Amsterdam’s canal network is home to numerous houseboats but one stands out in particular because its residents happen to be cats.
The Catboat (De Poezenboot), on the Singel canal, is a sanctuary for stray and abandoned cats. Hailed as the “only animal sanctuary that literally floats, The Cat Boat aims to help as many cats as possible. The Catboat takes in strays and unwanted cats, sterilises and neuters cats to prevent unwanted litters, gives cats essential vaccinations and finds cats new, loving homes. For those that can’t be rehomed, the cats are looked after by staff on The Catboat.
The Catboat started in 1966 when Amsterdam resident Henriette van Weelde took in a family of stray cats. She continued taking in cats until she had no more room in her house. She needed to find a more long term solution; so, she bought a barge that her kitties could call home.
More than 50 years later and The Catboat is still floating on the Singel canal, and has now become a tourist attraction.
Today, The Catboat houses around 40 cats. The cats are not confined to inside; there is an outdoor area along the canal where the cats can walk and enjoy the sun. Some cats are also allowed to roam around outside under close supervision of staff.
Although The Catboat is primarily an adoption centre, it receives no municipal funding and relies solely on donations. Therefore, tourists are welcome to visit and donations are highly appreciated.
The Catboat, which does not receive municipal funding, is financially supported by donors. The Catboat accepts donations including unwanted cat items such as toys and scratching posts, as well as monetary donations.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea