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People Are Saying That This Floating Cat Sanctuary Is Amsterdam’s Best-Hidden Attraction
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People Are Saying That This Floating Cat Sanctuary Is Amsterdam’s Best-Hidden Attraction

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While cats are not the biggest fans of water, the felines of De Poezenboot seem perfectly content with their floating house. De Poezenboot, which translates directly to “The Cat Boat,” is the world’s one and only floating cat sanctuary. Founded back in 1968 by avid cat lover Henriette van Weelde, the Cat Boat in Amsterdam is home to approximately 50 cats, with 14 of them being permanent residents.

“Most cats hate water. But ours learn to love living on it. After all, we have been keeping their feet dry since 1968,” the official website of De Poezenboot reads. While due to the lockdown, the Cat Boat is not open to the public just yet, those looking to adopt a cat can call the sanctuary and arrange a meeting.

More info: Official website | Instagram

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    This handsome fella is one of the Cat Boat’s residents

    Image credits: depoezenboot.amsterdam

    Back in 1966, animal lover Henriette van Weelde found a family of cats sheltering under a tree next to her house. She decided to take them in. Soon enough, another stray feline joined. Then another one. And another… Before she knew it, Henriette became known as “the cat lady.” People started bringing her cats that they could no longer care for, so naturally, her home space became too small for all the furry friends there. That’s how Henriette came up with the idea of a cat boat. As her house was facing a canal, she bought a Dutch sailing barge in 1968 and made its interior feline-friendly.

    Located in Amsterdam, this is the first (and only!) floating cat sanctuary in the world

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    Image credits: Jorge Royan

    There are about fifty cats living there

    Image credits: depoezenboot.amsterdam

    The boat is a refuge for abandoned and stray felines

    Image credits: depoezenboot.amsterdam

    As soon as the first residents of the cat boat started moving in, people started offering their help to care for the cats. However, the original barge Henriette bought was “bursting at the seams after just three years.” So she bought a second one in 1971 and, by this time, people had started visiting the cat boat, too. Not just to drop them off, but to take them to their homes, 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 reads.

    De Poezenboot was opened back in 1968

    Image credits: depoezenboot.amsterdam

    Founded by Henriette van Weelde, at first, it was home to stray, ill, and abandoned kitties

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    Image credits: depoezenboot.amsterdam

    But it soon grew into an official charity

    Image credits: depoezenboot.amsterdam

    On 3 June 1987, the Cat Boat was registered as an official charity and a Stichting de Poezenboot (“Catboat Foundation”) was established. Sadly, in 2006, one of the cat boats had to be towed away after the official city authorities decided so. “Now we have to work with half the space,” volunteers write on the website. “That is very regrettable but of course we will go on.”

    Most of the cuties living there are up for adoption

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    Image credits: depoezenboot.amsterdam

    And all of them are cared for by about 25 volunteers

    Image credits: depoezenboot.amsterdam

    The cat boat is open for the public to visit at specific hours

    Image credits: depoezenboot.amsterdam

    The cat boat is open to visitors, but only for a few hours each day. The main focus of the sanctuary remains the same as it was decades ago: to care for cats and help to find loving homes for them. However, it’s worth mentioning that the adoption process is very rigorous⁠—but it’s done to ensure that the felines will be properly taken care of and loved.

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    However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the cat boat won’t be welcoming visitors at least up until 1st June. However, for those looking to adopt a cat from there, the sanctuary encourages making a call to arrange a 1-on-1 meeting with a cat.

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    Neringa Utaraitė

    Neringa Utaraitė

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    Neringa is a proud writer at Bored Panda who used to study English and French linguistics. Although she has many different interests, she's particularly drawn to covering stories about pop culture as well as history. While not at the office, this Panda enjoys creepy movies, poetry, photography and learning how to play the piano.

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    Neringa Utaraitė

    Neringa Utaraitė

    Author, Community member

    Neringa is a proud writer at Bored Panda who used to study English and French linguistics. Although she has many different interests, she's particularly drawn to covering stories about pop culture as well as history. While not at the office, this Panda enjoys creepy movies, poetry, photography and learning how to play the piano.

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    r_henderson4 avatar
    troux avatar
    Troux
    Community Member
    4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Did anyone else read the title and think "Wow, a sanctuary for floating cats!"

    lewisksmith avatar
    Lewisk Smith
    Community Member
    4 years ago

    This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

    Starving and injured, this old dog is seized from the brink of death 3th Imagine being so hungry you can barely move. Weak, miserable and aching with every movement, pleading to those around you for help. This was Charlie’s existence. Sadly, the majority of Charlie’s life was a struggle. A sweet Staffordshire dog whose eyes said it all. Suffering, suffering and more suffering. Charlie shortly after seizure My name is Cheryl Doudle and I have been an inspector at RSPCA South Australia for seven years. Animal cruelty cases are never easy, but some tend to stay with you more than others. Charlie is one of those cases for me. A call to our cruelty report hotline sparks awful discovery The first time RSPCA South Australia received a call about Charlie from a concerned member of the public, we arrived at the Sefton Park home to discover two slightly underweight, but reasonably healthy dogs. We were relieved that it wasn’t one of ‘those’ cases.

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    tyroberts avatar
    Ty Roberts
    Community Member
    4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    I’ve been there. When you’re on vacation missing your pets, it’s a wonderful stop. We petted, they purred and we bought souvenirs and made a donation. It made our day.

    Load More Comments
    r_henderson4 avatar
    troux avatar
    Troux
    Community Member
    4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Did anyone else read the title and think "Wow, a sanctuary for floating cats!"

    lewisksmith avatar
    Lewisk Smith
    Community Member
    4 years ago

    This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

    Starving and injured, this old dog is seized from the brink of death 3th Imagine being so hungry you can barely move. Weak, miserable and aching with every movement, pleading to those around you for help. This was Charlie’s existence. Sadly, the majority of Charlie’s life was a struggle. A sweet Staffordshire dog whose eyes said it all. Suffering, suffering and more suffering. Charlie shortly after seizure My name is Cheryl Doudle and I have been an inspector at RSPCA South Australia for seven years. Animal cruelty cases are never easy, but some tend to stay with you more than others. Charlie is one of those cases for me. A call to our cruelty report hotline sparks awful discovery The first time RSPCA South Australia received a call about Charlie from a concerned member of the public, we arrived at the Sefton Park home to discover two slightly underweight, but reasonably healthy dogs. We were relieved that it wasn’t one of ‘those’ cases.

    Load More Replies...
    tyroberts avatar
    Ty Roberts
    Community Member
    4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    I’ve been there. When you’re on vacation missing your pets, it’s a wonderful stop. We petted, they purred and we bought souvenirs and made a donation. It made our day.

    Load More Comments
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