Believed to be one of the few floating animal sanctuary in the world, the Catboat is a refuge for stray and abandoned felines in Amsterdam. Browse our gallery of the furry residents
Most felines generally avoid water, but the furry residents of the Catboat in Amsterdam seem perfectly at home on board their houseboat.
The floating sanctuary on the Singel canal has been looking after stray and abandoned cays since 1968.
Known locally as De Poezenboot, the specially converted boat is home to around 50 cats – many of them can be adopted.
It has also become a popular tourist attraction for visitors to Amsterdam.
The Catboat was set up by Henriette van Weelde after she ran out of room at home for all of the stray moggies that she cared for.
Dubbed the “Cat Lady”, van Weelde decided to buy an old Dutch sailing barge believing that if humans could live on board then so could cats.
The vessel was acquired in 1968, and it was converted to make it feline-friendly.
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After three years, the barge was filled to capacity so a second boat was purchased and fitted out in 1971.
By 1979, the original barge needed to be retired so a third vessel was needed.
The “Ark” houseboat was professionally converted into a cat sanctuary by a boat yard, and both boats remained moored on the Singel canal.
In 1987, the Catboat achieved official charity status, and it is now run by a small staff of volunteers.
The vessel has also been completely refurbished so it meets all of the legal requirements for a modern animal sanctuary.
Strays brought to the Catboat are initially quarantined when they arrive. They are then neutered and microchipped.
Once they have passed quarantine, the felines are then allowed to roam the boat freely, entertaining the thousands of tourists who visit each year.