Sunday, June 24, 2012

Best Laid Plans

I'd promised a post about multihulls. I'd intended to have that for you on Thursday. Then I got a phone call from my husband. "Hi, hon. First, I'm okay. Second, I was in an accident." He'd been driving home. A petroleum tanker truck changed lanes right into him. Fortunately, it was a low speed accident. They were in the city at a spot where the road goes beneath an underpass. DH had no where to go to escape being hit. No damage to either driver. No damage to the tanker truck. The driver's side of our car? Well. Peeled a good bit of that. It's fixable. But the car is twelve years old. It will likely cost more to fix it than the car is worth. So we started the insurance claim process and began shopping for a replacement car.

Saturday morning, during an all too brief sunny patch, DH and I took the cats out on the dock. They wandered and rolled and sniffed the warm air. And then, Erie, our 17 year old, deaf gal fell off the dock into the water. We've had a cat fall in once before. He popped right back up, head above water and swam. Not Eratosthenes. She hit the water and panicked. She began spinning, unable to tell which way was up. She sank fast. DH sprinted to her, threw himself down on the dock and could only barely reach her. He grabbed her by the tail and hauled her up.

I got there in time to gather her up in my arms, and realize she'd inhaled some sea water. Instantly, I switched my hold on her - her butt up near my shoulder and her head hanging down at my waist. Water drained out of her lungs through her nose.

We rushed her inside and wrapped her in towels while we heated fresh water. Puget Sound water temperatures run about 50 degrees. We knew we had to get the cat warmed up, so DH filled the kettle and put it on the stove. It takes very little time to warm water to a comfortable bath temperature. As I was already soaked through with sea water, I took the cat and the kettle into the head for a warming, freshwater rinse down.

Erie wasn't at all impressed with the need to rinse the saltwater out of her fur, never mind that the water was warm. I bundled her up in a fresh towel to begin drying her off, but by this time, she'd recovered enough and had gotten mad enough that she wanted nothing more to do with me. She stomped off, her fur standing out in stiff spikes, and found a secluded location where she could lick herself dry. We tried to help by applying the blowdryer, but that merely offended her further.

For anyone writing about boats, falling into the water is one of the dangers. Most boaters are very good about wearing life jackets while the boat is moving. Few of us wear life jackets just walking around the docks or while working on our boats while at dock. Yet, according to the paramedics who responded when my dad fell in (that's another story for the post specifically about lifejackets) said that 90% of all accidental 'in the water' incidents happen at dock. A number of pet companies make life preservers for dogs. These are jackets with big loop handles on the back, so you can grab hold and lift the animal out. No one seems to make them for cats - assuming you could convince a cat to wear one anyway.

Madam Erie will no longer go out on the dock without a halter and leash. If I could find or make a little kitty-sized life preserver, she'd never go out without that on, either.

Really. Next time. I promise you some info about multihulls.


  1. This is way more excitement than you need. I'm glad everyone's okay!

  2. Poor Erie. She must have been so scared! And then the indignity of the cleansing bath. Relieved to be able to breathe by the end of this.

  3. It was so horrifying, seeing her under the water and sinking and so obviously terrified. I have her on a flower essence for fighting infection - our sea water is full of all kinds of organisms. So while it's obvious there's no water in her lungs, I do have concern about what *else* may be in there. We'll call her vet on Monday and see whether he thinks she should have antibiotics just in case.

  4. Poor car and poor kitty. Sorry about your craptastic end of the week. I've heard about those dog life-preservers. Wouldn't a small dog one work for your cats? Do they even make small dog ones? I live in the high desert, so my need for life preservers is nil.

    I hope Erie stays okay and that the new car isn't too expensive.

  5. WOW, what an adventure! I hope there are no aftereffects for Erie after that dip in the sea! Very happy that all turned out okay too. Maybe there is a way to equip a halter device with flotation tubes? Just a wild thought... You need a good seamstress to figure that one out, and that is not me. And hope for a nice not too expensive new vehicle.