All Aboard the Catboat

August 2017

It’s a long known fact that cats and water don’t mix – but in the Netherlands, that seems to be irrelevant, as there is a boat devoted entirely to 50+ stray and abandoned cats.

The ultimate cat lady was Henriette van Weelde in 1966 – she took in a stray cat and her kittens, and before she knew it, there were strays coming from all over to live with her. The cats were all over her house, her garden, her roof terrace… and still more were coming. So she then had a great idea: why not put em on a boat?  So she bought them a boat, stripped it, and converted it into a boat just for cats. Along with the furry critters came volunteers to help out, and thus: the catboat was born.

Then, after just three years, there was a call for another boat. And to this day, the boats are moored side by side in Singel canal in Amsterdam.

It’s the world’s most famous cat sanctuary. They take care of the cats, make sure that they are fixed, chipped, and healthy, and then go about rehoming them. Visitors welcome – but be careful, you take pity on one, and you could become the world’s next ultimate cat lady. 

Photos from De Poezenboot

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