Charlotte de Heij 23-12-22, 18:30 Last update: 24-12-22, 09:27
Astrid photographed the cutest 'window cats': 'Book puts a smile on animal lovers' faces' The counter has already passed 125, but Astrid den Haan still has not had enough of 'window cats'. Her book Raamkatten & Co features Gouda's most beautiful, endearing and cute cats in their favourite window frame.
Her favourite is a picture of a big, black cat with a white belly that sits upright the moment its owner comes home. "The man puts the key in the lock and the cat lifts itself up to look over the panelling. A cool moment," says Astrid den Haan (48), meanwhile petting one of her own five cats - former street cats. She leafs through the book and points to a picture of a tree. "If you look closely, you can see the cat reflected in it," she smiles. "I remember exactly where that was, along the Breevaart."
Foto: Sandra Zijstra
She self-published her book Window Cats & Co. Earlier this month, she handed over the first copy to the Gouda animal shelter. "Symbolic, because a lot of cats there are waiting for a new windowsill." It was hard work, as Astrid received corona a few weeks before the deadline. ,,But I insisted on releasing the book in this month. This is the holiday and gift month. My book will irrevocably put a smile on the faces of animal lovers."
She captured the first window cat in 2015. For her work as a house photographer for the municipality of Gouda, she visits all parts of the city and she saw a cat lying stretched out. "He looked at me, yawned and made real contact," she explained. The snug little house had a ditto windowsill that had an even number of plants and the letters 'home sweet home' on it. ''That gave me an idea. People decorate their windowsills with what they like. Some are very full, others are very plain. Dead plants or in full bloom, candles and letters. Combined with cats and a stray dog and parrot, this series shows the spirit of the times."
Last year around Christmas, Astrid was walking in Willem Tombergstraat where she found a cat in the window frame with all curtains around it. On her Instagram @raamkattenvangouda, she posted the cat with the text 'Christmas angel, dress rehearsal'. Promptly, she received a private message asking if he had a heart in his fur. As it turned out, the cat had been missing for four months. Her photo ensured a reunion even before Christmas. "How special."
Another animal that has stayed with her is Dali, a dog from the Kade neighbourhood she photographed. The story behind the picture particularly impressed her. "The dog was an ex-stray who wandered the streets of Spain for months. Now he is champion window sill lying."
For those who want to spot a window cat from the book themselves, Astrid has some tips. ,,Mimi is a cat that lies in the windowsill at Karnemelksloot in her own box of Christmas lights. At the Boelekade close to the Schouwburg, you can spot two long-haired Norwegian forest cats. And who also always lies there is the cat of Tattoo Frank, the tattoo shop on Lage Gouwe. Oh wait, that one is not in the book. That one really needs to be in the next one."
Because that there will be a second volume of Window Cats & Co is certain. While her current book contains only black-and-white photos, the sequel will be in colour because some cats simply look better in colour, she believes. She no longer updates the Instagram channel, but the 840 followers still regularly give her tips. ,,I always go and check if they are there. But I don't have kibble in my pocket to lure them or anything. All my photos are spontaneous. I don't have to look for cats. They find me."
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