The death of a pet can inspire a number of reactions, but rarely has anyone taken their grief and started a museum, as was the case with The Netherlands’ KattenKabinet.
The KattenKabinet, or “Cat Cabinet,” was founded by Bob Meijer in 1990 as an act of remembrance for his own departed cat, John Pierpont Morgan. Throughout J.P. Morgan’s nine lives, the feline received birthday gifts from Meijer’s friends such as paintings, a bronze cat statue, and even a recreated American dollar bill with Morgan in place of Washington, and the coda, “We Trust No Dog.” With these pieces already in hand, Meijer began the museum in the bottom floors of his historic 1667 townhouse.
While Meijer and his family still live in the upper floors of the old patrician merchant’s house, the public museum rooms display cats of all species and hue, depicted in a variety of mediums from paintings and sculptures to posters and books. While a cheeky collection such as this could be presented as gaudy or tacky, the KattenKabinet is decorated and the artworks displayed in the baroque style of a stuffy classical museum. The classy cat collection has even partnered with such austere establishments as the Museum Van Gogh, Amsterdam to present works of both artistic and feline importance. And like any true collection of art, the KattenKabinet released a catalogue of their works called the “Cat-a-Logue.”
Of course the KattenKabinet would be nothing without some live specimens to wander the stoic halls and fill the space with a unique feline aroma. To that end Meijer owns no less than five cats that roam the museum and greet visitors. This museum is more fascinating than a ball of string covered in catnip.