Amsterdam’s Catboat shelter raising funds to stay afloat

The Poezenboot, Amsterdam’s floating cat shelter located in a houseboat on the Singel, is in desperate need of replacing. The houseboat is on the verge of sinking, taking about 20 cats’ homes with it. Manager Judith Gobets and her colleagues, therefore, launched a fundraiser to help set up a new houseboat for the kitties in their care.

“We are only barely not sinking yet,” Gobets said to Parool. The 1979 shelter has some serious flaws, the biggest of which is the concrete box on which the boat is built. “I recently looked at the waterfront under the edge and saw that half of the concrete is gone. We had that repaired once before, but it was a mess. Old age comes with defects.” The sewage system also has issues, and the insulation isn’t the best. In the summer, separate air conditioners are needed to keep the houseboat liveable, and in the winter, the floors are so cold that the cats try to avoid them.

Gobets and her colleagues would have preferred to have the boat repaired again, but it is simply in too bad shape. A new one would be much cheaper and easier. The bare boat is already largely covered financially, but not all of the much-needed extras. “The connections for air conditioning, for example, are already there, but we can’t buy them yet. And we would like to also purchase solar panels.”

The Poezenboot, often called The Catboat in English, therefore launched a crowdfunding campaign. They’ll also hold a market on Sunday selling cat-related trinkets. All proceeds will go to the new shelter.

The new boat should be delivered to the Singel in May. Gobet and her colleagues will say goodbye to the current boat with a heavy heart. “I don’t want to be dramatic about it,” Gobets told Parool. “But you leave a piece of history behind.”

But it’s not all sadness. The new boat will hold some upgrades for the cats, such as large sliding doors, new beds, and windows on the street side so that they can glare at passersby. And some of the old comforts will go along.

Gobets pointed to a white cat curled up in a basket by a heater. “Beyaz is blind, so he is extra attached to familiar things and places. Otherwise, he does not know where he is,” she said. The staff will also try to make the new home as familiar as possible for the other cats. “We’ll take enough things with us that smell like them. That makes it less stressful.”

The Poezenboot takes in between 200 and 250 cats per year as part of its work as an animal shelter.

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