Katzenheim: a cat refuge

(This post is a sort of continuation and conclusion for the “Caturday” post I made back in April. While the quarantine is now over, I felt something needed to be added.)

Katzenheim is a small cat refuge located in Schwaz. It is linked to the “Tierschutzverein für Tirol”, an animal welfare association in the Tirol region. This place welcomes cats without owners, stray cats, or abandoned, or lost. It also accepts pregnant cat mothers and newborn kittens.

The place itself feels warm and welcoming to cats and humans alike, being more like a home than an animal prison. And the people here, professionals and volunteers alike, do their best to take care of these feline refugees, and, if possible, find them a home.

If you find yourself longing for some feline company, you can come and adopt one of the residents here. Kitten or old cat, black or white, quiet or playful, athletic or chubby: there may be a suitable companion for you.

Alternatively, if you live around schwaz and would like to get to know all of them, the shelter is always looking for volunteers to help them provide their pensionnaires with enough care and attention.

For me, I discovered the place in the middle of the confinement, thanks to the good advice of a concerned colleague. Like many people, that was not a good period for me. In fact, looking back, it may have been my absolute lowest point, emerging from a very trying winter only to enter a spring of forced passivity and powerless anxiety.

I was not alone, many people actually tried to help us all getting through that time, including the team and the other volunteers from pojat, but online socialization and distant relationships were never my strong points, and through all that I did not see much to do, write, or say, that could make it better, so I mostly kept to myself.

I started volunteering in Katzenheim, a couple of times at first, then almost everyday until the end of the shutdown; and still two or three times a week once my youth center reopened. It gave me something to do that made me feel both happy and useful. It helped give me enough will to go back to work, and later to start some projects of my own. Enough will to recontact old friends and try making new ones. Enough will to finally write this post.

Maybe that text is a bit late. The confinement has been over for 3 months, after all. But maybe confinement will come back at a later date, or maybe someone will feel as I did, for completely unrelated reasons.

I guess the point of this post is not about cats. Some people are allergic to them, some people don’t like them, some people simply don’t care about them; so what worked for me is obviously not going to work for everyone. But the actual point is, something worked. Things do, sometimes, get better.

And if that last sappy comment is not for you, then here is at least some more cute kittens.


noun [countable]: a small animal with fur, four legs, a tail, and claws, usually kept as a pet or for catching mice (Cambridge Dictionary)

domestic brown cat on white looking

Cats are neat. They can be cool, classy, funny, heartwarming, impressive,cute, awesome. They are a great source of inspiration, a great companion against sadness or depression.

Cute video from Simon’s cat, inspired by the behaviour of the author’s own pets

Cats may not be adapted for everyone. Known side effects include allergies, food consumption, decrease in environment cleanliness and tidiness and trying to unpredictably murder you while you lovinglingly scratch their bellies. Ask your veterinarian if a cat is good for you.

Advice from The Oatmeal (https://theoatmeal.com/comics/kitty_pet)

There is a place in schwaz called Katzenheim, a “cat refuge” where animals without owners are taken care of by people, including volunteers. A youth center for cats, in a way.

Cats, cats everywhere…
Opinion from my favourite author


Noli Timere Messorem

Terry pratchett died in March 2015 from Alzheimer disease. He left behind more than 70 books, thousands of fans, and a loving family.

After tuesday meeting, I surfed on the internet for a while, for things related to him. I was impressed, albeit not surprised, by the number and quality of fan-made products referencing him and his work since then. He may have died a few years ago already, but what he created and, above all, what he inspired in other, still remains.

With the current crisis, we are seeing a lot of familiar names in grim circumstances, either famous people mentioned in the news, or closer, more personal tragedies. I personally don’t have any deep answer, or any way to make it in any way better, so I just search for them outside. Looking back at this, what I could find was a quote from the man: “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.”

Hopefully, this time too some ripples will still carry on.


Sailing Sights

L’école des Glénans is a french sailing association, one of the biggest and most well known in Europe.

They operate mainly from the eponymous archipel des glénans, an archipelago located off the coast of Concarneau, south of Brittany. However, they have several other bases across the country: one near Vannes, one at Paimpol, and two at Marseillan and Bonifacio, in the Mediterranean sea.

They offer classes of usually one or two weeks, on various supports ranging from small dinghies and sailboards to actual keelboats and yachts.

An interesting part of the school is that it aims to be more than a sailing club: it tries to teach the people who joins it, not only about sail and boats, but about the sea, nature, and life.

The archipelago is small and isolated from the mainland, linked only by a few boats. Most of the day-to-day activities, such as food preparation and cleaning, are accomplished by the trainees themselves, who are expected to participate in those supervised activities a set number of days during their week.

The organization also tried, especially in later years, to develop environmental awareness, and a sense of responsibility toward the sea and ecology, through various studies and workshops.

But the big specificity of this school is its extreme reliance on volunteering.

Beyond a small group of around 100 employees, most of the activities are accomplished by volunteers. This include most of the teaching, fleet and site maintenance, cooking, opening and closing the bases for winter, supplying the isolated isles with food and material, animation, and much more. All in all, it’s more than a thousand volunteers from every age and background that comes every year to make the association run.

It’s the first place I volunteered in, and probably one of the big reasons why I am currently here. So, with the sea now far away and all activities cancelled because of the virus, I thought I might as well share a bit of illustrated nostalgia.

two 5.7 training keelboats, with its emblematic white-and-red sails.
Sereine, the eldest training yacht of the association
Mélusine, another familiar sight, in the Morbihan Gulf
Another yach, with spinnaker out
Small laser Solo in action
Penfret, the main island from the Glenans archipelago. The buildings and tents can welcome hundreds of trainees at once during summer.
Fort cigogne, an old bastion in the center of the archipelago, reconverted as a sailing base. Comfy looking from the outside
Archipel, an old sailing boat and now the ship used to resupply the isolated islands from the mainland
Volunteers handling supply cargo. A frequent and necessary sight.


Chocolate chips cookies


2 eggs

300 g flour

140 g butter

120g sugar

50 black chocolate

50g milk chocolate

½ bag vanilla sugar

¼ bag baking powder

a touch of milk



Wash your hands!

Set the oven at 200°C

put all the wet ingredients (warm butter, sugar, vanilla sugar, eggs and milk) in a bowl, and mix until you get a homogenous paste.

in parallel, cut the black chocolate in tiny shaving bits, and the milk chocolate in medium-sized chips.

put the dry ingredients (flour, cut chocolate and baking powder) together.

in parallel, cut the black chocolate in tiny shaving bits, and the milk chocolate in medium-sized chips.

put the dry ingredients (flour, cut chocolate and baking powder) together.

progressively add the dry mix into the bowl containing the wet ingredients, and mix every time until you get a homogenous paste.

When all the ingredients have been mixed, Take a handful of paste of the size you desire, flatten it (with your palms or a rolling pin) and put it on a plate, over a sheet of baking paper.

Repeat until the bowl is empty and all your paste is on the plate.

Put the in the oven, and let it bake for 10 minutes.

Take it out and let it cool for a few minutes.

It’s ready!

Remember to wash your hand.


noun [uncountable] : a strong desire to travel (Oxford dictionary)


Travelling and wandering are stopped now, but we might as well enjoy the land we are in from our windows