Sailing around the world can be a thrilling experience. However, navigating through the ocean can be a bit more difficult when you can’t hear the waves. When this computer programmer, who became deaf as a child, decided to live out his dreams of sailing the seas, he knew he couldn’t do it alone. That’s when he had the most unexpected pal join him to guide him through his trip!
20. Sailing Dreams
Thompson is a computer programmer from New Zealand. Recently, he built himself a 32-foot boat in order to live out a dream of sailing across the Southern Atlantic Ocean. However, Thompson knew he didn’t want to go on the journey alone…
Meet Skatty, a polydactyl Maine Coon cat. Skatty first came into the life of computer programmer, Paul J. Thompson, when he was only 4 months old. Thompson was on the lookout for a best friend to go sailing with and suddenly Skatty fell right into his life!
“He chose to join me in the cockpit, which he does to this day,” Thompson told The Dodo. “It was a bit awkward to try to sail a boat with a young kitten that is determined to sit on your lap, but we managed. Once the sails were up, he relaxed somewhat but still wanted to be with me.”
17. Few Accidents
It wasn’t so easy right from the beginning as Thompson described. There were a few accidents that occurred during the first couple of sailing trips. At one point, Skatty had been leaning over the edge of the boat and fell right into the water!
Luckily for Skatty, Thompson was watching him intently as the accident occurred. He quickly fished the young cat out of the water and promptly dried him off. From that point on, Skatty got more used to the routine of sailing.
15. Morning Routine
Thompson quickly began to take note of Skatty’s morning routine on the boat. “He’d be up on the deck first thing every morning as soon as the birds awoke,” Thompson said. So what would the young cat be doing up on the deck so early in the morning?
14. Bird Watching
“He’d play on the deck and watch the birds for about two hours then would come down for his breakfast, after which he’d go sleep for a few hours. In between naps he’d involve himself with whatever I may be doing.” You won’t believe how much the cat’s evening routine differs!
13. Evening Routine
“In the evenings, he would become very active and race around the boat like a mad thing jumping up onto things and then suddenly stopping and looking as if he’d just seen the devil himself,” Thompson added. Skatty’s funny personality often kept Thompson entertained during long trips. The next photo is adorable!
12. Interesting Friendship
You see, Skatty, whose full name is Strauss von Skattebol of Rebelpaws, came into Thompson’s life at the perfect timing. Thompson was looking for a sailing buddy but there is also something else very special about their friendship as Skatty helps Thompson in the most amazing way.
11. His Ears
One of the most fascinating parts of their friendship is the fact that Thompson relies on Skatty for his ears! Thompson became deaf as a child and as a result, needed a pair of ears to be able to sail safely. Skatty is proud to help him in the best way that he can.
10. Helping Out
“Skatty is my ears,” Thompson said. “Without any training, he has [understood] that I don’t hear, and of his own accord, he lets me know if a boat comes alongside, people are at my door (ashore) and when my phone receives text messages.” You won’t believe how he alerts Thompson!
Whenever someone is at the door, Skatty makes his way over to it to let Thompson know. Another amazing thing that he does is sit on top of Thompson’s phone or place his paw on top of it when the phone is ringing. It’s all about body language with this pair.
8. Body Language
“Basically, I’m watching his body language and that tells me all I need to know,” Thompson said. “I suspect that every cat guardian would benefit from watching their cat more closely.” Thompson can’t imagine sailing without Skatty by his side.
7. Cat On Board
”I love the company and learning to see the world through his eyes,” Thompson said. “ Having a cat on board forces you to slow down and take life at your cat’s pace. Invariably, that is a good thing as we are all far too busy rushing around.”
6. Similar Attitude
Thompson is also convinced that Skatty feels the exact same way about sailing and that his life wouldn’t be the same without it. “He has just accepted that [sailing is] a normal part of life,” Thompson said. “He’d probably be astonished to learn that there are cats who do not sail.”
5. Special Cat
What makes Skatty even more special is that his is a polydactyl cat. What this means is that he has six toes on each paw instead of five. This definitely comes in handy when he needs to find his balance on the boat! Even though Skatty has grown accustomed to the sailing life, Thompson still goes to extra lengths to keep him safe.
4. Keeping Safe
Thompson always wants to make sure that Skatty is safe while traveling so one thing he does is leave a towel hanging off the side of the boat. This way, Skatty can always climb up if he falls into the water. Another thing he does is lock Skatty in the bedroom at night to keep him safe.
3. Safety First
“I keep him in after dark, but I am becoming increasingly confident that he has learned to handle himself on a boat,” Thompson said. Through all of this, Thompson hopes to encourage more people to take their cats out on adventures.
2. Leading By Example
“I would strongly encourage all cat guardians to take their cat companions with them,” Thompson said. “Your cat does not want to sit at home while you are away, and they most definitely do not want to go to a cattery.”
1. Small Steps
Thompson also stresses that it is very important to slowly ease your pet into the situation. “It is absolutely vital that you do things at your cat’s pace,” Thompson said. “It can be very slow, but it’s the only way. So do it in small easy steps.”