Amsterdam, Europe, The Netherlands, Weird & Offbeat

Weird & Offbeat: The Cat Boat Amsterdam

Cat Boat Amsterdam Cats Reflection
(Last Updated On: November 13, 2018)

Weird & Offbeat: The Cat Boat Amsterdam

When you look at this photo, what do you see? Just another house boat along one of Amsterdam’s many canals? Well, this isn’t just any house boat … it’s a actually a floating sanctuary for stray cats. Yes, it’s the cat boat Amsterdam!

As I can’t resist any weird and offbeat attractions like a bookstore in Venice with gondolas full of books or a salt museum in Lüneburg, I couldn’t help but visit this very special place.

Cat Boat Amsterdam in Canal

Weird & Offbeat: The Cat Boat Amsterdam

Look closer and you’ll see that this is De Poezeboot, a project started by Henriette van Weelde in 1966 when she took in a family of abandoned cats. 

Recommended reading: Read what others have to say the Cat Boat Amsterdam – Meet The Cat Boat: Amsterdam’s Floating Sanctuary For Cats and A Visit to the World’s Only Floating Cat Sanctuary.

Cat Boat Amsterdam Die Poezenboot
Henriette had such a big heart that she continued to take in more cats until her home until she had no more room. Two years later she figured out solution when she bought a house boat, made it animal friendly and gave her cats a sexy new address on the canal.

Fondly nicknamed the “cat lady” by locals, people from all over Amsterdam started to bring Henriette their cats. She took in all of them, sick ones, strays, even those no longer wanted. So inspired by her love and compassion, people also wanted to visit the sanctuary and best of all, adopt the cats.  Even Puss in Boots of Shrek fame visited the boat last November!

The cat boat is open to the public from 1:00 – 3:00 PM daily, except for Wednesdays and Sundays. This gives time for people to check out the set-up, meet the cats and decide whether or not they want to make one of them a member of their family.

Cat Boat Amsterdam Cats Cat Boat Amsterdam Cats Reflection Cat Boat Amsterdam Cat Closeup Cat Boat Amsterdam Cat Cage Cat Boat Amsterdam Cat Tree Cat Boat Amsterdam Cute Cats
As I was snapping photos, I saw an older woman enthusiastically talking up visitors and telling them about the cats. She then started excitingly wrapping presents and then handing them out to the cats. Yes, really! Almost toothless and sporting a wild mane of grey blue hair, could have this been Henriette herself?

I’m not sure exactly how the cats would manage to open the packages but it’s the thought that counts, right? See this guy with his Christmas gift.

Cat Boat Amsterdam Black and White Cat
This next photo is my absolute favourite photo as I captured this cutie “mid-lick.” I also like the cat pictures displayed in the background.

Cat Boat Amsterdam Cat Licking Cat Boat Amsterdam Cute Kitten
In 1987, the Cat Boat Foundation was formerly registered as a charity and now survives solely on donations. Thanks to the kindness of Henriette and her volunteer staff, hundreds of cats have found loving homes and haven’t suffered a tough life on the streets.  While admission to the boat is free, I strongly encourage you to throw some cash their way.

Cat Boat Amsterdam Donations
In case you were wondering, the cats aren’t imprisoned on the boat. Some of them are let outside for fresh air and under careful supervision of staff.

Cat Boat Amsterdam Orange Cat Outside
Go to this sanctuary. Make a donation. Pet cute cats. Heck, even adopt one! 

If you’re really into cats like me, read about my other post about another Amsterdam site for feline lovers which is a museum containing only cat themed art. And if you want even more, read my post about the curious spectacle of cats in the Roman coliseum.


De Poezenboot
Singel 38G, 1015 AB Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 625 8794

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Cat Boat Amsterdam

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  • Reply Andrea January 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Awwww, they’re darling!! I wish I could adopt one.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard January 7, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      @Andrea – I felt the same. I wanted to take two kittens home with me. 🙂

  • Reply Nomadic Samuel January 8, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Aw, I love cats! If I wasn’t travelling so much I’d have one again 🙂

    • Reply Cheryl Howard January 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      @Nomadic Samuel – maybe when you do settle down, you can adopt one from the cat boat! 😉

  • Reply Sophie January 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing this quirky – and adorable – attraction. I love cats. And I know my kids will want to see this when we’re in Amsterdam next.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard January 11, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      @Sophie – thanks for your kind comment. This is a great place to take your kids for sure! 🙂

  • Reply Stephanie - The Travel Chica January 11, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Weird but sweet and cute.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard January 12, 2012 at 9:22 am

      @Stephanie – getting to take pics of cats was actually fun!

  • Reply Jade - January 15, 2012 at 9:07 am

    AWWWW i want to take one home!

  • Reply Laurel January 15, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Awww, I love reading stories like this. I have 2 cats, both from the Humane Society (one in Canada and one in Munich). It warms my heart knowing that people like this are making such a difference. I’m definitely checking this out when I’m in Amsterdam.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard January 15, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      @Jade – I know how you feel. 🙂

      @Laurel – Glad you enjoyed! Amazing that you have two rescues too.

  • Reply jade January 26, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    What a bizarre but incredible unique animal rescue! great find!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard January 28, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      @Jade – I love what they’re doing to help cats! And it was a fun way to spend the afternoon. 🙂

  • Reply Leigh December 6, 2012 at 4:30 am

    Amazing the positive repercussions with some time effort & money from just one person initially. Loved this story.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard December 6, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      @Leigh – I love this story too, she is an amazing woman!

  • Reply Canals of Amsterdam: 8 Reasons to Celebrate Their 400th Birthday August 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    […] if you can figure out them out) that I adopted from the animal shelter.  I really wanted to see De Poezenboot (The Cat Boat), after reading about it on my friend Cheryl’s blog, but sadly missed […]

  • Reply Laura @Travelocafe October 4, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Now, you have just convinced me to go to Amsterdam again. I want to see this boat… and the lovely cats.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard October 4, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      Laura – That’s great to hear! I had such a nice time at the cat boat. Love what they’re doing to keep cats off the streets.

  • Reply Katie January 31, 2015 at 2:40 am

    I’ve finally found an apartment for my move to Amsterdam, and my new roommate has told me so much about this place as he’s going to adopt one of the cats after I arrive…! I have to admit I giggled a bit when he told me it’s called the pussy boat – but what a great cause started by just one person!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard February 1, 2015 at 7:26 am

      Hey Katie – That’s great! I hope he gives the cat a happy forever home. 🙂

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  • Reply Canal Cruises and other Amsterdam Tips. No itinerary, just great tips! September 3, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    […] If you are looking for something outside of the mainstream attractions of Amsterdam, there are some other options that appeal to visitors with different interests.  One of our quirky favorites, De Poezeboot, or Amsterdam Cat Sanctuary.   […]

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