This Cat Is A First-Rate First Mate
Paul J. Thompson is a small-craft marine architect and computer programmer in New Zealand. He spends his summers aboard La Chica, the boat he built himself, and dreams of sailing it around the world someday. Thompson is also deaf. But he’s got an assistant to alert him to maritime sounds: Strauss von Skattebol of Rebelpaws, a young polydactyl Maine coon cat who accompanies him on every journey. Skatty alerts Thompson to boats, visitors, and his ringing phone.
“Maine Coons are at home around water and in this case, Skatty is a polydactyl cat, which is what ships’ cats traditionally are,” Thompson said. “The old time sailors believed that the big polydactyl paws gave them a better grip on the deck and also made them better mousers. So for me, as a sailor, it is very satisfying to have a polydactyl cat.”