For anyone who has ever wondered if cats get seasick, I can now confirm that some cats do in fact get seasick. Specifically, Lilly! The cats had been living aboard the boat for about a week at the marina before our first day of sailing.
The first sail was the sea trial to test out the new rigging and sails. This was probably not the ideal way to introduce the cats to sailing, as the rigger was putting the boat through it's paces and sailing it hard. The boat was flying and heeled up at an alarming angle as we tacked back and forth. Both of the cats were on the floor under the table sliding from side to side as the boat heeled one way then the other. Chloe was scared to death desperately looking for a place to hide. She finally made her way to the forward cabin and hid under a pile of pillows. Lilly, on the other hand, was looking decidedly green! Next thing I knew the poor kitty was throwing up and just looked wretched. I brought her up into the cockpit and held her for the rest of the trip. Fortunately, we were only out for two hours.
The next day we set sail for St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, about 40 miles to the east of Puerto Rico. As soon as we were out of the marina, Chloe beelined straight to the forward cabin and buried herself in a pile of pillows again. The wind blowing about 12-15 knots from the east and hard on the nose of the boat, so we had to motor the entire way. The seas were four to six feet and pretty steep, making the ride pretty rough. We did not want to take any chances with Lilly so we had her on deck the entire trip. She definitely was not feeling well and to add to that she was also very stressed out. Taking a clue from Chloe, we covered Lilly with a big heavy beach towel and a pillow. Inside her little cocoon, she started to relax and finally fell asleep for the rest of the trip.
After picking up our friends, Bob and Leslie, on St. Thomas on Friday, we set sail for St. John on Saturday. Again, with the wind coming from the east, we motored the whole way. As we got underway Chloe went into the forward cabin on got on the bunk but chose not hide under the pillows this time. We kept Lilly up on deck with us again, after getting snuggled into the beach towel she fell asleep immediately and slept the entire way.
Sixteen days into our cruising life, both cats seem to have found their sea legs. I think they prefer to motor rather than sail - they don't seem to like the tilty stuff.