In the heart of Amsterdam, on Herengracht 497 in a lovely old house, an unusual art museum can be found — one that is entirely dedicated to the role of cats in art and culture throughout history: De KattenKabinet (“The Cat Cabinet”). Actually, the word “museum” may not be appropriate; this is more of a private art collection open to the public.
The museum is housed on the first floor of the building, in a nice apartment that could be a museum by itself, decorated in classical seventeenth-century style with antique furnishings. Even from the entrance, where a ring of the bell brings a nice lady to open the door, one feels like visiting an old friend. The exhibition consists of an impressive collection of posters, paintings, statues and other works of art — all depicting cats. Although the museum’s theme may seem a funny one, important names can be found here: Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt, Toulouse-L’Autrec, Corneille, Leonor Fini, Sal Meijer, Théophile Steinlen, and Tarkhof among others. As guides for the museum one only has the cats that are literally living there — as long as they are not too tired; or taking a nap.
The Cat Cabinet was founded by Bob Meijer in memory of his beloved red tomcat John Pierpont Morgan (quite a big deal for a cat to have a museum established in its memory!). The tomcat was very loved by his human companion, who would give him every five years, on his birthday, a special present which was related to himself: a portrait, a bronze statue or even a special edition of the 1 dollar American banknote — on which the portrait of Washington was replaced with the portrait of John Pierpont Morgan, and the phrase “In god we trust” was replaced by “We trust no dog”. This mix of seriousness and humour defines the entire Cat Cabinet. Only a cat person will really appreciate the museum 😛 but that doesn’t mean a person that is not very fond of cats could not have a great time visiting it. There is also a small shop where you can buy cat posters and albums (for you or for the cat-crazy people in your life) and there is even the possibility of having a portraint made for your own cat — just with a photo and 75 euro.
The museum is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 to 16:00 and on weekends and holidays from 12:00 to 17:00; the admission fee is only 6 euro for adults and 3 for children.