If you have never visited Amsterdam before, this particular cat boat would probably make you go there now. Yes, you have heard that right. It is a boat full of cats, the perfect place for anyone that enjoys their company.
This place is actually a houseboat that is located along the Herengracht canal. The cat boat wasn’t meant to be a tourist attraction at first. However, many tourists who were visiting Amsterdam and missed their own cats went there to spend time with new felines.
The story begins in 1966 when a woman named Henriette van Weelde started allowing cats into her home. She took pity on stray cats and started taking care of them, when even her neighbors started leaving cats at her doorstep.
Two years later, Henriette didn’t have room for more cats in her home, but she found the unused houseboat on the Herengracht Canal. For around 20 years this boat was in a way a “pirate” ship only until in 1897 when it obtained an official permit. With this, the cat sanctuary got its official name “the Cat Boat” or in Dutch “de Poezenboot”.
This place was running for decades and it served as a safe haven for all stray cats in Amsterdam. It was Henriette who was taking care of them until 2005 when she died and a small team of volunteers took over. Every day there are around 50 cats that are roaming around the boat. Only about 14 cats are residents there and the others are up for adoption.
The staff at the Cat boat is very strict about adoption
Even though most of the cats at the boat are up for adoption, the staff working there is very careful with choosing their new homes. They need to make sure that the potential new owners are ready to adopt the cats and have the right conditions for that. The staff run thorough interviews – they are asking them a lot of questions about their home arrangements just to make sure that the cats will adapt well in the new place.
There is also a procedure when taking on a new cat on the boat. Every new cat is first quarantined in a cage for a short period of time until she is neutered. Also, each cat is implanted with microchips. The purpose of this is to minimize the feral cat population and prevent abandoned cats from running away.
The cats really enjoy living on this boat, they have different toys and places to climb. One of the things they enjoy doing is looking at the ducks through the fence.