Amsterdam is a city that loves cats. Wherever you go in the Dutch city, strolling along the canal, hanging out in coffee shops or out the front of canal houses, cats in Amsterdam always seem to make an appearance.
You will see them sleeping in cozy corners all over the city, they might even turn up in your travel snaps. Fans of cats will no doubt love seeing them pop up all over the place!
If you are keen on cats, then Amsterdam is one of the best cities in Europe for you (though for that, the top one still remains Istanbul). There are a few places in Amsterdam where you can meet local kitties, see some cat-based artwork or simply spend time hanging out in the company of cats.
I make no secret of the fact that I am a massive fan of cats, and I was happy to find many friendly cats in Amsterdam, with attractions entirely dedicated to the furry felines, and cats appearing even in the most random locations. I may have spent time petting one or ten as I came across them in the street!
If you miss your cats at home while visiting Amsterdam, you can get a quick fix for some feline attention at one of these places. Continue reading for my helpful guide to all things cat-related in Amsterdam.
Traveling to Amsterdam for the first time? Make sure to read my post The Best Tips For Visiting Amsterdam.
And for more unique places, read my post The Best Hidden Gems In Amsterdam.
Why Are There So Many Cats In Amsterdam?
If you have never visited Amsterdam, you might be surprised to see that cats are all over the city. You will see them sleeping on the top of boats, hanging on the old lanes in Jordaan and sleeping in the windows of shops. The people of Amsterdam love their cats, but it can come as a surprise to travelers who don’t expect to see cats all over the place.
There are a few reasons behind the sheer number of cats in Amsterdam. One reason could be that a lot of the people in the city live in compact apartments or small houses and so most people opt to have a cat as it’s the easiest pet to care for in a small place. They come and go as they please and the streets are quiet enough for them to roam about.
Taking a look further back in the history books, it seems the prevalence of cats in Amsterdam may also be down its famous waterways. With all of those canals and rivers with wooden boats coming and going it was only natural that rodents would be attracted to Amsterdam.
With so many rodents, kitties were liked by locals for their efficient pest-control methods, effectively keeping the rat and mice numbers down and being cute in the interim.
Today the rodent-abating cats have moved on from their hard-working days on the banks of the river to become cute inhabitants of the city. They have made themselves comfortable in a whole variety of cat-focused and even non-cat focused establishments where people go to enjoy their company.
There’s even been some Amsterdam cats made famous on social media as they live their best life in the city, such as a cute kitty that would ride the tram around Amsterdam. Cats have become part of the identity of Amsterdam, cared for by locals and loved by visitors.
Cats have become such a staple of life in Amsterdam that in recent years establishments tailored toward cats and those who love them have opened their doors.
There are plenty of places you can make friends with cats in Amsterdam.
Cat lovers like myself traveling to Amsterdam can now spend afternoons kicking back with cats in cat cafes or shopping for cat-themed goods at specialized shops. There’s even a museum filled with solely cat-based works of art and a floating cat shelter which welcomes visitors aboard.
Let’s look at these places in a bit more detail now.
Where To See Cats in Amsterdam
Address: Herengracht 497, 1017 BT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Opening times: Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 12:00 to 5:00 pm.
Entrance fee: €10 (adults) – please notice that the website suggests tickets can only be bought online, but I actually bought them at the door.
Founded by wealthy financier Bob Meijer in 1990, the KattenKabinet or Cat Cabinet in English is dedicated to all things cats. Meijer set up the gallery in memory of his much-loved cat, John Pierpont Morgan.
Named after famous banker, J.P. Morgan, John Pierpont Morgan himself lived a lavish life. Friends of his owner would send him luxurious birthday gifts which included cat statues, pieces of cat-focused art and even a US dollar inscribed with the slogan ‘We Trust No Dog’.
Inside, the walls of the museum are decorated by artworks which are all based on the theme of cats. The collection includes works from an array of well-known artists, everyone from Pablo Picasso and Rembrandt to Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
You will find posters of internationally famous commercials (from drinks to shoeshine) and posters of films where cat had somehow a role.
And, for visitors who aren’t keen on cats, the building itself makes a visit worth it. Meijer founded the museum in 1990 in a building that dates back to 1667. Over the years the historic house has played host to a number of notable figures.
It is also one of the only merchant houses on the Golden Bend that are open to the public meaning anybody interested in architecture design will enjoy a peek inside.
A note at the ticket counter advises visitors not to pet the black cat on the premises (I asked why, and they said he may scratch). I only spotted the cat briefly in the garden, when another visitor was befriending him. I guess she did not see the sign? Anyhow, the cat seemed quite keen!
For more interesting attractions, head over to my post The Best Places To Visit In Amsterdam.
De Poezenboot AKA Amsterdam Cat Boat
Address: Singel 38G, 1015 AB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Opening time: open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.
Entrance fee: Free; donations welcome.
This is one of my favorite spots to see cats in Amsterdam! I love charities that raise funds for the care of cats, and this one is so unique!
Over in Singel, De Poezenboot graciously mixes two things that famously do not mix well: cats and water. The floating cat home provides care and rehoming services for a number of Amsterdam’s stray cats every year.
The story of the boat dates back to 1966 when a local Amsterdam lady called Henriette van Weelde took in street cats and cared for them. When in 1968 she bought a canal boat, she took in the cats with her and De Poezenboot was found. Since its founding, the floating shelter has gone from strength to strength and is now run as a registered charity.
Visitors are welcome onboard the boat which cares for around 50 felines at any given time, offering them medical care as well as giving them vaccinations and neutering before finding them a new home.
The Cat Boat as it is called in English can take in around 250 cats a year and is funded solely by charitable donations.
There can be a bit of a line to get on the boat (there was when I visited, but I did not mind waiting as – well – CATS!). That’s because the space inside is quite limited and the volunteers that run the boat only allow a limited number of visitors at once, so as not to bother the cats.
You can meet the kitties for free, but donations towards the running of the charity are always welcome. You can also simply buy one of the many lovely souvenirs on sale – I got a nice t-shirt for my sister – as profits also go to the care of cats on board.
Address: Marco Polostraat 211, 1057 WK Amsterdam, Netherlands
Opening time: Open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm; reservations are welcome.
Entrance fee: €3 plus whatever you consume at the café
Cat cafes have become a phenomenon in countries around the world – there even are two in my hometown Cagliari – and so it’s no surprise that a cat-loving city like Amsterdam has its own cat café.
At the much-loved Kattencafe Kopjes you will be welcomed into a warm world of cats and coffee. Kattencafe Kopjes was the first cat café to open its doors in Amsterdam (it first opened in April 2015) and remains one of the most popular.
Run by cat-lover Lenny Popelier, the café was successfully set up thanks to a crowdfunding scheme. Most of the cats at Kattencafe Kopjes are rescue cats and the space has been carefully designed in a modern style to create an environment ideal for the cats. There currently are 7 cats on the premises, of which 2 males and 5 females.
The café itself is a stylish space. There are lots of perches, climbing opportunities and beds to make the cats feel at home. The space is dotted with all sorts of cats, sleepy, playful and lazy, and each visit is different, but one thing is for sure: you’re going to have the opportunity to hang out with some cute kitties in a chilled-out environment.
Each visitor to the café is charged a cover charge which goes towards the costs of caring for the cats who live at the café.
Cats & Things
Address: Hazenstraat 26, Centrum
Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday, from 12:00 to 6:00 pm.
If you are looking for a cat-theme souvenir from their trip to Amsterdam or just want to purchase some cute cat products should head over to Cats & Things. The feline-themed shop located on the canal ring sells anything and everything related to cats. From cat mugs and key-rings to more outlandish cat-based items, cat-print underwear anyone?
There are also a lot of cute items that you can purchase for your own cat back home. If you want to treat your feline then you pick up cat beds, toys and food. I know I brought my cat a present or ten!
Pubs, Bars And Cafés That Have Cats In Amsterdam
Amsterdam has its nice share of pubs and bars that have a resident cat. If you pop into a pub for a drink or spend a few hours in a café, don’t be surprised to find a cat sharing the space with you. A lot of the city’s pubs are home to friendly pub cats.
These local characters are much loved by customers who like to make friends with the moggies.
I am a massive fans of shops, cafés and bars that while not cat-themed have a resident cat (or two). They have a special, relaxing and homey vibe to them, don’t you think?
Historically, cats have provided a helpful service aside from being cute. The cats have been used to keep pub cellars and water-side yards clear of rodents and other pests. So, when you wander into a pub in Amsterdam, check before you take a seat as it might already be occupied by the bar’s resident cat.
Below are some bars, cafés and pubs in Amsterdam that have a resident cat.
Address: Ten Katestraat 119, 1053 CC Amsterdam, Netherlands
Opening hours: 12:00 pm to 1:00 am every day.
How about enjoying a good cup of coffee and making friends with a cat or two at the same time? Café Bax offers up just that. Run by a husband-and-wife team (Mr. and Mrs. Bax) the café has been serving up strong coffee since it first opened in 2000.
The team at the café say they select the best beans possible to make sure the coffee served is always delicious. But it’s not all about the coffee – Café Bax is home to some curious cats who like to meet and greet the customers as they enter into the café.
The café also boasts a sunny terrace and is a good spot for lunch or even a glass of wine or two.
Café de Prins
Address: Prinsengracht 124, 1015 EA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Opening hours: 10:00 am to 1:00 am daily (2:00 am on Fridays and Saturdays).
Situated on the Prinsengracht in Jordaan, Café de Prins is a much-loved eatery for all things food and cats.
The cafe’s location, close to Anne Frank House, opposite the Westerkerk, makes it an ideal spot for stopping by for a drink or a bite during your exploration of the city.
Take a seat out on the sunny terrace and be treated to a menu of freshly prepared dishes including satay and fondue as well as coffee and alcoholic beverages.
This was once the mainstay of the city’s creatives and craftspeople who would come here to enjoy socializing with each other and relaxing in the pleasant surroundings. Now many people make their way to the cool café for their friendly cat who likes to laze around in the cozy corners or wind their way around the legs of locals.
The name of the cat in question is Wolf and he has become something of a local celebrity over the years. People have come to know him for his bolshy behavior, and he has become a staple of the café.
Address: Singel 2 A, 1013 GA Amsterdam
Opening hours: 8:00 am to midnight, daily.
A cool space to relax with a cocktail or a beer, this popular bar takes up space inside a warehouse that dates back to 1603. The bar’s location is conveniently placed close to Amsterdam Centraal station and there’s often jazz music or a DJ night taking place.
But the best thing about this place has to be its resident cat who likes to laze across the old wooden floor.
Address: Westerdoksdijk 715a, 1013 BX Amsterdam
Opening hours: 4:00 pm to midnight, daily – it closes at 10:00 pm on Sundays.
Make your way over to this ambient café and spend some time unwinding in a cool and calm environment. The owners of this Amsterdam haunt are very friendly as is the bar’s resident cat, Pete. Choose from the excellent selection of beers, sit back, relax and make sure not to miss out on petting Pete.
If you are planning a trip to Amsterdam soon, you should also read these other posts:
- A Guide To Visiting Anne Frank House In Amsterdam
- A Guide To Visiting Van Gogh Museum
- Where To Learn About Amsterdam Jewish Heritage