I’ve learned two interesting facts about cats.
1) Cats hate water 2) Cats will jump into a lake FULL of water if they find themselves on a pontoon boat pulling away from the dock.
I learned the first fact about 40 years ago when I thought it would be fun to give “Tiger” a bath. Coincidentally, that same day I learned “Tiger” was an extremely fitting name for that particular cat.
I learned the second fact this weekend when my wife and I thought it would be a great idea to take “Ginger” with us on a pontoon ride.
We need a little background here. Ginger is our primary cat. We have a backup cat named Ollie (aka “Damn Nate” in honor of the teenage boy who brought him to our house because his mother wouldn’t let him keep a cat). Frequently as we pull away from the dock for an evening cruise my wife and I will see our two cats standing side by side watching us sail off into the sunset. I’ll admit we’re often guilty of attributing thoughts to them that probably don’t exist since I don’t believe cats actually “think”. A few weeks ago we decided Ollie really wanted to take a boat ride so we scooped him up and off we went.
It went about as well as we expected. Ollie slinked around the boat like a caged Lion at the zoo for a while, crawled under a blanket and went to sleep. It was a wise choice given that the boat was entirely surrounded by water which, I believe I mentioned cats hate.
So, fast forward to this weekend. My wife scooped Ginger up and brought her aboard the pontoon. We were under the mistaken impression things would go pretty much the same. I mean, a cat’s a cat, right? Well, things didn’t go at all the same. Ginger didn’t slink around the boat assessing the situation. She didn’t crawl under a blanket. She didn’t go to sleep. No, Ginger made a mad dash to the front of the boat (sometimes referred to as the ‘bow’), stared for a panicked moment as the dock slipped away… and jumped.
I’m not talking some little namby-pamby, sissy cat belly flop either. No, Ginger launched herself from the boat like Michael Phelps going for his eighth gold medal. She hung there over the water with her little legs pumping like that coyote in the roadrunner cartoon until gravity took over and she plunked into the water with all the grace of a toaster oven.
I gunned the motor and headed back to shore fully expecting to launch some grim search and recovery effort when suddenly Ginger breached the surface like Shamu late for lunch. When she hit the water again her stubby legs were whirling like an Evinrude and she headed for shore at roughly warp speed.
Keep in mind, this is a cat for whom napping is an adventure. The deepest water she’s ever had to contend with is when she accidentally tipped her water dish onto the floor racing for her food dish and, of course, had no option but to actually step in it or starve. But here she was suddenly motoring toward shore like Miss Budweiser.
I think she may have continued to circle the lake forever at full throttle if my wife hadn’t waded into the water and snatched her out. Ginger looked a bit like that clump of stuff you pull out of a clogged drain but seems to have survived the incident intact, although I suspect she may have used up one or two of her lives.
We took another boat ride the next night. Neither cat was there to watch us leave.