As a self-proclaimed animal lover, I am somewhat ashamed to admit that it took me a good 7 months to realize there is a cat café in Helsinki. That said, once I made this discovery, it took me under 24 hours to grab a friend and drag her there. None of us regret this decision.
Helsinki’s cat café is located in the Kamppi district, and it is situated a short walk away from the bus station and shopping center. Upon entrance, much like in any normal Finnish house, one’s shoes must stay by the door. Truth be told, having coffee in your socks as the cats lazily roam around really makes it feel like you are just chilling at home.
A total of eight cats call Helkatti home. We learnt that most of the cats came to the café as kittens, but one of them was rescued later in life. The café is filled with jungle gyms and toys for the kitties to enjoy. All the cats have different personalities and it is fun to see some of them snoozing overhead, while others are happily roaming around.
The atmosphere inside the café is very relaxing: the soft, dark lighting provides a stark contrast to the outside world. After a while of sitting in awe of their cuteness and watching the cats leisurely walk around, it feels almost normal, and like all cafés should be like this. Whenever a patron is approached by a cat, there is not a single grumpy face in sight: everyone seems happy to be there—and why wouldn’t they be! My favorite moment was going to the restroom and finding a cat happily splashing around in the toilet bowl.
However, Helkatti is not just a place to watch cats live their very interesting lives: there is plenty of food on offer, namely snacks, sandwiches, cakes and soup, as well as a selection of tea and coffee. Lattes & hot chocolates come with kitty latte art, which is a lovely touch!
Visitors are requested not to bother the cats, and, as independent creatures, getting close to them isn’t always easy. We were lucky enough to be there during feeding time, which allowed us to get a good view of Helkatti’s inhabitants side by side:
Perhaps the biggest inconvenience of all is paying a €5 entry fee, on top of any purchases you may make while at the café. This money, however, is destined to taking care of the lovely cats in the café, and well-worth it in terms of the experience.
Helkatti is located in Fredrikinkatu 55. It’s open Tuesday-Friday 11-20, and Saturdays 11-18.