When it comes to cat rescues, one may not imagine one on an aquatic houseboat. But you’ll find one in the canals of Amsterdam, Netherlands, called De Poezenboot, which rescues 200-250 cats annually. It may at first sound like the concept wouldn’t hold water, but this rescue boat has helped thousands of cats over 55 years!
“Water and cats. Most cats hate water, but our cats? Oh well, as long as their feet stay dry…” they state.
De Poezenboot, or roughly, “The Cat Boat,” began helping stray, injured, and abandoned cats in 1968! Two years prior, a cat lover, Mrs. Henriette V. Weelde, started caring for one mama cat and kittens. When she ran out of room in her home, she bought a houseboat for the needed space in a city known for thousands of such boats.
De Poezenboot’s All-Volunteer Cat Crew
A volunteer “Cat Crew” came aboard the floating cat shelter, which moved to a new Ark in 1979, the same one around today. In addition to caring for and finding homes for cats, they help control the cat population with affordable spaying and neutering. They also hold educational events for the community.
The rescue is truly one-of-a-kind, “the one and only animal shelter that is literally in the water,” their website states. Since then, it’s become a landmark (watermark?) and world-famous. All these years, donations have kept De Poezenboot afloat. Indoors, it looks like a well-designed cat shelter, with open play areas for kitties and kennels where cats which may have behavioral issues are kept safe (see video below).
This is a Love Boat for all felines, complete with an aquatic catio!
But they hope to build a new one after all these years. And if they receive sufficient donations, the new Poezenboot will take to the water with solar power and more space to save and care for Amsterdam cats and kittens.
The city also has an incredible museum called The Cat Cabinet dedicated to feline-inspired art, including artists like Picasso, Rembrandt, and Henri de Toulouse L’Autrec.
Video about De Poezenboot by Tom Papworth:
A Visit to De Poezenboot
Recently, cat behavior consultant Ingrid Johnson from Fundamentally Feline visited De Poezenboot. We previously shared a story about Johnson’s tips for helping cats take their medication. Here she is with a special friend she found aboard the vessel.
Below, a cat meets a regal aquatic visitor via Instagram.
Other cats enjoy lots of stimulation from homemade food puzzles and toys. There’s a giant cat scratching post, cat trees, and a surprising room inside, although you might not suspect it from the outside view. What an ameowzing and historic rescue effort and we hope they will soon be celebrating on a newly-modernized De Poezenboot!
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