Cats and Canals

Hanging Out
Cats and canals, or more specifically, cats and the water in the canals, don’t usually mix well. But in a country where both cats and canals exist in large numbers, there’s bound to be the inevitable crossing of paths. Sadly, not all cats survive their canal encounters.

Fortunately, there are groups like Kat Uit de Gracht (Cat out of the canal) that work to protect cats from a watery end. Through the installation of special ropes along canal edges and tray islands in the canals, along with education, environmental changes, etc., they try to discourage cats from areas where they’ll be at risk, or give them a place to take refuge if they do find themselves in the water.

Here in Utrecht, in the Koekoeksvaart (the appropriately named cuckoo canal), tray islands have been installed in the canal to give cats a place of purchase until they can be rescued. Hang in there, kitties!

Idle Interrupted

11 thoughts on “Cats and Canals

    • It’s probably not as much of a problem when the area next to the canal is sloped and earthy, but when it’s a sheer drop and nothing but brick wall, it must be very dangerous. It really is nice that people are looking out for them.

  1. Never heard of this initiative to help the city’s cats. But with so many cats in the old city centre (almost every cafe or restaurant in the centre seems to have at least 1 cat hanging around, probably to keep pests out that are attracted by the water and food remains) it sure makes sense to prevent them from drowning. Good initiative!

    • I think the kat uit de gracht group started in Leiden, but it’s nice to see that the idea has spread. We do like our cats here! Definitely want to keep them safe!

  2. but as far as I can see on the website you linked there are no intitiatives for Utrecht yet… Just Leiden and Amersfoort-Vathorst.

  3. yes I read the site more carefully and it started in Leiden, with some initiatives in other cities now. But not Utrecht yet, unfortunately. Though I don’t know the number of cats actually drowning here each year, perhaps it’s not as high as it was in Leiden.

  4. Great idea!! does anyone know how many children have drowned in canals the past years? I often wonder about that! here in Australia we must fence pools, it’s compulsary, but still too many children drown in dams etc! not to mention the animals, it’s very sad!

    • Martha, the only victims we tend to hear are either those who had some kind of (usually motor vehicle) accident, or the drunks who fell in in the middle of the night. Or the more gruesome incident of a dumped body. But all in all, it’s a rare occurrence that a child falls in and drowns.
      Most are raised to respect the quays and to not venture too close.

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