A Ship’s Captain and Crew with Real Catitude

For anyone unfamiliar with inland shipping, it is the transport of goods or passengers on ships via inland waterways such as canals, rivers and lakes between inland ports or quays and wharfs. Inland shipping is a very reliable, safe, and efficient way of transporting large volumes of cargo at low cost and with low CO2 emissions per ton.

We’re so pleased to introduce you to a beautiful, smart and talented inland ship captain named Iris and her uber adorable son Dylan. Iris is based in The Netherlands and sails her ship from Amsterdam and Rotterdam to different ports in Germany via the Rhine river. She and Dylan pretty much live full time on her ship (photo below).

Oh, did we mention that besides 2 other captains and 4 sailors aboard, Iris’ personal crew consists of 3 exquisite but mischievous cats named Lola, Nina (both are Birmans) and Olan (Ragdoll) and a stunning but precocious cockatoo named Shakira. How’s that for a paw-some crew!

In the world of inland shipping there are plenty of nautical puns like…

A ship’s captain is really just a sails manager” or “In ancient times, shipping vessels were much more fuel efficient because they got thousands of miles to the galleon.

But there’s nothing funny about the demands of being a captain on such a large vessel. Iris has been sailing for 14 years. She started out as a sailor and has been a captain now for almost 8 years. The captain’s primary job is to safely sail the ship from the loading port to the discharge port as well as to keep an eye on the sailors. And yes, there’s plenty of administration work to do in between. But her crew are always keeping a close watch on overall ship operations.

We asked Iris to tell us a bit more about her feline ship mates, Lola, Nina and Olan. Nina is 3 years old and is the mother of Lola (now 2 years old). Olan is their baby who turns one on September 12th (he was adopted). Iris told us that all three get along famously but make no mistake, “Nina is the boss!

Iris continues; “Nina is super sweet, and never misbehaves. She is the leader of the group. Lola however, doesn’t always listen and can be a mischief maker at times. She loves to scratch in places where that is not allowed and loves to claw the ship’s ropes”. “Olan on the other hand is our friendly lazy giant…relaxed and easygoing.

You can see below just how demanding their jobs are as ship mates. >^..^<

Iris’ son Dylan is almost 2 years old and is a happy, sweet natured boy who absolutely loves animals. He and baby Olan are best friends. Whilst the other crew can often be found scouting the waters for oncoming vessels, these two best buddies will often sneak in some cartoon watching time together.

We asked Iris about the sleeping arrangements for her cats. She said that on most nights the cats sleep in bed with her but occasionally they’ll nod off on their cat tree/scratching post or under one of the beds. Their ship is designed such that you barely notice when it’s moving and the cats feel right at home there.

[clickToTweet tweet=”This captain and her hilarious crew have real Catitude” quote=”This captain and her hilarious crew have real Catitude”]

And what about the crew’s faithful feathered cockatoo co-captain Shakira?

Iris told us; “Shakira is a white cockatoo who loves to dance and knows exactly what she wants. She can be bossy and sometimes the kitties are a little bit afraid of her.”  One might argue that in this crew, Shakira sits in the catbird seat! >^..^<

We asked Iris about the best and worst thing about being a ship’s captain. The best thing she told us is that every day is different and brings new adventures. The worst thing for her is sailing during the night shifts.

Turns out we’re not the only ones who are fans of Iris and her delightful nautical nomads. Lady Lola has amassed an Instagram fan base of over 43K followers at the time of this writing. That’s some serious love!

Please follow her at @ladylolathecat and stay on top of their daily travels and adventures. Like right meow!

In closing we asked Iris if there was anything Lady Lola might like to say to her many IG fans? She replied;

“I want to thank all of Lola’s followers and fans for their support. Without all of you Lola’s page wouldn’t be such a success! You must know that we love you and will keep posting our adventures. Lots of love, Iris, Mads , Dylan , Shakira , Lola , Nina, Olan ❤️

Please enjoy a few more delightful photos (we really had a hard time narrowing them down).

Inspection day … that’s a pretty clean looking deck…but best we double check it anyway, to make sure the captain is happy.

Another day, another new adventure. Ahhhh…this is the life!

How much cargo can this ship really hold? I’ll watch and supervise, just to be safe!

After a long day on the water…it’s time to sit back and chill.

Credit: All photos courtesy of @ladylolathecat


Before writing this post, we used to have a fear of boats, but that ship has now sailed! In closing we salute Captain Iris and her courageous crew! We wish them many wonderful adventures together and we’ll be sure to follow them.



  1. jmuhj September 7, 2017
  2. San September 8, 2017
  3. Tasha Barlow September 8, 2017
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