Anyone who’s been in Amsterdam, knows the city is all about canals and houseboats. The Catboat (De Poezenboot) is a unique houseboat that is turned into an animal shelter. It is run by group of volunteers with a big heart for animals and cats in particular. We won’t even bother explaining how unique a floating cat paradise is, as you could have probably guessed. Best thing is that The Catboat is open to public. So if you’re a cat lover visiting Amsterdam and you’re up for a relaxing moment away from the busy city, make sure to pay a visit to The Catboat. There’s no such thing as entrance fee, but of course you’re going to leave a donation to keep the cats dry and happy!
History of The Catboat
The story of ‘De Poezenboot’ or The Catboat dates back to the 1966, when founder Henriette van Weelde found a homeless cat family seeking shelter under a tree. She decided to take the cats with her and take care for them in her own home on the Herengracht. Soon after that first family of cats another strayed cat followed. Before Henriette knew it, rumour started to spread and people started bringing cats to her that they couldn’t take care of any longer. By 1968 Henriette was also known as “the cat lady” and she needed every part of her home to house all cats. At some point her entire home, garden and roof terrace were packed with cats and people were still bringing new cats in. Henriette needed to find a solution and she did, just by looking out of her window. As she looked at a houseboat in the Herengracht the idea of a houseboat as shelter for her cats arose. An old Dutch sailing barge was acquired and with the help of volunteers the interior was rebuild in order to fit it’s new function; a floating cat shelter. The boat served this purpose for over a decade until it was replaced in 1979.
Unfortunately Henriette passed away in 2005. Her work however is being continued by some of the loyal volunteers under the lead of Henriette’s close friend Judith, big applause to them!