In a street in the city of Purmerend, North Holland, swimsuits, dolls’ clothing and baby blankets were mysteriously disappearing, something that was happening to several neighbours.
First, the neighbourhood blamed the children for misplacing their belongings, but at some point, there was more thieving and the thief had not been found. Local resident Stephan de Vries solved the case by placing a security camera only to discover that a white cat was stealing all the stuff.
De Vries found the cat’s owner who was on vacation. The neighbours hope that the owner will keep the cat indoors after his vacation. I doubt it, since most people let their cat wander outdoors as much as they can here, but it’s a reasonable request.
And they still have to find out the where the kleptomaniac cat’s stash is.
Last Friday in Winschoten, Groningen a cat got stuck up a tree and only got down today.
Since the local emergency services didn’t want to burden the fire brigade, a local man decided to climb up the tree to get the cat down. And then he got stuck 15 metres up the tree.
The fire brigade then decided to help the man down with some equipment, while the cat was all the way up the tree. To try and get the cat down, fire firefighters sprayed 500 litres of water up the tree, but to no avail – the cat was stubborn and staying put.
At some point a firefighter in a wet suit went up the tree while other firefighters sprayed water and grabbed the cat with a blanket to finally get it down.
“The close contact with the box’s interior, we believe, releases endorphins – nature’s own morphine-like substances – causing pleasure and reducing stress.” The cuteness factor surely helps the proliferation of Twitter’s hashtag #CatSquare showing tons of people who taped squares to their floors and snapped their cats sitting on them. Then again, a lot of cats did not, but to be fair, some of them looked comfortable sitting on other stuff like comfy chairs.
The obvious exception is the cat carrier because that means going to the vet or getting into a car. The latter we will leave to the dogs.
Dutchman Marcel Heijnen, originally from The Hague, lives in Hong Kong, China and likes to take pictures of shop owner’s cats. You can follow him at @ChineseWhiskers on instagram.
Surprised at how successful his cat pics are, he is planning on publishing a book, called ‘Hong Kong Shop Cats’ this September, with a book on Hong Kong market cats to follow by the beginning of next year. Both books will feature a haiku by Singaporean poet Ian Row, as well as an essay by Hong Kong-based British writer Catharine Nicol.
Shop owners have told Heijnen that they keep cats to repel rodents, but then they do that in The Netherlands as well. Heijnen, who previously lived in Singapore, said he is always careful not to identify the specific location of the businesses he visits so they are not bombarded with visitors.
Starting last week during a high level threat against Brussels that is sadly ongoing, Belgians journalists and others tweeted pictures of cats to follow instructions from the Belgian federal police of not spreading pictures or information on Twitter that would give terrorists an edge as to what the police were doing.
On November 22 Dutch cameraman from Zwolle Hugo Janssen kicked of what was to be a huge collection of cat tweets. Carrying the hashtag #BrusselsLockDown he posted a picture of his cat Mozart, saying ”Instead of tweeting about the police’s movements in Brussels, here’s a picture of our cat Mozart”. Google ‘#BrusselsLockDown’ and you’ll get Star Wars cats, ordinary cats, wild cats, cats in boxes and the usual fare of Internet felines.
The Federal Belgian Police tweeted “For the cats that helped us yesterday, here you go!” with a picture of cat food, as seen above. The current situation is of course no laughing matter by any means and far from over.
Last Monday a Dutch Rail train driver discovered a wounded cat on the rail road between Utrecht and The Hague near Gouda.
The driver of the ‘intercity’ train stopped his vehicle so that the conductor could take the cat on board. An animal ambulance took the cat from The Hague Central Station to a vet. According to AD, tweeting passengers praised Dutch Rail staff for their quick action.
Although it is unclear what how the cat had become injured, its front left paw had to be amputated, as had part of its tail. The bridge of its nose is also damaged and it has a concussion. The animal hospital reported on Facebook that all things considered the cat is doing well and is adapting quickly to its new situation. Although many people have shown interest in acquiring Juna, as the ambulance staff have called her, the hospital will wait two weeks for the original owner to report.
In 2013, a train driver in Limburg stopped to pick up a cat lying on the tracks. In 2014, a rail road employee caught a pregnant cat that had walked off the train in Enschede and brought it to a shelter.
Using a modified cargo bike named the Poopymobile, inspired by the Popemobile, pet shop entrepreneur Thomas Vles cycled to London with his two cats Mushi and Cheesy last month. Owner of pet design company Poopy Cat in Amsterdam, he knows that cats hate to be locked up in small cages or fly and decided to cycle with a typical Dutch ‘bakfiets’. Mushi and Cheesy are apparently used to going everywhere by bike since they were kittens.
On YouTube Vles said that, “the cats were priority number one during the trip. Should we even remotely think that they were not comfortable, we would stop. There was driving an accompanying car with in which they could always go. Our trip was supported by two veterinarians and we kept an eye on everything 24/7. We have noticed that Mushi and Cheesy were really enjoying their time in the ‘kitty mobile’ – they wanted to stay in there even when we had to get out to sleep!”
The idea of a cat café started in Taiwan in 1998 and got big in Japan, New York City, London, Paris, Berlin, and Copenhagen. This month it’s Amsterdam’s turn to have a cat café that will open on 22 April.
Amsterdam already has quite a few cats in their establishments to catch mice, but following international trends, it was a matter of time before the capital got an official hangout overrun with furry friends, which amusingly enough is not too far from 24oranges HQ.
The entire idea was crowdfunded with 975 cat lovers contributing 33,000 euro to the project.
Researchers Claudia Vinke and Ruth van der Leij of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University have studied why cats like to get into boxes. It appears that hiding in a box significantly reduces the stress level of a cat, although many cats just like to play in them, as proven by the multitude of Internet videos.
Studies were carried out in an animal shelter to monitor cats’ behaviour in quarantine for two weeks. Half of the cats were given a box to hide in and the other half was not. The stress level of the cats in the room with a box was significantly lower than the ones without a box. Cats with a lower stress level get used to their new environment more quickly, and a more relaxed cat also does not get sick as quickly. Boxes are good for cats.
On a related note, one of Amsterdam’s cat related attractions is the ‘Poezenboot’ (‘Cat boat’), a cat shelter on a houseboat in one of Amsterdam’s main canals founded back in the late 1960s.
Sure, it’s been done before (I recommend ‘Metal musicians with their cats’), but once Dutch television shows started plugging Sliedrecht’s animal rescue shelter’s calendar featuring naked Dutch men with cats, the money started rolling in to the tune of 6000 euro so far. Keep up with them in Dutch on their Facebook page.
The men range from 19 to 54 and the shelter actually chose them for their looks as well as their love of animals. The money raised will go to taking care of unwanted cats, which, like in all Western countries, are still being dumped and abandoned.