Finnish Cat Enclosure

I always love to write about cats that live in countries other than the United Kingdom or United States, which are the two countries I usually discuss. In this instance I am writing about a Finnish cat enclosure. It looks like a “catio” (a cat-patio). Marc found Merja’s website which shows pictures of her cat “Helmi” in a patio-style enclosure attached to Merja’s “rowhouse”. I think in England we call these townhouses. I like this sort of innovation. I think different countries have slightly different ways of doing things and this looks really nice.

Finnish Cat Enclosure Showing WIlma and Helmi

What is also coincidentally very nice is that Merja’s cat companion is “Helmi”. Well, I was surprised. As you might know, one of the world’s greatest cat photographers is Helmi Flick. That is a nice connection for me. Merja tells me that “Helmi” is Finnish for pearl. I guess Helmi Flick has a Finnish connection. I wasn’t sure. I hope Helmi leaves a comment.

Merja calls the enclosure, “Helmi’s garden”. Helmi gets to it through the living room window. You can see a cut away section of wire netting in the window frame through which she passes and the ramp going down from the window. The enclosure has a very natural feel to it thanks to the plants and jungle feel. Helmi, a ginger tabby, looks like a little tiger in there. The following three pictures by Merja can be clicked to take you to larger format versions.

Finnish Cat Enclosure
Finnish Cat Enclosure. Helmi thinking about going out for a look and a sit down. Photo by Merja.

The next picture shows Helmi descending the ramp to her little jungle garden…

Finnish Cat Enclosure. Helmi Going into It
Finnish Cat Enclosure. Helmi Going into It. Photo: Merja.

And finally, nicely settled in her safe garden:

Finnish Cat Enclosure. Helmi Settled in Nicely.
Finnish Cat Enclosure. Helmi Settled in Nicely. Photo: Merja.

I think it is a very pretty cat enclosure.You can see the picture on Merja’s website too. Apparently Wilma may have brought in a mouse. Merja installed the chandelier for some lighting and it is a nice touch. It is more than lighting. It decorates the enclosure and blends in nicely.

You can see Finn Frode’s cat enclosure by clicking on this link. Finn lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. It seems to me that the Scandinavian countries (is Finland in Scandinavia?) are very good at cat enclosures and have a very responsible attitude towards the domestic cat. Finn is a regular visitor/contributor.

13 thoughts on “Finnish Cat Enclosure”

  1. This is most excellent to read. Helmi’s enclosure is wonderful and so full of life. I also have a ‘catio’ and a little door to it which is open as long as it is warm enough. In winter I go out (along with some of the other cats here) even at -15’C. Below that it is a little too cold for us. Our human does snow work to clear the catio in winter.
    I have written a little article about Finland and cat enclosures on here:
    And there are many photos on my blog.
    Helmi is my blog friend and we are very proud to see a Finn cat finding fame on other websites !

  2. Thanks for your nice story and nice comments about Helmi’s garden!

    Finland is not part of Scandinavia (only Norway, Denmark and Sweden are), but part of Nordic Countries (Scandinavian countries + Iceland + Finland).

    Rowhouse is townhouse, so that’s correct assumption!

    • Hi Naukula Family, it is really nice to have a dialogue with a Nordic family and show the world your attractive catio. Thanks for letting me publish your photographs.

  3. This is beautiful. It is almost tropical looking. It is obvious how much the cats love being out there.

    In the winter, I turn my back patio into a tent city for my yellow feral cat and her boyfriend. Three years ago, I bought her an igloo. Nope, she didn’t want it. Last year I bought the cutest little dog house, cut holes in the side walls so she could see out all sides. It has insulation too. Nope, she won’t use it. When I throw a big brown tarp over the whole business, and put her heated bed under it… she is happy. Mainly because she has many escape routes. It isn’t pretty, but it works for her. It’s a bit of an eye sore, but it makes me happy knowing she is dry and warm.

    Now, what to do about Marvin.


    • dw…you have hit on something that bugs me a bit. I want to buy Charlie things but cats do have their ways and often don’t use things that are better than what they are currently using. This puts me off buying something.

      I am very pleased that you finally created something that Yellow cat found acceptable. You deserve a big pat on the back for that. Well done. That took commitment.

      • Most of the times we buy something new for our cats they totally ignore it, they prefer the old and much loved lol but at least the cats at Kays Hill get the benefit and appreciate new stuff.

  4. That is really lovely and if we lived in a place unsafe for our cats to have their freedom we would certainly go all out to make something similar.
    Cats need fresh air and grass and sunshine for better quality of life and I think a lot more people in the USA could put themselves out a bit to provide some sort of catio. It doesn’t have to be luxurious, any access to outdoors is much appreciated by cats.
    A few years back we knocked up a cat run from wood and mesh, for our ex neighbour’s 15 cats, over the patio and grass and put perches for them to sit up heights, it didn’t cost the earth and they loved it.
    Cats deserve the best life we can give them.

    • Well done Ruth for your words. When it is unsuitable to let a cat out without supervision, a catio like this is the next best thing as you say. It is not ideal but it lets a cat sit out amongst some greenery and smell the outside air, see the birds and get some mental stimulation. And they are not that costly. There is a lot of space in the USA and so many houses have decent sized back yards (gardens) that are ideal for a good sized enclosure.

  5. I love the look and feel of this catio. I want to build something similar myself. I think the cats love the abundance of nature. Cat’s love to hide in long grass and undercover of leaves so this is really fantastic if you consider the size and simplicity of it. Probably if you are willing to build such a catio yourself then it certainly doesn’t have to be such a costly affair.

    • I am trying to think why they are not more popular. One reason may be the aesthetic side of things. People can be very house proud and don’t want to attach a cat enclosure to their immaculate house. But I love them and one aspect is that they give peace of mind to the cat’s caretaker. You know your cat is safe and has some space outside to behave naturally.

      If and when I move out of London, I’ll buy a house and build a large cat enclosure with this jungle inside. Actually, I might build it large enough for my cat and me because the British weather is horrible. I’d use it as my garden.


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