Friday, March 6, 2015

Amsterdam's Water Kitties

“Help Comes to the Pussy Boat.” It’s not what you’re thinking. Still a great title for one of those internet sites that have nothing to say and crave clicks. The emergency feline assistance boat moored on an Amsterdam canal was broken into (Pirate Boards Pussy Boat) and the collection canister and an old camera were the dupe (Floating Pussy Crib Without Camera).  What did the cats think? Did a thief throw them some extra chow on the way out? The cats are described as street victims and given shelter and therapy.  It’s a plight with hope because the aim is to find a home for each and every pussycat.  Not particularly what some might call a new home, but a home.

“I took two cats from the Pussy Boat,” an acquaintance told me, “One immediately moved in with the neighbors.” Old habits die hard, even after a few months of rehab on a boat. It’s doubtful the cats raised the alarm. “I wanted the big orange cat.” My acquaintance continued, “But it attacked the people who took it home for a trial run.” That’s the bouncer you need on duty on Amsterdam’s Pussy Boat. He wasn’t around I’m guessing. It’s reported in the paper, whence the title quote that began this blog, that the volunteers who “man” the vessel have stated their great relief that none of the cats were harmed during the “cowardly” robbery.  A camera was donated to replace the stolen item and a collection was taken up for the city’s institution.

Last week an article about stolen art was featured in the New York Times.  Glancing at the expanse of empty walls at my office, I wondered, could one take out an advertisement offering to lodge a victim of crime, a painting, for a while? Offer admiration and conversation to it between homes? Therapeutic safe guard? Most unlikely, but still it’s a nice thought to take in a masterpiece for a month.  It probably would bring in a lot of headaches, and yet it would make one feel like a Good Samaritan.  

I am surprised the cats didn’t get stolen. It’s very hard to find a freebie cat here in the Netherlands. “You just say the word,” a friend in France told me, “And I’ll find you a kitten. Free.” Grato, was the word. Looking at the websites picturing orphaned cats, I saw that I’d have to fork over a few hundred Euro to take on a cat from one of the Dutch shelters.  I put the whole idea aside until a colleague said, “Does anyone want a cat?” And presto, Brunhilde von Federweisser, arrived in my life, a marshmallow with fangs and free of charge. “I can’t believe that’s really her name!” People exclaim to me, looking at her kitty passport with disbelief.