Love cats? How about a whole museum dedicated to them? We sent one of our writers to Amsterdam’s De Kattenkabinet, or The Cat Cabinet Amsterdam for a look at the ultimate cat lover’s fantasy. But, first thing’s first, here’s what you need to know before visiting the Cat Cabinet in Amsterdam.
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Visiting the Cat Cabinet in Amsterdam
The Cat Cabinet is ideal for any feline lovers, whether you’re visiting solo, with friends, a boyfriend, or with your kids.
Buy your tickets to the Cat Cabinet
You can get your tickets to the Cat Cabinet online here.
What to see at the Cat Cabinet
The Cat Cabinet contains Bob Meijer’s private collection of cat paraphernalia and feline-themed pictures, posters, and paintings. There’s kitty-themed art by Picasso, Rembrandt, Theophile Alexandre Steinlen, Henriette Ronner Knip, Toulouse-Lautrec and more, but let’s face it, you might be too busy petting your new furry friends to look. The house itself is an old canal house on the Herengracht, so the architecture itself is interesting as well.
How to get to the Cat Cabinet in Amsterdam
The Cat Cabinet is conveniently located in the middle of Amsterdam, so it’s easy to reach by foot from most other major tourist attractions. It’s located on Herengracht between Koningsplein and Vijzelstraat. If you’re coming from Amsterdam Centraal, you can take the 52 metro to Rokin, or the trams 4, 11, or 24 to reach the Cat Cabinet.
The history of the Cat Cabinet in Amsterdam
The Cat Cabinet Amsterdam is based in an old canal house on the Herengracht that dates back to 1667. It’s stuffed with cat memorabilia, all collected by a man called Bob Meijer, who, for the biggest Cat Man in the land is fairly normal-looking once you Google him. He dedicated this collection to his own cat, John Piermont Morgan.
I like to think John Piermont Morgan posed for this self-portrait on a throne Bob whittled himself from fishbones and furnished with silk and catnip.
The house that hosts The Cabinet Cabinet Amsterdam on its 1st floor was originally built for the van Loon brothers, who were part of a wealthy merchant family. Maybe they were crazy cat people, too. Maybe this house has always been a gateway to kitty heaven (or hell, if this painting is anything to go by):
Actually, I think what this painting is really saying is that cats have a habit of bewitching us, till we feel as though they own us, instead of the other way round. I didn’t really think too much about it at the time because I was too busy looking for the real cats and imagining the van Loons draped in leopard print, gallivanting around the baroque rooms, batting lion-like lashes at all their social gatherings.
I imagine they liked to dress up and host cat-themed parties, where they’d all sip milk from saucers and lie on their backs looking up at this ceiling:
One writer’s experience at the Cat Cabinet
My landlord won’t let me have a cat, because even though cats are graceful and clean, adoring, sensitive alternatives to boyfriends, cats ruin furniture. I thought, rather than mope at photos of cats I can’t adopt on the internet, I’d go with a friend to The Cat Cabinet and fill myself up on all things feline there.
There’s a lot of red and gold here. Knowing the van Loons like we do by now, it’s likely they hired tall, Asian men dressed as Persian tigers to help them do the decorating and Bob just touched it up.
We looked for cats amongst the vintage sofas, behind the regal scarlet curtains. We hoped to find them sprawled along 17th-century woodwork items. But there were none.There were, however, works by Picasso, Rembrandt, Theophile Alexandre Steinlen, Henriette Ronner Knip, Toulouse-Lautrec and more. I know this because I read it on Google, but like I said, we were looking for the cats the whole time so I didn’t really pay much attention to who did what. Or why.
You can read about some of their reasons if you want, on all the little description cards, but to me, they all mean the same thing: cats are awesome and they’ve been awesome for so long, which probably means they will always be awesome and that is all we need to know.
My friend here loves cats, maybe more than me. With the possibility high that his own two cats will one day tire of human interaction, he was excited to find a place that might fulfill his needs.
With still no cats in sight, he sat a while on this exquisite cat-themed chair, and I looked a little bit more at that poster behind him, of kittens in shoes.
Maybe this house was where people came to look at cat things, long before YouTube was invented. Maybe if The Cat Cabinet adds a ‘Cats on YouTube’ room that plays 20-million different cat videos at the same time on tiny screens they could charge way more to get in and people wouldn’t be so annoyed about the lack of real cats.
Here I am in the garden at The Cat Cabinet in front of some more cat pictures, which must really annoy the neighbors out the back there. Imagine seeing all these giggly cat-fans taking photos like this while you’re tottering about naked, forgetting the window’s open.
The garden might actually be the best part though. You can literally imagine the van Loons running around all the fountains in their slinkiest cream Siamese catsuits, way before there were any neighbors to worry about.
Make sure to check out the meowvelous Cat Cabinet for yourself. There is also a giant poster of a Space Cat and some graffiti on a wall, but I don’t know if the graffiti is part of the exhibit. I was wondering if maybe there were some cats stuck in that shed behind me, because there weren’t any anywhere else until I went back into the house and saw two all at once.
It was a moment of pure cat magic.
To sum it up:
- The worst part of The Cat Cabinet Amsterdam? No cats till right at the very end.
- The best part of The Cat Cabinet Amsterdam? Seeing all the people looking for cats.
- DISCLAIMER: There are 5 cats who live in The Cat Cabinet. They were probably all out being awesome somewhere else on my visit!
Want to discover more to do in Amsterdam after the Cat Cabinet?
Check out all the top attractions in Amsterdam.