I just can't express my relief to find some like-minded catboaters and to know that folks are finally starting to talk about this issue.
For years I've been really embarrassed about the fact I bring my cats along on the river. I felt really slighted that dogs seem to be OK everywhere but so many people laugh and point when they see a rafter with his cats on the river. Finally I can come right out and tell people.
The whole reason I got into rafting years ago was so I wouldn't have to leave Mrs. Nibbles and Skookums at home while I went off on my weekend adventures. There's just no way they'd get to have as much fun catching wild mice and they enjoy camping so much it'd be an injustice to leave them at home. Not only that but its so easy to get them on trips where dogs are banned because it never occurred to the rangers anyone would bring their feline friends along. I say "show me in the regulations where it says I can't bring cats on the river" and they just look at me open mouthed and have to let me bring Mrs. Nibbles and Skookums! You shoudl've seen Ranger Dave at Lee's Ferry when Mrs. Nibbles was rubbing up against his legs while he gave us the check out talk - I was worried he was finally going to use that big gun he always carries!
As for keeping them from clawing the tubes, I've solved that problem and made it possible for them to ride where the action is by mounting a piece of thick carpet to the bow. They just dig in when we go into the big hits and ride through the waves like a couple of little champs. I learned this trick from a kayaker who had carpet mounted on his front and his cat would just hang on like velcro when he rolled or boofed. After I saw that I knew I'd found a way to get my kitties into the wild.
I'm so glad I've finally found some other catboaters and can't wait to get our kitties all together! I've got a June 5 permit for the Selway and just decided its going to be a catboating only trip! Shoot me a PM if you'd like to bring your frisky little fellas on some rocking whitewater.
Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse