Visiting a Cat Café in the Happiest Country in the World

For the previous 5 years, Finland has ranked primary in world happiness reports. Are the nation’s cats as comfortable as their human counterparts? I needed to search out out, so on a go to to Finland final summer season, I dropped into the Helkatti Cat Café in downtown Helsinki.

There are three cat cafés in Finland – that won’t look like a lot, but it surely’s not unhealthy for a small nation with a inhabitants of solely 5.6 million, together with strict legal guidelines regarding animals and meals prep. All three of Finland’s cat cafés are owned by Tiina Altonen, a cat lover with 9 feline associates of her personal.

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It was round 82 F the day I visited Helkatti. That’s a bit of hotter than {the summertime} common for Helsinki, and as quickly as I used to be ushered into the café by the workers, I noticed there was no air con. Heat waves are uncommon in Finland, and older buildings are hardly ever retrofitted with A/C. But nobody complained in regards to the warmth, least of all of the motley crew of contented cats with exotic-sounding names like Puu (which means “wooden” or “tree”), Namitassu (“yummy paw”), and Tyylilyyli (“model information”). Altonen, the café’s proprietor, is cat guardian to all of Helkatti’s feline patrons.

Only the kitchen is off limits to the cats, so it’s not unparalleled for kitties to comply with guests into the lavatory. As for the human visitors, they’re allowed to sit down wherever they need amid a cool Nordic-meets-Moroccan vibe of mismatched furnishings, cat artwork, and many cushions. An enormous aquarium provides curiosity in the course of the house, however the primary attraction is, in fact, the cats.

I sat throughout from Nestori, a regal tabby lounging on a leather-based armchair, and questioned what it might be prefer to spend the evening right here. The furnishings doesn’t appear like it guarantees a very good evening’s sleep, however hey—consider the purring firm! The café caters to many various teams, and so they even supply kitty yoga on Mondays.

Cat cafés aren’t normally recognized for his or her meals, however Helkatti has a menu of superbly offered candy and savory objects. They even have a liquor license, however they’re greatest recognized for his or her expertly drawn kitty lattes.

The self-deprecating Finns are at all times a bit of shocked once they discover out about their “happiest on the earth” standing. They take it with a grain of salt, and the cats appear to as nicely. They have it good, but it surely’s rude to boast—so let’s simply say the felines (and their people) are feeling high quality in Finland.

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