The Catboat Amsterdam: an exclusive peek behind the scenesDennis Steenbakkers
We regularly visit various cat homes, shelters and cat cafés, but few of these locations are as special as the Catboat in Amsterdam. In the shadow of the picturesque canal houses on the Singel lies, as you might have guessed, a boat full of cats. This foundation received a number of scratching barrels as a gift from us. In this blog we describe our trip, so read on!
Many cat homes, shelters, stray cat organisations and cat hotels receive little or no subsidy and rely mainly on donations from cat lovers. To help some of these organisations, we have developed Petrebels Charity. Every now and then we donate scratching posts or cat litter to organisations that desperately need it. The Catboat was one of the lucky winners of this charity action, with a number of sturdy scratching barrels as prize.
The Amsterdam driving experience
On our way in our recognisable Petrebels bus, we traversed the narrow roads of 020. Avoiding all the tourists and cycling Amsterdammers was quite a task, but eventually we found our way without hitting a single iconic Amsterdam pole. The Catboat is a cosy place, with little room for storage. So we dropped some of our scratching barrels in their little warehouse before we left for the boat again. Anyone who has ever been to Amsterdam knows how difficult it is to find a good parking space. Especially a van is difficult to park. Fortunately a nice spot was reserved for us at the Singel.
Introduction to the Catboat
The Municipality of Amsterdam does not subsidise the Catboat, so they are dependent on gifts and donations. The Catboat is a non profit run by volunteers who “help dumped, abandoned and relinquished cats to get healthy, sterile, vaccinated and microchipped so they can find a suitable and loving home for them.”
We were greeted by a friendly volunteer called Judith. She helped us to lift the Superdome 120 over the narrow bridge. Fortunately, we did not get seasick, and we are glad that we did not drop the scratching box into the water.
As soon as you enter, you are overwhelmed by charming cat drawings, fun photos and all sorts of cat gadgets. Although it was tempting to buy all these nice things, we knew that we had to complete our mission first: to introduce the scratching post to the cats.
Even before the Superdome was taken out of the box, we were inspected by a wide variety of cats who couldn’t wait to see what was inside. It took less than a second for a number of cats to climb up the scratching box. It was safe to say we passed with flying colours.
Kasumi, the elegant cat who finds her way back to the Catboat after every re-homing, immediately claimed the top of the scratching barrel. Beyaz, a blind cat, also navigated the floors of the scratching barrel without any problem. You would not say that this cat is blind, because without a single gram of doubt he found his place. Beyaz and Kasumi are two of the cats that you can financially adopt, or sponsor. Some cats are impossible to rehome, so the Catboat gives people the opportunity to help these cats from a distance.
Judith from the Catboat gave us an extensive tour, complete with history and personal stories about the cats. Of course we filmed this, as you can see below:
The history of the boat
The Catboat was founded by Mrs. v. Weelde. What started with one stray cat with kittens, grew into a large family of cats. So big in fact, that there was no room left in Mrs. v. Weelde’s building. Looking out over the houseboats on the Singel, an idea soon surfaced: a shelter for cats. In 1968 this project became reality. Curious about the complete history of the Catboat? Of course you can read it on their website.
It’s not often you come across a boat full of cats, and that made our trip to the capital very memorable. The characteristic location, hospitable reception and sweet cats made sure we had a great day. We would like to thank the Catboat for a nice cooperation. And hopefully the Rebels will enjoy their beautiful scratching post for a long time to come!