Back to Stories

Gollum Swims Home!
February 2004 — missing 2 days.
After disappearing from the deck of his catamaran home and no where to be seen, 4 month old Gollum manages to swim back aboard to the relief and delight of his family.

Gollum the Sailor Cat (look at that cute pink nose! >.< )

I don't recall ever hearing a story such as this. Kitty disappears from the deck of a boat after presumably slipping and falling while playing with bugs and whatnot. Owners search aboard the boat. Owners search ashore. Owners search every inch of the waterline surrounding the boat. Kitty is nowhere to be seen and sharks circle ominously. Two days later kitty returns. Read for yourself how this amazing cat did it in Gollums Voyage and Homecoming:



I happened upon your site after my kitten was lost and found. A story a little different from the others on your website, your comment would be interesting.

My husband and I live on a large boat from where we take guests diving and fishing in the Seychelles. Each charter is for at least a week with at least 8 new faces each time. Mid-November we found a little feral kitten trapped in a fishing net when we went to the fishing port to bunker. He was dirty, smelly, had a cut on his throat and around his stomach. We guessed he was around 25 days old, but he had a lot of spunk.

We took him in, nursed his injuries, fed him and eventually settled on a name - Gollum.

He was a real tyrant, attacking our hands ferociously and running around like the wild thing he was.He tried to fight us off, but eventually with a lot of attention and love he became very sociable and enjoyed each introduction to new guests. He loves to play outside on the ships decks and catch little insects, showing no fear for the water or for heights (the boat is at least 2 stories high). He fell in twice and was rescued each time by my husband.

He (we actually believe that it is a she now) has eyes for my husband only. He'll be lying quietly, but when he hears the dinghy coming back, he jumps up and starts talking with little guttoral noises, non-stop. He runs like a little dog after a ball and brings it back; he comes when you call him and plays tag when you run; he also has his own version of hide and seek, and doesn't allow any woollen socks lying around - they have to be dragged to his (our) bed (even wet ones, that belong to our clients)!

On Friday night we had friends over for supper. They brought their dog with, and he wasn't too taken with this. He kept to himself, sleeping, until they left at around midnight. He had a snack and then didn't want to sleep but played on the aft deck. We fell asleep and when we woke up in the morning he was nowhere to be seen. We felt sick! We looked everywhere the whole Saturday and Sunday morning: inside the boat, on the water, at the other boats and on land - calling and asking around.

We slept very badly that evening, both dreaming that we can hear the cat, but hearing nothing when we were fully awake. By Sunday afternoon we started looking for tracks on shore and found none. We came back to the boat and investigated every inch of the waterline. There are deep scratchmarks in the exhaust (which is just big enough to hold onto, but just too small to climb up onto.) The paint of both the aft stairways have deep scratches. While we were looking at this, we also noticed the 2 small-ish sharks that have been around the boat for days now, are very interested when we splash in the water. We closed the chapter there. We were very tired and very sad. There was no body, but we were pretty sure we knew what happened... - and then 4 o' clock on Monday morning Gollum arrived at the boat. He woke us up with a very load call and there he was - wet, but otherwise OK. He ate only a little bit of food, but couldn't stop miauwing and we couldn't hold and stroke him enough. His head was still dry when he got here!

From where we are moored, it is about 10m to the side, with a very rocky shallow bit, but then he still has to swim to the stern to get up, another 24m. We found the wet paws exactly where he tried and failed to get out previously. Today she has been rolling on her back and making small sounds with an excretion from the vulva... she is only 4 months old, but it seems that she is starting to mature sexually. Could it be that the trauma has brought her going into heat early? There are no wild cats around; apart from all the fish there are a lot of wild dogs and large birds walking around the rocks.

Have you ever heard of a cat swimming back to his home? We are obviously delighted; she is such a bundle of joy. I have enclosed a picture for your pleasure.

Best wishes

Hi Desire

What an amazing story! Thank you for sharing your story. I don't recall any other cats swimming home.

"From where we are moored, it is about 10m to the side, with a very rocky shallow bit, but then he still has to swim to the stern to get up, another 24m."

I am unclear from which point you are measuring the 24 meters. Was your boat anchored out in water or moored to a dock when Gollum disappeared? Do you think he jumped/fell off the boat into the water or maybe it is 24 meters from the dock to the boat? After the friend with the dog left (and after Gollum presumably left the boat) did you stay moored or did you sail any distance?

What I am curious is Gollums motivation. . .if he fell off the boat, he spent all his efforts getting back onto the boat he fell off. If he was left ashore by accident, he had to jump into the water and swim to get back home. Either way he/she is one brave kitty. What a spunky kitty she is!

You better spay her soon or she will be wandering more to find a mate. She's such a precious kitty I wouldn't want her to have to swim home twice. It certainly makes sense that her heat may have come on triggered by the recent adventure. It is sometimes natures way to hurry up and reproduce if an organism is threatened. For example fruit trees can often be triggered to fruit if stressed.

May I share your story on my website? I know it will give many people hope. Thank you sooo much for sharing this. What a pretty kitty indeed :)

Best regards,

Hi Pauline,

Of course you can share our Gollum's story on your website. She definitely does have a point to make.

Just to clear the point of the boat's position: The boat (a catamaran) is anchored in an open bay, close to the shore. The bow is closest to shore (10m), the boat is about 24m long, which means that the stern (2 stairways, the only access to the water) is approximately 34m from the shore. After our friends left, the boat did not move and Gollum was exactly where we left him, but he was very playful, because he had been sleeping during their visit. We cannot think that he jumped off and then tried so hard to get back, we definitely believe he slipped and fell. We have often seen him reaching very far over to try and catch some flying insects. It was raining earlier, the deck was wet and he presumably slipped.

We'll never know, but we are sooooo happy. It took me a while to work out that he is a she and that she is on heat, but we have decided to have her spayed, like you advised.

Thanks for your great website, it certainly showed us that we were doing the right thing.

Best wishes


Back to Stories

2000-2004 All rights reserved.