Sailing With Monsters


Makani On Watch

There are two cats aboard Willow with me, my ‘monsters’ Makani and Kai.  Aside from having them on the boat for years, there’s no way I would’ve considered this trip without them accompanying me.  There were a few hoops to jump through in order to make this happen, but they were definitely worth it.  The predicaments they get themselves or me into are humorous, frustrating, time-consuming and fun.  I’m so glad they’re here…


Little Kai

Kai is my little girl cat, a small, pure-bred (inbred) Abyssinian who was in the process of being sent to the pound when I found her.  Her mother was a grand national champion, and the owner/breeder wanted another one and bred Kai’s mom to her own father.  I know.  She is the clumsiest cat on the planet, literally can’t run but bunny-hops, and has broken her leg twice and her other foot once.  I’ll find her staring off in her own dimension, looking intently at the fabric of the seat she’s on, not acknowledging any verbal or other stimuli.  Then I’ll give her a little pet, and she jumps, pupils dilated as she looks frantically around for what’s going on…  She didn’t make the cut with her breeder because her tail won’t stay straight; it hooks a couple of inches from the end.  Yup, put her down for that mistake.


Kai, Safe in her Hideout at Yosemite

She is my quiet little one who wants to sit in my lap and snooze after she gives my face her own specialized dermabrasion treatment with her 60 grit tongue.  Youch!  She is regularly harassed by Makani, the snot-nosed fat red boy cat who lives aboard with her.  Once in a blue moon, she gets her own back at him, and he looks quite surprised when she does.  When we’re sailing, Kai finds a nice secure hidey-hole to curl up in, squeezes her eyes shut, and stays that way until the leg is over.  Once or twice she’ll pop out, find me, give me a rough lick on the face and go back to her safe spot.  She’s a 12-year-old sweet, shy fraidy-cat who loves dogs…

Now the Bad Boy, Makani, is a big lug, weighing in now at around 17 lbs of pure muscle-y fat.  He’s quite the character, but I think this trip has bored him silly.  When we’re out sailing, he wants to be in my lap getting a few comforting pats on the back.  Of course the rougher the weather, the more he wants to be on my lap.  Unfortunately, that’s when I’m the busiest, so he gets closed in below deck.  He’s brought me numerous crabs, moths, flying fish and squid, letting me know he’s helping with provisioning.  Right now, he’s assumed his position on the ‘throne,’ my big cushion-y reclining seat I use on deck.  The bees are buzzing around him in search for water, and he just sits there with his eyes half closed.  He’s just above it all.  Once in a while, he gives one or two of the bees an obligatory swat, but generally he just ignores them.  Since I’m allergic to bees, I’m sitting down below, closed in and sweltering in the humid heat.


The Chief Troublemaker…

Makani’s a paper-tearer, ripping covers off paperback books and obliterating cardboard egg cartons.  Oooh, and does he love styrofoam!  There’s a teething thing going on there, and I generally ignored it until I found him gnawing through the black, small gauge, high-pressure hose line that supplies the freshly made water from the watermaker to my water tank.  He’s worse than a rat!  He’s chewed through the mic cord of my old RAM VHF that was in the cockpit, the 12 volt charger cord, and of course, my tax paperwork.  No one would believe me when I said my cat ate it!  All of that aside, he loves when I’m getting the boat ready or coming back after a sail.  He climbs the boom and curls up in the folded sail. He kneads his claws on the freshly coiled lines.  He loves any open locker, anxious to explore what is hidden inside.  Often he surprises me in another area of the boat, having found that particular locker has a secret passageway to another locale.

A Place for Everything, and Everything in its Place--Makani

A Place for Everything, and Everything in its Place–Makani

The Bad Boy’s the social butterfly of the two.  On numerous occasions, while I’m visiting with other boaters on their vessel, Makani’ll slip his harness and come find me.  Last week, I was aboard the lovely Catalina 470, Voyager, down below enjoying an iced beverage and air conditioning(!).  Makani came aboard and oh, so subtly plastered his face against one of the ports until he was let in.  Loving the cool climate, he characteristically explored, came by for pets, rolled on his back and smiled his own smile.  After charming the boat owners, he didn’t want to leave.  Me neither…

Usually sometime late in the morning, if I’m still at the table working on the computer, I’ll have Makani on my lap and Kai curled up under my chin.  When it’s 95 degrees in the cabin, that gets a bit warm, but the company is lovely.  The look on both of their faces is pure comfort and peace.  No wonder they say having an animal lowers your blood pressure or helps fight off disease.  Looking at their faces at these times just instills peace and a feeling of wellness.  Yup, even with their antics, I’ll keep ’em aboard!  They’re the best crew…

2 thoughts on “Sailing With Monsters

  1. Mariko Florez

    Hi Wendy, I’m so happy to see that you are having grand time on your trips. I also am happy to see Makani being part of your wonderful life and he looks so Regal. I can still remember when you were here for Makani. 🙂 Makani was so little but he went home with you. Thank you for loving him. xoxoxo mariko


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