This is the amazing story of an adventurous cat who spends her life sailing with her seafaring owners.
Miss Rigby, a four-year-old American Burmese also known as Rigs, Riggles or Chicken, has lived on a boat with her owners from Florida since she was a kitten.
She loves nothing more than exploring the waters of the U.S and the Caribbean Sea with them – and now has an Instagram following of 38,000.
Miss Rigby has lived on her owners’ boat since she was an 11-week-old kitten
Given her many nautical adventures, Miss Rigby, also known as Rigs, Riggles or Chicken, can be said to be a real ‘paw-rate’ of the Caribbean
Miss Rigby is an American Burmese, known to be the most ‘dog-like’ of all cat breeds. They are extremely loving and loyal, and also trainable – ‘well, as much as you can train a cat,’ her owner Maryvonne La Peyre said
Shane La Peyre, 53, and his wife, Maryvonne, 52, previously owned an architect firm together before quitting 10 years ago to pursue their passion for sailing.
They now live on their boat and travel full time, though they occasionally take on freelance jobs, working as crew on other people’s boats.
Maryvonne said: ‘Miss Rigby has lived on the boat with us her whole life since she was an 11-week-old kitten. The boat is her home and she loves it.
‘Burmese are known to be the most “dog-like” of all cat breeds.
‘They are extremely loving and loyal and also trainable – well, as much as you can train a cat.’
Florida couple Maryvonne and Shane sail around the east coast of the U.S and the Caribbean with Miss Rigby
Miss Rigby is only allowed on deck in very calm waters and under strict supervision
The feline sailor loves nothing more than exploring the waters of the U.S and the Caribbean
Explaining how the story of Miss Rigby’s adventures on the high seas went viral, she said: ‘I started Rigby’s Instagram account in early 2017 after posting way too many cat pics on my own Facebook account. It flourished from there and went a bit nuts.’
Detailing her four-legged skipper’s travels, Maryvonne explained: ‘Rigs came from a breeder in Connecticut. She joined us on the boat in Long Island, New York, and since then we have sailed up and down the East Coast and into the Bahamas numerous times.
‘We have been through the Caribbean with her down to Grenada stopping at most islands. She has travelled on our 50ft sailboat as well as larger powerboats that we have worked on and delivered up and down the U.S East Coast.
Maryvonne said: ‘We can be in terrible sea conditions, but Miss Rigby makes it bearable with her purring and cuteness. I can’t imagine not having her on board’
Miss Rigby’s owner, Maryvonne, began sharing pictures of her on Instagram in early 2017. ‘It flourished from there and went a bit nuts,’ she said
Miss Rigby is always keeping an eye on things on board, but spends most of her time below deck for safety reasons
‘We have so many memories, but the main one is how happy she makes us and how much we laugh at her and love her.
‘We can be in terrible sea conditions, but she makes it bearable with her purring and cuteness. I can’t imagine not having her on board.
‘Our walks and hikes are also a lot of fun and watching her do crazy runs chasing Shane makes life better. We have trained her to be like a dog and she hasn’t let us down.’
Maryvonne said: ‘She is very sure-footed and aware of the water around her’
From her vantage point on a dinghy, Miss Rigby keeps an eye out for any dangers at sea – or perhaps she’s just hoping to spot some tasty fish
Miss Rigby doesn’t wear a life jacket because it would make her more clumsy
But is it really safe to bring a cat on board?
‘Our main concern always is her safety,’ Maryvonne said. ‘While at sea she is mainly locked down below and is only allowed on deck in the cockpit in calm conditions and under strict supervision. We are often asked about why she doesn’t wear a life jacket.
‘We tried one on her but it just made her more clumsy. She can swim well and we would pick her up quickly if she fell in… to be honest, I would jump in after her.
‘Our safety and the cat’s is very important and we have a lot of strategies in place in case of emergencies.
‘We also have a net hanging from the back of the boat in case she slipped off the boat whilst at anchor.
‘This has, thankfully, never happened. She is very sure-footed and aware of the water around her.’
‘Is that a pirate ship I spot in the distance?’ Miss Rigby takes her role on board very seriously
The four-year-old Champagne-coloured American Burmese cat has gained 38,000 Instagram followers
Miss Rigby found her sea legs at an early age, so perching on the edge of a dingy is a cinch