Cats in the Netherlands: The Dutch are a Cat People
Yes. It would seem that there are more cats than people living in the Netherlands. Or at least it would seem to be the case given that on every street there is a cat mooching around doing some very important cat business and almost every window is adorned with a cozy kitty soaking up the sun napping off all that hard work. It would appear that the cat is the pet of choice and holds a special place in the heart of the Dutch.
DutchReview (shallow bastards!) even has a post dedicated to activities that are purrfect for cat-lovers including the canal boat turned into a cat shelter that has gained worldwide fame and De Kattenkabinet one of the cities stranger museums dedicated to all things feline.
Another furnomenon that has really taken off is the concept of the Kattencafe, a café where you can enjoy your coffee surrounded by cats which are usually re-homed from a shelter. Almost all the major Dutch cities have their very own Kattencafe. In fact, Groningen has two which were both funded by Crowdfunding projects meaning that the city dwellers themselves felt that what the city really needed was more places to enjoy the company of our feline friends. Read more about cat cafés in the Netherlands here.
Cats in the Netherlands: they got jobs
What is it about kitties that make them the object of Dutch affection? One theory is that living near canals inevitably leads to problems with pests. A cat is the best rodent deterrent for any business so many have been employed as pest control. And because they’re also cute, fluffy and incredibly manipulative before you know it your pest control has moved in and is eating all your food. The consensus is that cats actually domesticated themselves around 12,000 years ago, by this very means so it’s nice that modern cats are carrying in the spirit of their ancestors.
Many cats have risen on from these humble beginnings and have become social media famous, there’s a cat that rode the tram (who unfortunately passed away last year R.I.P Ake), there’s Nemo who hangs around the Vismarkt in Groningen… you name the cat and the Dutch will start it its own social media page. These famous felines are adored by locals and tourists alike and have become a part of the city in which they’ve chosen to gift with their quirky personalities.
Cats in the Netherlands: just being a cute small pet
Perhaps another reason why the cat is the pet of choice in the Netherlands is the preference for city living in houses or apartments with no outdoor space. A cat compliments this life style with their independence and ability to entertain themselves often in cardboard boxes or with extensive napping. Cats are as low maintenance as the Dutch themselves making for a match made in kitty heaven.