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A cat’s life in Amsterdam

Keeping watch at Cafe 't Spuis, Amsterdam

If you’ve spent any time in the Netherlands, you’ll notice that the Dutch love cats.  Nearly every household has a cat or two, (or three).  You’ll often see them hanging out in restaurants, sitting in shop windows, and pretty much going anywhere they want to go – or so it seems.  The cats serve a useful purpose at cafes,  keeping the mice away and entertaining customers at the same time.

I was in Amsterdam recently, and after walking around admiring the gorgeous scenery,  I decided to take a break and have a beer at the café ‘t Spuis.  Mid-sip from my glass of  Wieckse Witte, I noticed a little black and white cat appear beneath the table next to me.   It then crossed under the tables, and took up a spot in some bushes nearby where it sat and kept a watchful eye on things.  After a few minutes, it walked unceremoniously across a row of  café chairs, until it found one near the door, where it settled to keep guard over the cafe’s entrance.  There it sat, watching the pedestrians and bicyclists go by, occasionally giving a playful swat to an unsuspecting passerby, sending everyone into fits of laughter.

I think Mark Twain had it right when he said:  “Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the leash.  That one is the cat.  If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”

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