This imposing fortified tower was built in the second half of the 15th century and has the unusual name of Katzenturm – literally meaning cats’ tower. It is the only one of the three towers in the town walls to have survived.
The Katzenturm was once part of an early-warning system. It stood at the highest point of the town’s fortifications. From here, watchmen had an excellent view over the area in front of the town walls and could spot whatever was coming in good time – approaching troops, for example. Lookouts in the Katzenturm also had a line of sight to the Stumpfer Turm watchtower about two kilometres away on Alte Vlothoer Strasse. Nowadays, this tower looks like a picturesque ruin to passing walkers and is easy to miss in the dense deciduous woodland. Although it literally translates as cats’ tower, the name Katzenturm has nothing to do with domestic animals. It is probably derived from the Middle High German word Katte, meaning fortification, so the name of the tower indicates its original purpose.
The Katzenturm was also known as Diebsturm (thieves’ tower) at one time as small-scale crooks and thieves were imprisoned in a detention cell here. The door to the former jail is at ground level on Turmstrasse.