Even though I was born a street cat in The Bahamas, I’m a boat cat at heart. So, after six months of being cooped up in a 3rd floor apartment, I was excited to hear we were returning to life at sea. That was until my parents shoved me into a box for 15 hours. Dad said if he can sit his 6’4” body in a little seat called Economy, then so could Mom and me. We stopped first at a hotel in this place called Lisbon to stretch my legs, but the next day I had to go back in the box to fly to Rome and then to Catania for another night in a hotel. Can you believe the next morning, I still had to go back in the box so we could drive to the other side of Sicily? Finally, we arrived at the Gémeaux and finally I pooped.
My parents tell me I’m their favorite, but really, I know they love the Gémeaux more than anything in the world. And boy were they excited when the taxi pulled into the marina and they saw their beloved boat was still afloat and still attached to the dock after winter. The Gémeaux looked kinda familiar to me but it smelled different and there was all this red muck everywhere. Dad said it was called Saharan dust and he had to scrub the boat three times to make the Gémeaux shiny and white again. Obviously, I couldn’t sully my paws so I stayed inside and helped Mom until the boat was fit for running laps. Besides, it was cold in Italy and it made my thin Bahamian skin shiver. Can you believe Dad went swimming in that giant bowl of ice water?! He doesn’t even have fur to keep him warm! Dad said he had to check the prop things that make our boat go and clean off the gross slimy brown stuff from the Gémeaux’s butt. I’m glad that’s not my job…my tongue would be so tired.
My parents worked every day to put the Gémeaux back together again and get all my favorite ropes and strings set up. Dad said the most important thing was to get our new sails on because if they didn’t fit, then we couldn’t be a sailboat again.
Mom hates this chore because the sails are really big and really heavy. It took almost two days for my parents to finish the job and they mostly ignored me the entire time. I finally crawled inside the big white sails so my parents would pay attention to me and plus, I could see they needed some supervision. For example, once inside the sails, I noticed the long stick batten things were too long for the new sails so I told Dad.
Mom got really nervous when Dad got out the big noisy cutter thing to make the sticks shorter but Dad said it would all work out. He’s pretty smart about these things. My parents got the sail back into my very favorite place on the boat—the sail bag. I ran up and down the inside of the bag and checked all the reefing line rope things. Then I climbed up the jib on my favorite forestay climbing tree to make sure everything worked okay. The Gémeaux was ready to sail again.
Inside the Gémeaux, the place was a mess. Beds were upside-down, everything had been put away so it wouldn’t get that red stuff on it, and we had three big bags of stuff (like my special cat litter) that needed to be put away. First thing Mom did was get rid of the mold—boy does she hate that stuff and it took her days to get rid of it all. Then, she would open a different bottle of smelly water stuff and clean the cupboards. And another smelly bottle for the floors. Every once in a while, Mom would play games with me like hide and seek under the covers, although she said it’s really hard to make the bed pretty with me in it…I’m sure that’s not true.
Mom said she’d been gone so long she couldn’t remember where everything went. So, I helped—my treats go in this cupboard, all my litter goes in the forward cabin, my water goes on the counter in the little green dish. I got stuck in one of those cupboards while mom was busy but I found this really yummy stuff called jerky so I pretended I couldn’t hear my parents when they called me. One day, my parents went away all day in a car that was smaller than my dad and they came back with MORE bags! I don’t know what everything was because I don’t read Italian but the boxes smelled good, especially the one that said cibo per gatti.
Every night, my parents went right to sleep. They didn’t even play my favorite game of fetch with me. I was so bored. But then, when it was still dark, they both woke up! It was awesome. They said it was called something like jet lag but I think they just wanted to play with me. In the morning, Mom would ask Dad to bring her some coffee in bed because she said all her muscles hurt too much to move. I like when Mom stays in bed so I can cuddle with her.
I promised my parents I wouldn’t run away or fall in the cold water dish if they let me outside to play. Sometimes I would sneak off to explore another boat—I love seeing how other humans decorate their homes. But, there’s a lot of noise in our yard—bicycles, and scooters, a huge German dog that walks by really close and people yelling ciao bella gattina and bonjour joli chat and hallo mooie kat. So I mostly stayed on the Gémeaux and pushed all the shells and rocks onto the floor that mom puts out just for me. And when those were hidden behind all the cushions and doors, I jumped on the table where Dad puts out playthings of every shape and size for me to carry off to my hiding places.
I really love exploring the marina and I think I could live there for the rest of my life. But, my parents say they love exploring the world so we had to leave. Dad cleaned the boat one more time, we said arrivederci to our friends, and then we snuck out quietly from the marina before the sun came up. Speaking of love, my parents’ anniversary is tomorrow, which means they’re going to abandon me and go celebrate somewhere. At least, I don’t have to go in the box again.
Love, Zemi 🐾
p.s. do you like my NEW box?!