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All paws on deck: Singapore company launches luxury cat cruise

By Agence France-Presse Published Aug 19, 2023 9:41 am

Cat owners in Singapore can now take their pets on luxury sunset cruises, perfect for pampered kitties who enjoy the finer things in life. 

Onboard the tall ship Royal Albatross, the animals can lounge in custom-built "cat-bana" cages as their owners enjoy a four- or seven-course dinner beside them on deck. 

The ship's operator introduced the cat-friendly sailings this month after dog cruises launched in 2021 proved popular. 

For two-and-a-half hours, up to 15 feline and 130 human passengers sail along the resort island of Sentosa, enjoying views of Singapore's skyline and a short fireworks display. 

"I think they're doing very well... they're enjoying the view and I guess the perceived freedom that they get," said Marissa Ng, a 28-year-old human resources professional whose five-year-old ragdolls Coco and Bobo sat looking out at the sea from a cage beside her table.

The ship has hosted over 2,000 dogs since 2021, and the cat cruises may soon catch up, with more than 200 tickets for human passengers—priced at Sg$225 (P9,309) each—having already been sold.

The cat and dog cruises have different sailing days.

While the canines are served an onboard three-course dinner at the table, cat owners take their pets' meals home since the finicky creatures tend to turn down food when they are outside of their comfort zone. 

The company running the cruises, Tall Ship Adventures, says it consulted with experts and cat welfare organisations such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to ensure a safe experience on board.

Precautions include making sure cats are securely harnessed and leashed at all times. They are also required to be vaccinated and sterilized, and to be transported in carriers while boarding. 

Four-month-old British shorthair kitten Mahmud appeared calm even though it was his first time in a harness, snoozing on a bench beside his family as they ate dinner. 

"This is a good time to spend the day as a family, since we just got Mahmud," said Aziana Aziz, a 41-year-old teacher sailing with her son and husband.

"He's enjoying it... he's curious, he's looking around, so yeah, happy cat, I guess." (AFP)