The Adventures of LuLu the Kitty

February 2011

Well, it has been a long time since our sweet LuLu has had a posting of her very own!  It's time to show how much she's grown up and post a few photos!  LuLu is now a full grown kitty!  She is 1 1/2 years old, but she still plays like a little kitten.  

As you may remember from our earlier story, we were worried about traveling with LuLu outside the US.  We are visiting the Bahamas now and had no problems bringing her in.  Prior to coming, we downloaded a request for a Bahamas Pet Import permit, paid a $10 fee, visited a vet beforehand, and now here we are.  We checked in at Nassau, the customs agent gave the documents a perfunctory view, and now LuLu has visited her first foreign country!

You may remember that back in July 2009 (scroll down after this story for pics), we did a little story about what Miss LuLu does all day on the boat.... now for a little updating!

Well, here she is in all her glory.  Notice her lovely pink collar and pink ID tag!  Very fashionable, don't you think?  Not just fashionable, though... also functional.  In case our little lovely gets off the boat (on a dock), or falls off the boat when we're at anchor (yes, it can and has happened.. more on that later!), we want someone to be able to get our sweet kitty angel back to us.  The pink collar is embroidered with our boat name (s/v Genesis), and our cell phone number.  The pink Id tag has our name, boat name, two cell phone numbers, and her Avid microchip number and 1-800 to Avid.  That's all we can do to help her find her way back home if she gets lost.  Of course, she's so adorable that anyone that finds her would want to keep her, but we hope they realize how special she is and that we would be devastated if she weren't returned to us!

Can you tell we are just crazy about this kitty??  We have all kinds of nicknames for her.... Miss Lou, Miss Bird, Miss Mouse (my favorite), Peanut Butter (LA's favorite), Peanut, Butter, LuLu Belle, Darling LuLu, Sweet LuLu, Angel Kitty and sometimes, "That Darn Cat"!  She has a great personality and she can be mischievous.

SO, HOW DOES SWEET LULU KEEP BUSY ALL DAY???

Miss LuLu has a routine each day.  She likes to get up early... around 6:00 a.m. Way early before we get up.  She entertains herself inside the boat until we wake up and let her out. (Let her out, you say?  Of course we cannot let this little wild woman stay out all night on the deck!  The deck is wet with dew at night and she runs around like a little kitty madwoman playing and she might fall overboard during some of her exploits.)  

If we have forgotten to fill her food bowl before we go to sleep (which happens more than it should, or the little pig eats everything during the night), she will make our life unbearable until someone (usually LA) gets up and puts food in her bowl.  She makes as much noise as she can like knocking off lip balm and rolling it around on the floor until you think you are going to go BERSERK if you don't get her to stop RIGHT AWAY!

So, once she has been fed, she has us trained to let her in the head (bathroom for you landlubbers) and run some water in the faucet so she can drink the running water.  Doesn't she have a water bowl, you ask?? Of course, but drinking out of it is not NEARLY as much fun as training your mama and daddy to do your bidding SEVERAL times a day at will. (Yes, we are fools).

After the water game in the head, it's time to greet the day and patrol the deck.  See what's happened around there during the night.  Look and listen for any seabirds (or, in the case of Eleuthera, listen for roosters crowing!).  LuLu runs up and down the deck, looking down in the water to see what she can see, then finally plops down on the deck to survey the situation.  

After a spell, she comes back inside and gets in our bed and settles down for a big morning nap.  ( I have to admit, sometimes we hop right in there with her!).  If it's a day where we have access to internet and we are working on the computer, she just takes a nap stretched right out on the table.  She pretty much can sleep anywhere and make herself comfortable. Yes, she even sleeps when we're on passage and she has her harness on (harness, you say?? yep, more on that later!). 

She's very curious.  She wants to be where we are.  When I am in the galley cooking, she likes to sit on the companionway steps or on the refrigerator and keep an eye on things. She hangs around outside by the galley port so she can keep an eye on the outside activity and the galley, too. Very nosy, this one is.  

    

If I throw scraps overboard, she immediately runs outside to watch them float away.  I am constantly worried that she will jump in after them.  

Speaking of jumping in after them, LuLu has fallen overboard. Once.  Thankfully, I was not there to see it happen.  It happened when our engine had gone out in Vero Beach and I had returned to Jackson to work.  LA was on a mooring ball at Vero rafted up next to another boat.  Harry and Barbara Ann from "Our Dream" had a German shepherd on board.  We were constantly worried that something would happen to LuLu.  Wouldn't want her to become a mid-afternoon snack for a big dog, would we?? As it turns out, Harry and Barbara Ann were very careful.  They had a cockpit enclosure that they kept zipped up, and the dog was always on a lead if he went forward on the boat.  After a few days, LuLu became more comfortable with the idea of being rafted up next to another boat and decided to do a little exploring next door.  We caught her and scolded her, but, hey, when a kitty makes up their mind, curiosity gets the best of them.   

Anyway, I was not there and LA was down below reading.  All of a sudden he heard a commotion.... dog barking... then a splash.  LuLu was on the boat next door, Mr. Dog got out of the cockpit through an open zipper.  LuLu evidently tried to jump back on our boat and missed.... and into the water she went.  When LA saw her, she was between the two boats, swimming like a little otter!  She wasn't freaking out.  She looked up at him, gave him a little "Meow" and kept swimming to the back of the boats.  LA sprang into action! Wouldn't you know it, the dinghy was locked to our boat.  He hurriedly unlocked the dinghy and jumped in to motor around to the other boat.  By this time, LuLu had found a swim ladder to jump on, and Harry had come out of his boat and grabbed her up.  LA put her in the dinghy and they got back on Genesis.  Surprisingly, she wasn't a nervous wreck.  LA dried her off and she didn't seem worse for wear... but it did stop her from exploring the boat next door!  So, she learned a lesson, and we learned that our Miss Mouse could swim! 

When the little darling is not sleeping, she is generally finding something to get in to. Like laundry day, for instance.  I do laundry in a bucket with a plunger (yes, the toilet kind, and no, it has never been used in a toilet!).  Then I rinse the clothes and hang them out.  LuLu makes it her personal mission to "help" me as much as she can. (This usually ends up in the "That Darn Cat" category by the time I have finished!). 

She's also a little ham.....

She wants to go to Mexico, and she's been practicing her Spanish and learning to wink at boy kitties when she gets there.  Doing pretty good so far, huh? She already has siesta time down pat.

AS MY MAMA SAYS, 'WHATEVER POSSESSED YOU TO PULL A STUNT LIKE THAT????'

Oh yes, this little sweetie has also pulled a few stunts (commonly known as LuLu's... I think that is where that term 'lulu' came from!). On the first overnight crossing she ever had from Lake Worth, FL to Miami Beach, she decided to prance up on the forward deck when the waves got dicey.  The boat was rocking and rolling, waves were breaking over the front of the bow, and this little fool runs forward.  I could have killed her!  (This definitely falls into the "That Darn Cat" category!!). Just as I was trying to decide whether to harness myself in and go forward to get the little haint, she leapt back into the cockpit.  Well, she won herself a first class ticket back down below.  I had to close off the boat and put the companionway insert in.  Then she proceeded to yowl with displeasure and let me know she wanted to come out. NOW. No way, sister! My first order of business when I got to Miami Beach was to hunt down a pet store and get a harness and a lead to corral this missy in during crossings.  Of course, they don't make kitty harnesses, only dog ones!  I'm sure she is totally insulted about the idea of having to wear a DOG harness, but if she's going to act stupid, that's what she deserves!  At least it is a PINK harness that matches her pink collar.  Unfortunately, no pink leads available, so black had to do.....When I first put it on, she did a funny little "stand on hind legs, backward steps" move and tried her darndest to wriggle out.  LA came to the rescue and tightened it up, and now she can't get out.  She's used to it now.  It's almost like power steering for kitties. Once I put it on her before a passage, she becomes very docile, sweet and loving, and wants to be petted and held during the entire trip! And, of course, mission accomplished... it keeps her in the cockpit!

Doesn't she look all sweet and innocent here??? (Don't fall for this!... another stunt was already on the horizon for us in Nassau!) Here is the story, excerpted from our "Destination Bahamas" story.

On Sunday, we spent the entire day getting our boats cleaned up from the passage.  Salt water was everywhere and we took advantage of the fresh water at the dock and thoroughly hosed down the boat and the dinghy.  We worked on several projects all day, and at the end of the day, we lost track of LuLu.  All day long, she had slept in her hiding place in the quarter-berth, rarely venturing out. This was not unusual, so we didn't think anything about it until we got ready to close up the boat and go to dinner that night.  We called and called, and she did not appear.  We looked everywhere on the boat.... LuLu was no where to be found!  LA and I were both distressed. We thought she might have jumped off the boat and onto the dock.  I walked the docks and called and called.  I stopped everyone I met and asked if they had seen little LuLu.  It got late, and we finally had to resign ourselves to the fact that our dear LuLu was gone.  I cried myself to sleep, and woke up at midnight and walked the docks again.  Still no LuLu.  About 3:30 a.m., I was awake and I thought I heard a faint kitty cry.  I listened again... nothing.  I decided that I was hallucinating and it was just wishful thinking.  LA woke up shortly thereafter.  Again, I heard a faint cry.  This time, LA heard the cry also.  We leapt out of bed and began calling.  LA heard her again, and realized that she was in the engine compartment!  Earlier in the day, he had the engine compartment open changing the oil, and she obviously slipped in there unnoticed.  He opened the compartment door, and who sauntered out??  Just as pretty as you please, there was Miss LuLu!  We didn't know whether to kill her or kiss her!! (So, we kissed her, of course!!). 

Well, that's the report from Tallulah Belle Wyatt for now.  I'm sure she will have more stories for us along the way.  We do love traveling with her and cannot imagine our lives without her now.  LuLu sends best wishes to all of you who are interested in the cruising kitties of the world! 

Shhhhhhh! Kitty sleeping.............. until next time!

Keep on scrolling down the page to read about LuLu as a baby on board, back in the early days of cruising, July 2009.

July 2009

Meet our newest crew member!  Tallulah Belle Wyatt "LuLu", age 7 weeks

Yes, we KNOW we said we weren't going to have any kitties on the boat!  We spent a lot of time in Marathon, Florida, and met a lot of cruisers with kitties on their boats.  We had worried that having an animal on board was going to cause us issues at foreign ports (quarantine, mainly).  We discovered that since cats do not generally leave the boat, most officials don't make a big deal about them on board, as long as their vaccinations are up to date. Believe it or not, it was actually LA that brought up the subject and of course, being the kitty-lover I am, I pounced on it.... Actually, I didn't really pounce.. Once he gave the go-ahead to get a cat, I agonized over the decision.  I wanted to make sure that this was really what we wanted to do and that our future travels outside the country would not be hampered.  I wanted to make sure the kitty would be safe and happy on board.  We had always had kitties in our land life and I knew a kitty would bring us a lot of joy.  We decided to take the plunge.  We knew we wanted a girl, and we even picked out her name in advance. Being a southern kitty, Tallulah Belle Wyatt (LuLu) was the perfect name.  We visited the Marathon Animal Shelter on June 20, 2009 and there she was!  She was 7 weeks old, weighed less than a pound, and had just been spayed that day.   It was love at first sight!  We took her back to the boat wrapped in a towel, and Genesis has been her home ever since!

What does "Miss LuLu" DO all day on a sailboat????

She hangs out in the cockpit...

 She ventures (carefully, at first) out on deck.... 

Are we worried about her falling overboard?? You betcha.  We have a big dip net in case the worst happens.  Most cat owners said their cat had never fallen overboard, but of those that had, the cat swam and they were able to dip them back up.  We keep a pretty close eye on LuLu when she's on deck.  She has her sea legs, though.  The motion of the boat doesn't seem to bother her, but we don't let her out on deck when we're underway.  She usually stays down below and sleeps during passages, but she does come up late in the afternoon for a cockpit visit if we are underway all day.

 

She helps us check the internet on the computer and answer e-mails...

If any repairs need to be done, she's always around to lend a hand (or paw).........

Sometimes she hides in the dorade......

She checks out what is going on at sea, and hides behind the life raft...

Helps keep watch with the binoculars.....

She helps us read navigational charts....

She hides behind the windlass...

She likes to eat and drink lying down.....

She bites on anything and everything....

She LOVES to play "snork the shark" in the sheets! (Don't know what this game is?? It is hide and seek in the sheets.. a extraordinarily fun game designed by Sandra Wyatt, LA's sister, friend and lover of all cats worldwide)

She eats (a lot!..She's growing fast... now weighs 3.5 pounds at 11 weeks!)....

 

She keeps a close eye out for seabirds....

...and hopes a seabird doesn't snatch her up

Sometimes she wants to get out in the cockpit.... 

and sometimes she wants to come in......

Sometimes she wants to play gin rummy....

But most of the time....her favorite pastime....is sleeping!! 

Loves to sleep, anywhere, anytime!

We love our adorable LuLu!

Stay tuned to read all about the adventures of LuLu!

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