Saturday, January 7, 2012

A cat aboard the Rainbow Warrior --Greenpeace Days

Clawed on the gangway. Photo by Pat Herron
Claude--or, more appropriately, Clawed--was named shortly before I joined the crew on board Greenpeace's ship the Rainbow Warrior. I can't quite recall the story of how the ship came to have a cat, but likely she was a stray wharf cat who came aboard and decided to stay.

Her name was actually Clawed E. Balls (you'll figure out the middle name in a minute), and like most cats, she was adept at recognizing those who disliked her kind. Shortly after her arrival, she decided to jump onto our ship manager Ed's lap, When he grabbed her up to dislodge her, she tried to stay put--the crew got a good laugh, and she got a name.

But we weren't laughing when she went into heat as we traveled up the coast from San Francisco to Portland. As crew member Pat Herron puts it, she "drove the crew bonkers with her incessant howling while blocking the main passageway with her butt high in the air." Once we put into port, we lobbied Ed to get her fixed. No one wanted to go to sea for months with a cat in heat.

Pat remembers Clawed's return: "The ship was packed with visitors from stem to stern when Clawed came on deck after Ed brought her back after the vet visit. I had climbed into the crow's nest and caught the entirety of the ensuing action.

"A visitor had brought his terrier-sized dog onboard and they had made their way onto the main deck at the mast base when Clawed saw the dog. She fluffed, yowled, arched her back and took off after the dog  hissing and chasing it around Ed, through the crowd, up the ladder to the bridge deck, onto the gangway and off the boat. It happened almost as quick as it takes to read this. Ed was still on the main deck, wondering what the heck just happened. He didn't complain about Clawed very much after that."

That's how the ship's cat earned Ed's grudging respect, despite having initially gotten off on the wrong, er, foot.

And (unlike me), Clawed never got seasick, either.

(Want to read more about Greenpeace days? Click on the "Search this Blog" box to the right and enter the word Greenpeace.) 


  1. Jeeze, what an amazon!  After my hysterectomy I wasn't about to go chasing dogs!  I love this.  Cat in heat from San Francisco to Portland.  Soooo plaintive!!!

  2. There's a germ of a novel  in that story.

  3. Sounds like Clawed was the ruler of the ship.  My cat, Mooshoo, has  my sons large dog scared of him, and that dog is big enough to eat him in one gulp.  But the first time she saw the dog, she took off after him and attacked him.  So now the dog cowers when she is near and will not get near her for anything!

  4. That was some cat (exclamation point)

  5. Oh my gosh that is so funny Patricia.  Always wondered what is it about cats though that makes them pick out the cat-phobics among us?  (We had a couple of Siamese years and years ago and they'd always head for my mom's lap when she visited..putting her in agony). 

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