Welcome to the Catboat, the World’s Only Floating Animal Sanctuary
Started in the 1960s by a local animal lover, the Catboat is a tourist attraction that still bobs in Amsterdam’s canals.
“Cats keep coming and going,” says Muhammed Muheisen, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer who traveled to the Dutch capital in 2018 to spend a week on the Catboat. Most of the cats are tabbies and street cats, but one Persian cat gets a lot of attention, Muheisen says.
“She’s like the most popular cat on the boat. She has this beautiful hair,” he says. “She’s one of the moody, funny characters.” (Related: “Surprising Things You Never Knew About Your Cat”)
The enterprise started in 1966 when Henriette van Weelde, known locally as the “cat lady,” began taking in abandoned cats on an old sailing barge she had modified with a cat-friendly interior.
“Her husband passed away and she needed some