Today, Bengie is in charge of writing the post! As you know she is an important crew member on Take It Easy and has been “in training” for our future life afloat. Two of the things we have been working on with her is going for dinghy rides and walking on a leash, so that she is not cooped up on board unable to get out and get some exercise. Here is what she’s got to say about it!
Early on in my life Mum & Dad put a horrible harness around my neck and stomach, expecting me to go walkabouts with them, or something. Why would they think I would like this, really? I am a cat, not a dog! I just showed them: flopped on the ground and refused to move. I thought I had dealt with that quite effectively, and once and for all. They did not try again… that is until some 10 years later while on our recent cruise around Bass Strait!
One morning, before I could work out what was going on, that dreaded harness was strapped on me. I got lifted into the dinghy, handed over the water from the sugar scoops – the indignity! I don’t like dinghy rides. I might be a Bengal, supposedly loving water, but I’ll tell you a little secret: I am a bit of an exception; I don’t really like that wet stuff all around the boat.
I screamed my head off all the way to the beach, but they kept going, and then put me on the sand. I tried to rush off to the dunes to get under cover, but wouldn’t you know it, they had a contraption attached to that harness which let me go to a point, then stopped – some sort of retractable leash! I came to a sudden stop and was a bit startled. But then I started sniffing around and you know what, it was pretty interesting! There were so many new smells, and bugs, and grasses to chew on. It was not too bad after all!
From then on every couple of days my humans would repeat the whole thing: harness on, handed over from Take It Easy to Peasy (the dinghy) – I hate this bit – dinghy ride ashore. I stay on Peasy till the humans have dragged it onto the sand – would not want to get my belly wet – then off we go. I choose the direction, trot around, sniff, chew… After a while I go and find a bit of shade to lay flat as a lizard and rest, then we are off again, back to Peasy. When we go walkies, I like to charge off at a gallop and make the human race hard to keep up with me. I don’t mind if it is a bit soggy under foot as it’s cool on my pads. I like dunes and bushes to stay under cover. I like the big granite boulders, they grip well and I can look around and smell the air from great heights. And I really have fun walking on big logs and sharpening my claws. But soft sand is my favourite. I’ll tell you another little secret: it’s really easy to dig for No1 or No2… so much better than the litter box! But out of the whole expedition, what I like best is coming back on Peasy to return to the mother ship. I get quite excited when we get close. I think I could jump across easily, but they don’t let me! I suppose if I missed, I don’t swim so well. Oh god, I have just had a horrible thought. I hope they don’t try to teach me to swim next!
I am always a bit exhausted when we get back on board, and there’s salt on my fur and sand in between my toes, so after a bit of a snooze I proceed to a big cat wash. Many walks later, I have got used to the whole deal… the dinghy rides, the exploring, the sedate trots at Dad’s heals, even the gallops when I can get away with it. It gives me something else to do apart from the deck patrols on Take It Easy and gives me an appetite from all the exercise and emotions. I do get a few treats afterwards, so I can’t complain too much. But I still don’t like this business of being passed over water! I will have to get a bit more daring and jump in myself.
So if there is any other ship’s cat out there, give the walkies a go, it is not as bad as it sounds and you get serious attention from people wandering the beach. A cat on a cat is something, but a cat in a dinghy and walking on a leash, well that’s mega!
So here are a few photos of me!