The Adventures of Leo: Safety Precautions

We did a few things around the boat to ensure Leo’s safety as we are traveling.  I can’t say they work for sure, but they make me feel better :)

  • Harness – The consumer world of cat harnesses is a very small one.  We found out quickly that dog harnesses way out number cat ones.  And no, you cannot use a dog harness on a cat, their little bodies are shaped differently.  We settled for a run of the mill cat harness from PetSmart for Leo.  It is bright green (to match his eyes) and has reflective markings on it.  If he falls in, not only do we have something to snag with a boat hook, he should also be easy to see.
  • ID Tags – We got 2 little ID tags that attach to Leo’s harness with rivets.  One has his name, our cell phone #, and JR’s e-mail address.  The other has our boat name.  In the event that he jumps ship and is found, his irresponsible owners should be pretty easy to track down.
Leo's Harness and ID tags

Leo’s harness and ID tags

  • Help Me Tag – My mother-in-law had a little sticker on her front door that said, “In case of emergency, please rescue my dog!”  I thought this was brilliant and should be translated to our boat.  I made a little tag that said just that.  I also included our phone number and a very detailed picture of Leo :)  We hang it on the lock whenever we leave the boat.
In case of emergency!

In case of emergency!

  • Non-skid Food Bowls – This one is not so much for safety, but convenience.  We found ours at PetSmart and they are SUPER non-skid.  Because of them, we’re not cleaning up water every day and Leo’s food stays in one spot so he can find it easily.
  • Net – A nice big, tough one that we keep attached to the vertical support tubing of our bimini for easy access.  If he falls in the drink, we can scoop him sooner than later.  Thanks for that tip, David :)
  • Rules – He isn’t allowed on deck while we are underway if it’s wavy or if we are heeling, and he isn’t allowed on deck without his harness.  He is adjusting…
Leo on deck with his harness on!

Leo in the cockpit with his harness on!

So far our little Boo hasn’t taken any swims, although our vet assured me that cats can swim just as well as dogs.  Leo is an older, more wise feline, so he isn’t quite as risky as his younger counterparts.  Nevertheless, accidents happen and we want to be prepared to scoop him as soon as he hits the drink!


  1. I also carry a card on me that in the event I am out doing something and something happens to me – my little guy would be found and safe.
    Also, as much as you can lock the phone, I learned there is a way that it will flash a banner if found to be returned to you or to alert others of Leo or yourselves. It’s in the settings. It flashes regardless. And it can be set if you use the “find iPhone/iPad” app.
    Hope this helps.

  2. Want to try it with our 3 Shelties sometime? :)
    VERY good ideas! Of course, I would expect no less from some responsible cat owners.

  3. Like the card on companion way, great idea. Will be following that advice for Abby. You could also have a chip embeded in him if you are near a vet. Maybe at his check up before heading to the islands.

  4. Those are some great ideas about the ID tag and the ‘help in case of an emergency’. Do you have a leash to go along with Leo’s harness? We have one for our cat (it came as a packaged deal with the harness), and it is GREAT since she always wants to be in the cockpit when we’re underway. We just wrap the handle around a cleat or a winch, and she can move around a little but will never go overboard.

    1. We do have a couple of leashes for him. Does your cat get tangled? I guess we worried that he’d get tangled and another “rope” in the cockpit might get in the way.

      1. We haven’t had the problem of her getting tangled yet, but we do tend to move the leash a lot. Like if it is on a winch up front and we need to do anything with the sheets, we move it to a cleat on the back. So far it’s been great. Plus she never does try to wander far when we’re underway, just snuggles up to one of us or in a spot under the dodger. Good luck with your Leo travels, can’t wait to see how they work out!

      2. I like it! We’ll have to give it a try! Thanks! Leo loves the sunshine under the dodger! So far we are loving the cruising life! It reminds me of this time last year when I was watching you and Tasha do it! Thanks for reading, it means a lot to me :)

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