Floating Cat Shelter Is One Of The Amsterdam’s Greatest Less-Known Attractions

Floating Cat Shelter Is One Of The Amsterdam’s Greatest Less-Known Attractions

Even though cats don’t really like water, the residents of De Poezenboot seem perfectly fine with their floating home. De Poezenboot, which means “The Cat Boat,” is the only floating cat shelter in the world.

The unique cat shelter was founded back in 1968 by passionate cat lover Henriette van Weelde, and it is home to around 50 cats. Fourteen of the kitties are long-lasting residents.

“Most cats hate water. But ours learn to love living on it. After all, we have been keeping their feet dry since 1968,” De Poezenboot official website says. During the lockdown, the Cat Boat is not open to the public, but people who want to adopt a cat can contact the shelter and arrange a meeting.

This beautiful cat is one of the Cat Boat’s occupants

It all started back in 1966 when an animal lover Henriette van Weelde noticed a family of cats taking shelter under a tree close to her home. She couldn’t leave them stranded and decided to take them in. After a while, another stray cat joined them. And shortly after that - another one. 

Because of her kind heart and love for the felines, Henriette came to be known as “the cat lady.” People from all over the town started giving her felines that they were unable to care for anymore. Before she knew it, her house became too small for all the cats there. 

While looking for a solution to her space problem, Henriette came up with the idea of a boat for her cats. Luckily, the house is facing a canal, so she got a Dutch sailing barge in 1968 and adapted the interior for its new residents.

This is the only floating cat shelter in the world

There are nearly fifty felines living there

The boat is a shelter for neglected and stray felines

When the first inhabitants of the cat boat started to move in, people began offering their help around cats. Unfortunately, the first barge Henriette purchased was “bursting at the seams after just three years.” So she had no choice but to buy a second one in 1971.

The cat boat received more and more visitors, and the people were not coming just to drop the cats off, but to adopt them too. “Nobody back in 1966 could have dreamed that one mother cat and her kittens would begin what was now the world’s most famous cat sanctuary,” the official De Poezenboot website says.

De Poezenboot received its first occupants back in 1968

It was founded by Henriette van Weelde, and it is a home for ill, abandoned and stray kitties

But it became an official charity

The Cat Boat was listed as an official charity in 1987, and a Stichting de Poezenboot (“Catboat Foundation”) was formed. Unfortunately, in 2006, one of the barges had to be removed after the city authorities determined so. “Now we have to work with half the space,” the volunteers say. “That is very regrettable, but of course, we will go on.”

Most of the cats living here are available for adoption

The cats have about 25 volunteers caring for them

The shelter is open for the public during specific hours

The boat can be visited, but only for a few hours every day. The main idea behind the shelter remains the same as it was decades ago when it was founded: caring for the cats and helping them find their forever homes.

The adoption process is very strict and lengthy, but it is only to ensure that the cats are going to good homes.

Because of the coronavirus epidemic, the shelter will not be greeting visitors at least up until June 1st. But the people who are looking to adopt a kitty from there can call first and arrange a meeting.