My friend who visited last week is a fellow cat lover, so as we were wandering around town, we invariably caught sight of quite a few cats, indoors and out. She spotted this one, who was high up on a wall, surveying his domain.
I also took her to Flora’s Hof, with the express hope of seeing a cat. I was originally thinking of the marmalade cat who is usually spotted in this little garden area, but it was a lovely tuxedo cat who was out that day, enjoying a bit of the winter sun.
Eventually, he got a bit thirsty, so he headed over to the bird bath for a refreshing drink.
He may stalk any birds that come for a bathe and a nice view (and perhaps a few dropped patat), but I wonder if he’s noticed the even larger cat who seems to be stalking him and anyone else in the garden!
Today is what is referred to as rokjesdag (skirt day), due to the fact that the sun is shining and the temperatures have begun to warm up considerably. In other words, lots of skirts are likely to be worn.
However, I think a better word for days like today is katjesdag, because today is the kind of day where you’ll see a preponderance of cats in windows. The whole country becomes like a kitty red-light district with cats on display in almost every window. Our two have been baking themselves silly all morning.
On Sunday, it was a similarly sunny day, as you can see from the photo above. At first, it looks like any charming little street in the sun. Yet as we got closer, we couldn’t help but notice multitude of cats, upstairs and down. The first one to catch my eye was this sneaky fellow who seemed to be testing the waters of a fish bowl.
The next was this black cat who looks just like my lovely Luna.
This next charmer managed to find a spot amid the foliage, like a true jungle cat.
And finally this cat was doing a good job of camouflaging, by picking his own perch among the birds. Though he may have been in too much of a torpor to do more than eye up the birds.
I woke to horrible news yesterday. A neighborhood icon, Sheriff the cat, had died. Even more tragic, his death came as the result of some vile person kicking him. The animal ambulance came, but there was too much internal bleeding to save him. The psychopath who kicked him has been arrested.
It’s hard to imagine the neighborhood without Sheriff. Although he called Café Tilt home, he could be found wandering throughout the immediate neighborhood and among the many bars and terraces. A friendly cat, he seemed to take his name seriously, often walking with us as we returned home, as if making sure we made it safely. Once we were in our house, he would then continue his patrols, vigilant, but often with a friendly meow.
He is one of the stars of a wall mural just off Wittevrouwenstraat behind Café Tilt, along with other icons of Utrecht. The mural is a nice reminder, but it will never make up for losing the real Sheriff. The loss has been felt by many, with outpourings of horror and grief throughout social media. He was such a frequent sight that losing him really does feel like losing one of my own beloved cats. It’s hard to believe we’ll never see his battered ears and beautiful black and white whiskers again.
Lurking in the shadows — or on a wall, or under a bench, or beneath a grate, or out a window — at Flora’s Hof and the connecting bookstore, you’re bound to come across a fearless ginger cat. I’ve seen this cat grow from kitten to adult, and it’s always doing something crazy or cute. In other words, a classic cat.
A few weeks ago, while taking the Utrecht Free Tour with visiting friends, everyone got to see this charming cat for themselves. Many photos were taken, especially by my fellow cat lovers, as on that day, the orange tabby was relaxing in the shade of the palm tree in the center of the garden. Yes, a palm tree! No wonder it’s one of my favorite spots in town!
So the next time you’re in the little garden area off Servetstraat, next to the Domtoren, keep an eye out for this crazy kitty. She’ll typically pose for photos, but be fast, as she may suddenly change her mind and race off to parts unknown, through her own secret system of tunnels and bolt holes. But beware if she’s hanging out in one of the gratings along the garden path. She’s been known to swipe at hands reaching down irresistibly to pet her. Ouch!
As my visiting friends discovered, Utrecht is full of adorable cats and we were all stopping regularly to admire them. This is one I happened to spot on one of the little side streets off Twijnstraat leading down to the canal. After a good stretch, this pretty kitty looked ready to scale a wall or two.
But it was the rounded corner building that really grabbed my attention.
Particularly the windows right on the curve.
Especially the beautiful — if somewhat disdainful — white cat sitting in the window.
My photo on Wednesday of the mask and sewing machine was from a window display of a tailoring shop on Voorstraat. In the past, I’ve noticed their window display more for the cat that is sometimes in the window. When I passed by recently, it was the mask that caught my eye, but soon enough, the cat suddenly appeared, although this time outside the shop.
He seemed ready for the shop to open and wasn’t happy about the closed door. Perhaps he had some faulty stitches he needed to pick out from a garment. Regardless, he seemed a bit exasperated that no one was opening the door for him. You could practically hear the frustrated sigh.
Many shops and restaurants throughout the Netherlands have their own winkelpoes (shop cat) and photographer Robert van Willigenburg has photographed many of them for his series of books called Kat in de Stad. He originally started with the cats here in Utrecht, including a few I know and have photographed myself. He’s now moved on to some of the many cats to be found in Amsterdam in his latest edition of the book that is hot off the presses.
I don’t usually promote Amsterdam stuff, as many of you know. After all, the city gets plenty of attention already. But when it comes to cats and books, I can’t resist. Particularly as I edited the English language version of the book. 😉
Today is Dierendag, AKA World Animal Day, so give your own animals a bit of extra love and attention and maybe order a copy of Kat in de Stad. Trust me, it’s a beautiful book (in either language) full of entertaining cats.
There’s a café near the end of the Nieuwegracht called Rubens Proeflokaal. You can go there to sample a variety of drinks and also take part in courses and workshops. They also have a cat. I’ve seen this cat quite a few times over the years and s/he’s almost always in this one spot, taking in the morning sunshine.
When I saw her again this past week, I couldn’t resist a few shots, especially as she vaguely noticed my presence for a change. She usually looks too sun-sleepy to bother. A few hours later, as I passed by again, I saw her in a different spot for once. Not only was she not in that front corner, she was actually outside the café. When she saw me, she started meowing (I caught her mid-meow) and came right up to me, rubbing against my leg. I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t resist her charms, though. Someone else was petting her and photographing her as I approached. Still, I think she’d had enough of the “paparazzi” as she seemed ready to go back indoors. If only someone would open the door for her.
Cats and the internet are a match made in heaven, so when in doubt, blog about cats. Utrecht is full of beautiful cats, in front windows and out on the streets, so here are a few I’ve come across recently.
This first cat was hanging out by the flower vendors on one of the bridges across the Oudegracht. He was sniffing the bikes and tarps and rubbing against both, claiming them all. I think of this next photo as his “proud warrior” stance.
On my birthday, as we walked down Voetiusstraat, we saw one of our old cat friends.He was obviously busy and had places to go, but you can always count on him to come and say a brief hello, before heading off once again. I think he may have been going to try his luck at Carla’s for some tasty nibbles.Speaking of tasty nibbles, Luna is making it clear that she would like some of her own now, thank you very much. When she gives me that look, I know it’s time to listen. Enough with posting about other cats, time to focus on my own!