Where Cats & Boats Mix – The Cat Boat Amsterdam

Cat Boat Amsterdam in CanalWhere Cats & Boats Mix – 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.

Weird & Offbeat: The Cat Boat Amsterdam

Cat Boat Amsterdam Die PoezenbootLook 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.

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 CatsCat Boat Amsterdam Cats ReflectionCat Boat Amsterdam Cat CloseupCat Boat Amsterdam Cat CageCat Boat Amsterdam Cat TreeCat 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 LickingCat 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

Founder of cherylhoward.com. Canadian in Berlin. Frequent traveller now at 43 countries and counting.


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

  2. 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.

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

  4. @Jade – I know how you feel. 🙂

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

  5. 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.

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

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

  8. 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!

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