It’s not unusual to see houseboats on Amsterdam’s many canals. The city is famous for them after all, and living on a houseboat is as normal as renting an apartment for many of the city’s residents. On one canal in particular, however, the living arrangements are a little different. The houseboat known as De Poezeboot has some unusual residents.
De Poezeboot translates as The Catboat, and that is exactly what it is. This floating home is a sanctuary for the city’s strays. The project started in the 1960s when a woman named Henriette took in a number of abandoned cats, and then a couple more, and a couple more, until she had no more room in her home.
The solution was to get a bigger home – a houseboat – and to make it cat friendly for her furry housemates. She set the houseboat up with feline friendliness in mind – it features feeding areas, a separate quarantine area for any sick strays, and lots of fun toys for the cats to play with. There are also access panels where the cats can take a supervised walk onto dry land. It truly became a floating paradise for Henriette’s rescued pets!
Soon the word spread about Henriette’s mission and Amsterdam’s residents began to bring stray and abandoned cats to her door. To keep the good work going, the Cat Boat was registered as a charity and began accepting visitors and donations. Visitors can even adopt a furry friend. Unsurprisingly, Henriette is now known as ‘the cat lady’ to locals.
There are around 50 cats living on the Catboat at any one time. They can roam freely around the boat, mingling with the visitors and volunteers, playing with their toys and sleeping in cozy beds. They can even enjoy the sunshine outdoors without fear of dipping into the water thanks to the enclosed terrace.
Amsterdam is well known as a city with weird and wacky attractions – the Red Light District is one that springs to mind! This floating cat shelter, however, may be the most unique place of all. It certainly makes a change from a day spent roaming around the history museums. These felines seem to defy the idea that cats hate water – in fact, they thrive on it!
Image Credits: Vice