Snubber the cat sits on the bow of a dinghy carrying his owners.

Snubber, the feline figurehead, can’t wait to get to shore.

Sonnet, a fluffy black and white cat, lounges sleepily on the counter.

Sonnet, for her part, takes a more laid-back approach to life.

A tale of two kitties

Snubber’s harbor cruise

As my husband, Peter, and I looked around Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco, we noticed our neighbors from C-gull Seeker taking their dinghy for a spin around the harbor.

Looking closer, I noticed something unusual: a cat sitting up in the bow like a proud figurehead surveying the scenery. We’ve seen plenty of cruising dogs do this, but this was the first time we’d seen a cat! We reached for the camera to record this unusual sight.

We discussed how neat it would be if our boat cat, Sonnet, could enjoy the excitement of a spin in the dink. She, however, showed not one iota of curiosity toward this fellow feline spectacle nor one jot of interest in a dinghy excursion.

The next day, we visited C-gull Seeker to get the story behind this remarkable feline behavior. Maybe we could train Sonnet to be a figurehead.

As it turned out, no special training was required. Snubber, their talkative part Siamese, had figured out that the dinghy was the means to shore, a place he dearly loves. He sits at the stern and meows loudly until they put him in the dinghy and take him ashore. If the dinghy happens to be tied alongside, he jumps in and complains until they grant his wish. If shore isn’t an option, only a spin around the harbor can appease him.

As we chatted alongside their dinghy, Snubber jumped in it. He stood on the seat and attempted to talk us into giving him a ride to shore. His owners advised us to turn him down. He apparently has no issue with exploring tropical islands on his own.

As we chatted with Snubber’s family, we recalled the last time we’d met them. Two years earlier at Chub Cay, Snubber had figured out how to remove a screen from one of their opening ports and escaped by leaping onto the dock. He had taken a nighttime tour of the marina and was missing when his owners awoke. They weren’t concerned. They knew he’d come back in his own sweet time.

After our chat, we returned to our boat and decided to introduce Sonnet to the dinghy. We thought it would be nice if she could explore a pretty island ashore. I passed her to Peter. He set her down; she meowed, sniffed and walked around. She was about to get comfortable when I suddenly had second thoughts about letting her leap into the dinghy whenever she wanted. After all, leaping from the boat was how she’d arranged her first swim in Annapolis Harbor several years ago. Peter passed Sonnet back to me in the cockpit, and we abandoned the cat-as-figurehead mission before it even got off the ground!

The next morning, C-gull Seeker left the harbor shortly before we did. Snubber sat like a king on top of the cabin and meowed encouragement as his master, Mike, hauled up the anchor. Snubber clearly takes his cruising seriously.

Meanwhile in our cabin, Sonnet, our very ladylike boat cat, was sprawled on her back with all four paws in the air, enjoying her morning nap on the starboard berth!