It’s official, Amsterdammers love cats and cats love Amsterdam. And we’re not talking strays. This cat-lovers paradise is full of pampered pets, wandering kitties and much loved moggies who are often up for a stroke.
If you’re a crazy cat lady or just a casual feline fan there’s no shortage of cat-tivities to keep you busy. But before we get to the list, why is this watery destination home to so many furry felines?
Truth is, with its wonderful old buildings, the city has always had a bit of an issue with mice. The first tip when expats arrive and grumble about mousey goings on in their apartment, is simple – get a cat – which most locals believe is substantially more effective than any human intervention.
But for the Dutch they are much more than just housekeepers.
Glance into any residential window (or even into a parked bakfiets bike) and chances are you might just see a cat snoozing in the sun, or curled up enjoying some ‘gezelligheid’. In this tightly packed city, where space is at a premium, apartments are often on the fourth or fifth floor and gardens are rare. So, whilst dogs are a lot more demanding, independent felines fit in nicely, entertaining themselves in homes or mooching outside in a low-maintenance way that perfectly suits the Dutch lifestyle.
Indeed they are so loved that when beloved Jordaan-neighbourhood cat-icon Ramses died in 2023, over 500 locals signed a petition to erect a bronze statue ‘to fill the gap that Ramses leaves behind and to honour him forever’
So where is your best chance of a kitty encounter? Have a read for some of our top suggestions.
The Poezenboot – Cat Boat
What could be more Amsterdam than a houseboat dedicated to rescue cats? Most cat sanctuaries would avoid water at all costs but in this kitty-haven cats are nurtured, cared for and rehomed whilst enjoying the very finest canal-side views. Visiting hours are between 1.00 and 3.00 three days a week. Visits are free but must be booked in advance and donations are hugely welcomed. There’s lots to say about this fantastic enterprise that welcomes around 200 cats a year so read our full post to ensure you make the most of your visit.
Cat cafe Kopjes
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when Zacy tells me that one of his best thing to do in all of Amsterdam is a visit to the Cat Cafe. Truth be told this ever-popular destination in the west of the city is a fantastic place to stop for a coffee and cake and stroke a few willing kitties. Reservations are essential and children are only allowed from the age of 8. For more information click this link where you can also see pictures of the cuties (the cats rather than my kids!)
Ok, this place is a bit weird, but if you’re doing the full cat-lovers tour of Amsterdam you should probably check it out. The Kattenkabinet is a museum housed in a historic house canal house on one of the finest spots on the magnificent Herengracht. Wander through some slightly dusty rooms to enjoy their collection of pretty odd cat-based art, artefacts and photographs. There are of course cats prowling around the house and garden too. It’s very small, costs €10 and is a bit smelly but if you’re a cat superfan then it might just tick the boxes.
cafes with cats
There are lots of cafes, bars and restaurants in Amsterdam with resident cats. Rather than try to summarise them all, the joy is to stumble across one unexpectedly. That said, if you want to guarantee a sighting, our top tip is to head to Proeflokaal A Van Wees. Located by the lovely Nine Little Streets, and a great place for lunch whether you are a cat-lover or not, this place has a lovely fat ginger called Mango with his own Instagram feed.@barcatmango
So off you go cat-lovers, make tracks – or should that be paw prints – to Amsterdam for the cutest kitties around.