Meta Louise Vreugde Foundation

Orange Kitten

Meta Louise Vreugde was an amazing woman and a true animal lover. Read below to learn a little about her remarkable life. When she died, she left funds to be distributed to worthy organizations that care for cats.

We are delighted to once again receive a donation from the Meta Louise Vreugde Foundation. Thank you to Dr. Roy Smith, who adminsters the funds for this foundation, and thank you to Sheila Smith, the founder and director of Shadow Cats ( for recommending Thundering Paws for the grant.

All donations to Thundering Paws are very much appreciated and are tax deductible. If you'd like more information about how to help us out with a one-time donation, or to set up regular monthly donations, please see our donations page.

Meta Louise Leeksma Vreugde

Born in Djakarta, Indonesia on November 11, 1924, Meta Louise Leeksma Vreugde grew up in the tropical jungles of Sumatra and Java, as her father, a captain in the Dutch Army, moved among various military outposts. With only a few short visits in Holland for "home leave," Meta stayed in Indonesia until the family retired from the Dutch military in 1936.

Back in Holland, Meta worked in the Tropical Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam until the Second World War broke out in May of 1939. Fiercely proud of her Dutch heritage, Meta fought in the Dutch underground against the Nazis for the next five years. Meta had many close encounters with the German enemy during those years and claimed to be the best thief of German bicycles in all of Holland.

After the war ended Meta struggled to put her life back in order. She worked for many years as an airline stewardess for KLM Airlines. In 1950, Meta met Theo Vreugde, a survivor of the Japanese concentration camps on Sumatra. She married Theo Vreugde in 1951, and immigrated to the United States in 1954. Due to injuries suffered in the concentration camps, Theo and Meta had no children of their own, so Meta's pets became her children. She had a parrot named Jacobo for 20 years and over this time many cats. Meta loved each cat like her own child, mourned the loss of each one when it passed away, and memorialized her cats with her artwork.

Theo's geologist job with various oil companies in the southwest moved Meta and Theo around from Beaumont, to Oklahoma City, to Houston, and finally to retire in Austin in 1983. Meta retained her Dutch citizenship all her life. Meta was an accomplished artist, took delight in finding and restoring old "treasures" and read every one of her hundreds of books at least twice, her cats purring beside her.

Meta Vreugde died peacefully at her home at 11:45am on December 7, 2005, on Pearl Harbor Day. She leaves behind "Harvey," her one remaining cat who now resides peacefully in Pittsburg and a legacy of love and caring for all animals.


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