If you’re like me, then you understand me when I say that there’s something about cats that is so irresistibly charming. These furry friends serve as great companions, whether your cat silently stares at you from across the room like my old grump, Aslan, screams in your face at 5:00 am like my black cat, Noodles, or silently cuddles with you like my youngest cat, Nutmeg.
One thing that a huge number of cat lovers across the world have in common is that their cats are rescue cats that were adopted through shelters, rescues, or directly from the street. After all, some of us don’t adopt our cats so much as our cats adopt us by showing up one day.
No matter how you came into the ownership of your cat, you probably see the importance of providing cats with shelter, safety, and veterinary care, which are all things that shelters, rescues, and sanctuaries are perfect for achieving.
One cat rescue you may not have ever heard of is De Poezenboot in Amsterdam. There’s one thing that really sets this shelter apart from all the others, though: De Poezenboot is located fully on water.
What Is De Poezenboot?
De Poezenboot is a cat sanctuary that is also known as “the cat boat,” and for good reason. This cat shelter is fully located on a boat in Amsterdam’s Herengracht canal. Before this cat sanctuary became a full-blown sanctuary, it started the same way that most rescues and sanctuaries start: with a cat lover who kept acquiring cats.
Mrs. Henriette V. Weelde lived in Amsterdam across the street from the canal. Underneath a tree near the canal, she found a cat with a litter of kittens and took them in. She continued to take in stray cats to the point that she became known as “the cat lady” and people started bringing her more cats.
Eventually, she ran out of space in her home for the cats. In searching for a solution, it became apparent that a houseboat on the canal was a great solution because it allowed her more space to take in cats while still being close by to care for them.
Is De Poezenboot Located on the Original Boat?
In 1968, a Dutch sailing barge was purchased to house the cat sanctuary, and it was fully stripped and made to be safe for cats to live in. Once the cat boat was up and running, volunteers soon arrived to help manage the sanctuary. In 1971, a second boat was purchased and given the gut and rebuild treatment the first boat received.
In 1979, the first boat was allowed to retire and was replaced with a type of boat commonly known as an “ark,” which seems extremely appropriate considering the number of animals living in De Poezenboot.
To this day, the second and third boats are still housing cats in the Herengracht canal, although both have received multiple bouts of maintenance and upgrades to keep them safe for the cats, volunteers, and visitors.
Who Pays for De Poezenboot?
De Poezenboot is 100% supported by donors from all over the world. If you’ve ever made a donation to this organization, then you’ll be happy to know that your donation doesn’t just support cats living on the boat.
De Poezenboot is responsible for a variety of forms of feline support around Amsterdam. They support spay and neuter efforts around the city for strays, and they also help people afford microchips for their cats.
They can take in cats from citizens who are no longer able to provide for them or whose cats have reproduced to a point that the owner can no longer afford to support their cats. De Poezenboot does everything in their power to find appropriate homes for their cats, but they also provide a safe and loving home for cats when they don’t find the right home.
Most cat lovers, myself included, can get on board with De Poezenboot and other organizations that support the well-being of cats. While there are cat rescues and sanctuaries all over the world, there is nothing else that matches the uniqueness of having a cat sanctuary fully on water.
The irony is not lost on me that cats are known to hate water, and someone might have put a cat sanctuary in the middle of a canal, but we can all get on board with the wonderful service that De Poezenboot is providing to the cats of Amsterdam.
Cat mom to Ivy – a feisty little rescue kitten that is her one and only child. For now! Throughout her life, she has been introduced to the special love that can be found in the bond with a cat. Having owned multiple felines, she is more than certain that their love is unmatched, unconditional and unlike any other. With a passion to educate the public about everything, there is to know about felines, their behavior, and their unique personalities, Crystal is devoted to making sure that all cats and their owners know the importance of conscious living – and loving!