Though cats typically avoid water at all costs, the felines of De Poezenboot, “The Cat Boat,” seem perfectly at home on their floating sanctuary.
De Poezenboot is an animal sanctuary floating on a canal in Amsterdam. It was founded by Henriette van Weelde in 1966 as a home for stray, sick, and abandoned felines, and has since grown into an official charity.
The house boat accommodates up to 50 cats at once, 14 of which are permanent residents. Human visitors are welcome on the vessel as well. Many come to choose a cat for adoption, but tourists are also welcome to drop in and scratch a kitty behind the ears.
As it is a charity, the boat sanctuary stays afloat thanks to donations left by visitors. All the money raised goes toward helping as many Amsterdam cats as possible. The Cat Boat Foundation pays for neutering of cats whose owners cannot afford veterinary care, as well as strays. Volunteers take care of the cats, some of whom are adopted by visitors. The cats are believed to readjust to life on land perfectly well in their new homes.
Know Before You Go
De Poezenboot is in central Amsterdam, a 10-minute walk from the main station. It's open to visitors three days a week. Check the website for days and hours and make a reservation if you want to visit the cats.