Amsterdam … curiosity charmed this cat-lover at the fun-loving KattenKabinet

The KattenKabinet, a delightful museum dedicated to all things feline in the heart of Amsterdam, appears to have found the purr-fect security guard for its space (I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist the pun).

Shirley the cat keeps a check on every visitor yet blends into the background with such ease one would be forgiven for not noticing that she was there at all.

Knowing every nook and cranny of the museum, Shirley knows how to make a quick exit should she need to raise the alarm on a rule-breaking visitor ... or just gets bored of their company

Knowing every nook and cranny of the museum, Shirley knows how to make a quick exit should she need to raise the alarm on a rule-breaking visitor … or just gets bored of their company

A short walk west of Rembrandtplein, the KattenKabinet is one of the more unusual museums to be found in the Netherlands’ capital. Yet, the “Cat Cabinet” feels more like a worship-place to cat memorabilia than a museum or gallery. Lovely though it is, I got the distinct impression from the complete lack of information about anything on display that every artefact at the KattenKabinet was there simply because it was a lovely and often comical representation of a cat.

Amsterdam Cats KattenKabinet bell jar cat

Amsterdam Cats KattenKabinet yellow and blue heart cat figurine

Oh look, a cat with a moustache

Oh look, a cat with a moustache

Amsterdam Cats KattenKabinet china cat climbing wall

A portrait of a lovely, grey cat ... held by a Communist revolutionary but the latter detail is not important. Only cats rule at the KattenKabinet

A portrait of a lovely, grey cat … held by a Communist revolutionary but the latter detail is not important. Only cats rule at the KattenKabinet

Amsterdam Cats KattenKabinet Walt Disney The Cat from Outer Space poster (Italian)

Amsterdam Cats KattenKabinet Dick Whittington poster

Amsterdam Cats KattenKabinet The Cat Man Deleuil poster

Good Lord! What's going on there?

Good Lord! What’s going on there?

A 'cat' themed pinball machine. There was no label nearby to give this piece a name, an age, an origin or a purpose. No matter, all one needs to know is that it features cats (although I did wonder whether the pinballs were mouse-shaped)

A ‘cat’ themed pinball machine. There was no label nearby to give this piece a name, an age, an origin or a purpose. No matter, all one needs to know is that it features cats. I wonder whether the pinballs were mouse-shaped

Lovely prints by cat artist Van de Steen

Lovely prints by cat artist Van de Steen

Prints of Théophile Alexandre Steinlen's Lait pur Sterilise de la Vingeanne and Toulouse Lautrec's May Belfort

Prints of Théophile Alexandre Steinlen’s Lait pur Sterilise de la Vingeanne and Toulouse Lautrec’s May Belfort

Prints of Steinlen's famous Compagnie Francaise poster with an original preliminary sketch (apologies for the quality of this photo)

Prints of Steinlen’s famous Compagnie Francaise poster with an original preliminary sketch (apologies for the quality of this photo)

A genuine and rare Picasso cat sketch from 1942 ... with a genuine and even more rare KattenKabinet label by it!

A genuine and rare Picasso cat sketch from 1942 … with a genuine and even more rare KattenKabinet label by it!

A real Egyptian cat mummy excavated from Bubastis and probably thousands of years old, although I'm not too convinced going by the drawn-on nose and smiling mouth

A real Egyptian cat mummy excavated from Bubastis and probably thousands of years old, although I’m not too convinced going by the drawn-on nose and smiling mouth

The KattenKabinet began from an original collection inspired by a rather special feline – John Pierpont Morgan. Named after the American financier, J.P. Morgan was the feline companion of wealthy and eccentric Dutch businessman Bob Meijer. Meijer adored his cat so much he commissioned J.P-themed artefacts throughout the cat’s life. These items included a portrait of Morgan in evening attire, a bronze statue of the cat, a book of cat-limericks dedicated to J.P. and a special dollar bill designed by Dutch cartoonist Aart Clerxkz.

J.P. Morgan's priceless dollar bill by Aart Clerxkz incorporating the cat's earlier commissioned portrait

J.P. Morgan’s priceless dollar bill by Aart Clerxkz incorporating the cat’s earlier commissioned portrait

When J.P. died in 1983, Meijer used his eccentricity (and wealth) to overcome his grief. He turned the ground and first floors of his seventeenth century Dutch canal house into the KattenKabinet and dedicated it to his beloved ginger tom.

Once Bob Meijer's gorgeous home, now J.P. Morgan's feline legacy

Once Bob Meijer’s gorgeous home, now J.P. Morgan’s feline legacy

The KattenKabinet is an unashamedly self-indulgent celebration of all things ‘cat’ and is not intended to be taken seriously. Even for non-cat lovers the stunning baroque interior of Meijer’s home is worth the entrance-fee alone. One word of advice though if visiting the space: watch out for the litter tray.

Is this another genuine (and rather authentic) cat artefact on display at the KattenKabinet or just something Shirley left behind earlier?

Is this another genuine (and rather authentic) cat artefact on display at the KattenKabinet or just something Shirley left behind earlier?

More information on the KattenKabinet including opening times and location, can be found at the official website here.

Amsterdam Cats KattenKabinet entrance

TLT (purrrrr) x


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