A few of the boats had dogs on board as pets. We never did, but at one point in our tour, we had a cat. Actually, she was a kitten and we named her Fred.

Fred was an amazing cat. She ate C-rats and we were teaching her to poop in a dirt box on the fantail. She was a great pet in all respects. She was loved by all of us, but of course, I was her favorite.

Then one day, Fred went missing. We thought she might have fallen overboard or something. A few days later, our engineer heard her meowing in the bilges. Somehow she had gotten into the engine room, and got tangled up with the shaft. She was beat up pretty bad, broke a leg and her jaw, and it seemed like her spine had twisted.

I tried to convince everyone we could take her down river to a village and find a veterinarian, but it was obvious to all (but me) that Fred was beyond repair. So we beached the boat and BM2 and I gathered her up, took her ashore and dug a hole.

As we gently placed her in the hole, she meowed a sound that was different than her cries of pain. It was like she was telling us it was okay. BM2 used the pistol and sadly, we put her down.

Fred was only on the boat for a short time, but she has lived forever in the minds of me and the Boatswain Mate.

Here is the only two pictures I have of Fred.

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