The Catboat: the cat shelter boat that floats on the canals of Amsterdam


Reading time 4 minutes

This is a story of solidarity, generosity and love for animals. This is a story that takes us to Amsterdam, to Amsterdam in the late 60s, when Henriette Weelde decided to take care of a cat and her young that sought refuge in front of her house.

Henriette, of course, did not imagine that this altruistic act would lead to the creation of an authentic floating cat sanctuary.
Fifty years later, this sanctuary still survives and, with the founding status acquired, The Catboat Foundation remains committed to its goal: to take care of abandoned cats in the Dutch capital and try to give them a better future .

The Catboat: el barco-refugio de gatos que flota en los canales de Ámsterdam

This ray of sun is mine © Djaro-G

“Our goal is to give them a new home and find them a beautiful family. For some cats, this comes easily, but for the elderly, those who have difficult medical conditions or need special attention usually need more time until we find the perfect home, ”they explain to from the Foundation.
They don't keep track of how many cats they have already helped. And it is that the doors of this ship are the place they call “former owners who can no longer take care of them for different types of reasons. Also the people who find them abandoned, ”they say.

“We can accommodate up to 50 cats. There is a small group of permanent residents who freely roam the ship. They are cats that do not socialize and, normally, it is not going well that they are in a house with a family: the boat is their house. Other cats stay here temporarily, until we find them a new house. ”
In that moment of time, The Catboat Foundation takes care of them, takes care that they pass a veterinary review, provides them with the necessary medical attention and guides their process to acclimatize to this cat friendly boat, that is, to a boat in the Everything revolves around these mininos.

The Catboat: el barco-refugio de gatos que flota en los canales de Ámsterdam

We have new guys on the channel! © De Poezenboot

“Our ship is designed as a shelter for cats: those who arrive must be kept separate from the others, so they have to be in a large cage. This cage is designed to be as comfortable as possible, with a place to sleep and a blanket that has its smell, also a scraper and toys. Cats that can walk the ship freely, can sleep and hide in different places, have enough small boxes and even have an outdoor terrace. We clean everything daily and, in addition to providing cats with food and medical care, we ensure that they receive the love and affection they need. ”

And yes, fellow traveler lover of cats, you can also visit them. “We are open to the public in the afternoon, between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. We close on Wednesdays and Sundays (…) You do not need to book, although, as we have enough fame in Amsterdam, it is usually quite crowded so visitors may have to wait a while outside until they can enter. Of course, we make sure it is not very crowded: we allow a maximum of 10 people inside, since the boat is not very large. ”
Always thinking about the welfare of cats, whose house you are visiting, from The Catboat Foundation remember that “cats are sensitive animals and do not like that there is much noise. People have to keep this in mind when visiting us (…) Some of them want a lot of attention, so they appreciate the visits. If they don't want to see anyone, they can always go to the outside area where visitors can't access or find a hiding place in the heights. ”

The Catboat: el barco-refugio de gatos que flota en los canales de Ámsterdam

The mealtime is sacred © De Poezenboot

Admission to the boat is free, but they ensure that donations are welcome, “since they are our main source of income (…) We depend entirely on donations, we do not receive any kind of subsidy. If we want to continue, we need all the support we can gather. The more support we get, the more we can do for cats. "
The Catboat Foundation is based on volunteers that you, if you are going to spend a long period in Amsterdam, can also be part of.

“A few months would be the minimum period of stay. Volunteers only work one day a week (…) Cleaning the different areas will take up most of the day, it will take them easily half a day. All cages, small boxes, floors, walls and baskets. And, of course, feed the cats and give them the attention they need, "they describe.

"In the afternoon, when we are open, we need people to receive visitors, tell them our story and work in our small gift shop. Those are all the tasks of a volunteer." To join your crew, you can Contact them via email, social networks or telephone to discuss the possibilities.

The Catboat: el barco-refugio de gatos que flota en los canales de Ámsterdam

If I ignore you, don't bother me © Judith