stayed inside. Occasionally, I got out and there were bad neighborhood cats around who beat me up. Tilton didn't have many people over to his house, and when strangers were there, I generally hid from them. Tilton did have one friend who came over a few times that I liked. Turns out that was the captain. When he came over, I would come out and let him hold me. Well, in 2002, Tilton got sick, and he passed away. I could have gone back to Kentucky with Tilton's sister, but the captain said he would take me to his house. I was a little scared to move again, but a trip in the car sounded better than a trip in an airplane.
Well, the captains house is different from any house I had been in before. There are lots of noises I had never heard before, and the humans come in and out of the ceiling. The house always seems to move a little bit. At first I was pretty spooked by this place. I hid under the covers of the bed a lot. After a few weeks, I started getting used to the sounds and movements, and relaxed some. The captain was real nice to me and gave me treats each night before bed. A few months after being here, I decided to see what was up that ladder that went out the ceiling. The humans came and went through this hole, so there must be something out there. The ladder isn't hard to climb, so eventually I ventured out. Wow! These houses don't look like any I've seen before. They all have big sticks in the middle. And, there is no grass here. I'm not sure what the shiny stuff out there is, but there are frequently large birds floating around on it. I think they would be fun to chase, but they are about my size, so I'm not sure what I would do with one if I caught it. It took me a while, but eventually I got used to the sights and sounds of this place they call a marina, and now I really enjoy sitting in the cockpit and watching the world go by.
It's the fall of 2004, when the captain finally let me write this page. There is one thing I still have not gotten used to. Every now and then, my humans start hiding all the loose things, and then the captain does something that makes the house make a lot of noise. He calls it starting the engine. After he starts the engine, the whole house starts to move. Usually, after a little while he turns the engine off, but the house is still moving, and it usually leans way over to one side or the other. I don't like this at all, and I hide under the covers. Sometimes I yell at the captain, but he just laughs at me. Once, all the rocking around made me sick to my stomach. But usually, I just hide and wait for the motion to stop. I have heard the captain talking about "going cruising". I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I think it means we'll be moving more often. Hope I get used to it.
Update Nov 2008
It has been four years since the captain let me write about how I like life on a boat. I know, he puts cute pictures of me in the logs now and then, but he gets to make up the captions, not me. Well, initially I didn't like this cruising thing at all. Almost everyday we would be moving somewhere else. Every time I would come up into the cockpit the scenery had changed. Since I never get off the boat anyway, I guess it doesn't matter if what's out there is different everyday. We did a lot of moving around for the first two and a half years after we left TX. Most of it was ok. I would just curl up somewhere below and wait for the movement to stop. Occasionally, the seas would be rough, and I would get sick though. When I would feel bad, I would tell my people by meowing differently than I usually do. This would make Barb come running to try and move me to the floor so that when I threw up it was easier for her to clean up. They don't understand why I can't learn to do this myself, but once I feel bad, I don't like to move. Once or twice we were in very bumpy seas, and I was not having a good time. Once I was in the cockpit with my people, and I got thrown from one side of the cockpit to the other, without hopping down to the floor in between. Eventually, whenever the captain thought the ride might be uncomfortable, Barb would just lock me in the bathroom where my litter box is. I thought it was mean, but they said I would be better off there, since my box was there, it was easy to clean if I threw up, and I couldn't fly far and get hurt if the boat really lurched around. I guess they know what they are doing.
For the past year and a half, we have been staying in the same place. I really like that. The view from the cockpit is the same every day, and people walking along the dock always stop and say "What a pretty cat". I prefer handsome to pretty, but at least they notice me. The captain and Barb have been working, running the marina and bar, so most days I'm on the boat by myself all day. That's fine with me. I can catch up on my cat naps so that I can stay up all night to protect my people. I usually lay at the foot of the bed with them at night, but I don't sleep much. I just lay there and watch for anything bad. They say they have been lucky and never had a mouse or rat onboard, but I think it might be fun to have one to try and catch at night. They come home from the bar at night and sometimes talk about the bar animals. There are two dogs, apparently named Tammy and Mom, that they talk about. Occasionally the dogs walk down the dock to the boat, but they don't notice me if I sit real still. There also is a marina cat named Lou. It used to make me jealous that they would come home smelling like another cat, but I got over it. I realized that I got to sleep inside the nice dry, air conditioned boat, while Lou has to fend for herself outside all the time. I guess Lou is lucky that my people take care of her too. Just as long as they don't get any ideas about bringing her onboard with me.
Recently, my people have been talking about that cruising thing again. I though maybe they got that out of their systems, but apparently not. They just took a two week trip back to the States to get things before we start to cruise. One of the things they brought back was a whole bunch of special cat food for me. They took me to the vet school here in Grenada about nine months ago, and the vet said I was in the very early stages of kidney failure, which is typical of old cats. There is no immediate danger, but I have to eat special food now. It's looks and tastes like my old food, so I don't care, but they had to get it from the States to get enough to last us six months. While they were in the States, a nice girl named Caroline came over each day and took care of me. She talked to me and gave me treats each day, in addition to keeping my box clean. The captain keeps saying that when we cruise now, it will be nicer, since we will be on a gentle beam reach all the time - whatever that is. I think he said that last time to, and we always seemed to be bashing into the seas. I hope he's right this time.
Update Dec 2009
Well, the past year has been different for me. We left that nice marina in Grenada and started moving around all the time again. The captain was right, that the going wasn't as rough this time as it was getting here. But he also took to locking me in the head every time he moved the boat. He said it was for my own good. I never did get sick in the head, but that didn't stop him from putting me in there anyway when we were underway. In April I started hearing the captain and Barb talking about what to do about "him". It turns out "him" was me. It seems the plan is to leave the boat in Antigua and do something called flying to go back home. But they keep saying that the authorities in Antigua might confiscate me if they take me ashore to go to the airport. I'm not sure what happens when you get "confiscated", but it doesn't sound like fun. So, the captain sailed us to St. Maarten. We were there a couple of weeks when suddenly Uncle Bob showed up. I remembered Uncle Bob from our first year cruising when I got to go to his house in New York. He had a dog and another cat, but after a while I got used to them and liked it there. Uncle Bob visited for a few days, and then started packing to leave. That's when I realized something was going on. I was going to get to go to Uncle Bob's house again! But wait a minute. What's an airplane? The captain put me in my carrier and we all got in a car to go to this place called an airport. At the airport, the captain and Barb kept saying goodbye to me like they weren't going to see me for a while. Next thing you know, Uncle Bob and I were in a line for security. I was sure learning a lot of new words on this trip. At the security checkpoint, Uncle Bob took me out of my carrier and held me while he walked through a thing they called a metal detector. Cats aren't made of metal. Why do they need to put them through a detector? Back in my carrier I decided I just better be quiet. We sat around for an hour or so while kids kept peeking in my carrier to see what was in there. I wanted to yell at them, but I kept quiet. We finally started to move again and next thing you know, I was under a seat and Uncle Bob's feet were next to me. Then there was a loud roar and I felt funny motions. It didn't feel the same as the boat, but it didn't feel like land either. Four about four hours, nothing changed and then finally the noise stopped after a big bump. Uncle Bob picked me up and soon we were in his truck. I don't care for rides in cars, but at least I recognized where I was. And I could see more than just feet. After driving a while. we were at Uncle Bob's house! I went in and saw Basil the dog. He was cool and didn't care much about me. But, there was a different cat here now. And he was huge! I stayed in "my" room for several days until Uncle Bob let me come out and meet this huge orange cat. It took us a while, but we got to be friends. I didn't know what had happened to the captain and Barb, but I just started laying in Uncle Bob's lap instead. He gives me more treats than I got on the boat, so I can adjust to this.
I had been at Uncle Bob's about six weeks, when one evening, I heard Uncle Bob greeting somebody at the door. It was the captain and Barb! They came back to see me. I'm sure they must have missed me because the captain didn't want to put me down when he got there. We all spent the summer in New York. I especially liked being able to sit out on Uncle Bob's big back porch and watch things through the screen. The big cat gets to go outside, but they keep me in all the time. On day, the captain came and picked me up and put me in my carrier again. Uh Oh. Where are we going now. Uncle Bob drove us somewhere and I heard that word "airport" again. This time Uncle Bob said goodbye, and the captain took me on the plane. We actually went on two planes, and we ended up back in Texas where I started this strange journey with the captain and Barb. When we got Texas, Barb was waiting for us. I wondered where she had been for the past few weeks. We drove to a new place called 'an apartment". It's kind of like Uncle Bob's house, but it's almost as small as the boat. But it doesn't move. I don't go out, and I don't have to nice porch to sit on, but it's ok. I'm back to my routine of sleeping all day and sitting at the foot of the bed guarding my people all night.
Update March 1, 2010
Bimmy went on to his next adventure today. The kidney failure that had started two years ago in Grenada caught up with him. He was just a couple months shy of 17 years old, so we can't be too surprised. He was a special pet to us in many ways. Although there were some inconveniences of keeping him on the boat, he was very smart and gave us a lot of fun memories. He will be missed.