Wednesday October 9, 2013
When we first got to the marina here in Guatemala back in June, it took Georgie less than 5 days to realize that she could jump from the stern of the boat to the little plank leading to it, and then to dry
land dock. It took her less than 7 days to realize that she could jump from our boat to the neighbor’s. For a few days after she found all this out we tried to keep her secure to the boat by putting on her Come With Me Kitty harness, and leashing her to one of the cleats or winches in the cockpit. She was having none of it. Eventually I talked Matt into letting her roam free. For the most part, all she wanted was to curl up in a ball in the ranchito and sleep as a cool breeze washed over her. Something she was not getting in the cockpit.
She began to enjoy her time off the boat so much, that it was hard to get her back on it. We usually locked her below deck when the sun went down, and she would spend the next two hours sitting on the steps, whining and crying to get out again. This happened every night. She began despising her time on the boat so much that we weren’t even sure that going back to life on anchor, where she had free run of the whole boat all day, would make her happy again. For a short period we even contemplated leaving her in Guatemala, entrusting her to a young girl that works at the marina whom has wanted a cat for a very long time, and has a large enclosed yard for her to wander through all day.
This was not an easy decision to come to, but we thought in the end it might be what’s best for Georgie. I cried hard that night, thinking what a horrible person I was to adopt her, just to turn around and give her away. Matt saw how hard this was hitting me and struck up a deal. While we’d be gone for the boat for six weeks, Georgie was going to be staying at a bungalow with two guys we knew, their two cats, and the option to roam outside to her heart’s content. If, when we came back to claim her, she went into her old routine of not wanting to be anywhere near the boat, we would give her up and let her live a life on land in Guatemala. However, if she appeared to miss us and adjusted to life back on the boat, we’d keep her with us.
I had not been very hopeful, seeing how much she loved running about in the marina, and sure that she would forget us a day after we were gone. Truth be told, a part of me wanted her to be able to forget about us right away because I also couldn’t bear the thought of her thinking that we’d abandoned her, wondering each day why we hadn’t come back to get her. Those six weeks kind of felt like a lose/lose. But on the day we arrived back to Guatemala and went to get her, she had nothing but love for us. It was obvious that she remembered who we were, and instantly let herself fall back into the stage when we first got her and she would not leave our side. Since we’ve been back on the boat now, she doesn’t whine at night and rarely strays out of our eyesight. It looks as if her love for us is actually greater than her dislike of living on a boat. Aawww, makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
That’s not to say that she still hasn’t also been loving her roaming at the marina. I suspect her time in the wild at the bungalow turned her a little rogue though, and she’s becoming quite the hunter. Before it wasn’t surprising to catch her at the ranchito chomping away on a moth or any other large flying insect that she’d caught, but now she’s starting to go bigger. In the past week she has caught 2 bats, how she managed to get them I don’t even know, and then today she brought me this treat.
Don’t worry, it’s not alive here. I actually had to steal it out of her batting paws and keep her away while I positioned it for a photo. Then I instantly flung it in the water, fearful that it might be poisonous and that Georgie might try to eat it. I found out later that it was a harmless rain spider. Harmless as they may be, I still don’t want one anywhere near me when it’s alive and moving of it’s own accord. (Ok, so I may have taken it post-mortem and stretched all of it’s legs out so you could see just how big it is in the photo.)
As for Georgie? She seems to be finding a good balance between boat and land, and I am so happy and relieved that she’ll be staying with us now. Our only next obstacle with her is finding out exactly what is necessary for a pet passport so we can get her into the Med next year. Anyone have experience with this or tips they could give me? I’d love to hear!