Perhaps the most eye-catching sights are the five-metre high representations of beloved feline characters like Garfield!
Our feline friends are paid homage to at this three-yearly parade in the city of Ypres. The legend goes that plenty of mice were attracted to Ypres when the city was a big wool producer. Cats were brought in to scare off the rodents, but unfortunately once all the wool was sold and the cats were no longer needed the town jester was given the humane task of getting rid of them by throwing them over the tower.
Given their treatment in the past, it’s perhaps no wonder the town felt a need to commemorate the poor animals, and since the 1950s the parade has seen people marching in cat costumes or sporting cat masks to the sound of a marching band. Perhaps the most eye-catching sights are the five-metre high representations of beloved feline characters like Garfield.
This 'Kattenstoet' event runs every 3rd year (2021, 2024, 2027, 2030, etc.), on the 2nd Sunday of May.
Map showing the location of Ypres Cat Parade (Kattenstoet)
Getting here by train
Ieper Station is the main station in the town of Ypres and is located just a few hundred metres from the epicentre of the Kattenstoet parades. There are decent local services from neighbouring towns, and on arrival, there are bikes, taxis and buses available directly outside the station.