Kissakahvila Freija, the first cat café in Rovaniemi opened on 14 July at Rovakatu 7. It is the third of its kind in Finland.
The idea of cat café was born in Taiwan and has become extremely popular all over the world after its booming success in Japan. People who visit a cat café are able to spend time interacting and playing with cats while having food and drinks.
Cats Cecilia, Musti, Vincent and Ludwig welcomes everyone to visit café
Katri Säkö-Arias, the owner of Kissakahvila Freija described the place as incredibly cosy, with a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. “It is perfect for tranquil family gatherings, meetings of friends, dates, and solitary visits.”
Talking about the progressive generation of her idea of opening Freija, Säkö-Arias said, “It started as a kind of joke. We should open a cat café, I once said. After some time, I said let’s open a cat café someday. Until finally it became let’s open a cat café now! I can’t even tell when the idea was born, as it was a long process.”
Unlike the other two cat cafés in the country, Kissakahvila Freija doesn’t have an entrance fee. At least for the time being, you don’t have to make a reservation and pay for the visit. People are welcome to come anytime and enjoy food and drinks in the company of four lovely cats — Cecilia, Musti, Vincent and Ludwig.
Explaining her reason for the entrance fee waiver, Säkö-Arias said, “I have visited various cat cafés around the world, and in every café you have to pay even before ordering the food. My family and I paid 50 euros before we even had a coffee. It’s quite expensive. And it might happen that the cats are asleep. And if I pay for the entrance, I expect the cats to be there. I know that there is a reason for the entrance fee. It’s to maintain the cafeteria. Anyway, we wanted to try it without the entrance fee. We want families to be able to come with children. It’s more affordable for them this way.”
Freija offers a variety of snacks, beverages, and ice cream. Säkö-Arias said, “There’s another difference between us and other cat cafés. Usually there are waiters who serve the tables, and the food is cooked somewhere in an adjoined room. But we do everything right here, in front of the customers. We consulted the health inspector about this idea. We wanted to make it cosier. So all of the food is here on display; it’s just covered. All of the cups, mugs, plates, and so on are also safely stored in the cupboards. We don’t cook here. We order the food and bring it into the café.”
In the café there are no rules but approach the cats carefully
The café has been opened only for a few days now, but it already attracts around 100 customers a day. There is no list of rules telling customers how to behave; however there are some common customs. “Usually you go to a cat café and they read you the rules. We don’t have a list of rules. I rely on the common sense of people. We take the shoes off, because both children and cats play on the floor,” said Säkö-Arias. It is recommended for the visitors to approach the animals carefully and slowly. It is advised to first give a cat a hand to smell. Of course, it goes without saying that animals should not be chased, picked up against their will, or disturbed during the sleep.
She is happy that the visitors so far have treated the cats with a great deal of respect. “All the children who have visited the café have behaved incredibly well. Children come already prepared, because the parents have taught them at home how to approach an animal. I am very happy about that. There’s a lot of respect.”
City of Rovaniemi - Daily Finland Report