Monday, May 28, 2012

No cats!



„Do you have a cat? “, is what this poster is asking. Well, it seems like most Finns – at least the ones living in Helsinki – would have to answer this question with “no”.

In most other cities you always see some cats strolling around. Not so in Helsinki. Here you barely get to see any of those animals. The only time I ever got to see a cat here on the street was a few weeks ago. It was on a leach and walked by its owner. That’s another reason for me to believe that Finns are in general more dog people. And if they happen to get a cat by any weird circumstances they apparently try to train it to behave like a dog.

Asking a Finn why I don’t get to see any cats here I was told that first of all it would be way too dangerous for them in the city due to the traffic and second of all they couldn’t handle the extreme winter temperatures. Hundreds of cats in the streets of St. Petersburg – it has quite the same climate and the traffic in Helsinki is nothing compared to what you see there – clearly disprove those arguments.

This leaves me to the conclusion that cats probably just don’t fit the Finnish mentality. Being reliable, following the rules, carrying social responsibility as a part of a group - those are all highly appreciated values in the Finnish society and are all not really characteristics for a cat.

If anyone knows any other explanation, please let me know. Otherwise I will have to accept that Finns and cats are just not made for each other.

3 comments:

  1. Hi,

    Of course there are cats in Helsinki, a lots of them. You just don't see them wandering around alone. Although keeping the cat out without a leash is not forbidden, there are regulations. Most of the cats in the cities are mainly kept inside.

    Attached a part of Public Order Act

    Chapter 4
    Animals
    Section 14
    Control of dogs
    (1) In order to maintain public order and security, the owner of a dog, or the person in whose possession the dog is, shall:
    1) keep the dog on a leash in built-up areas;
    2) ensure that an unleashed dog has no access to exercise tracks or other similar running
    tracks, and that the dog has no access whatsoever to a public beach, a children's
    playground, a market place during trading hours, or a ski track maintained for public use or a sports field, unless this is specifically allowed; (1195/2003)
    3) ensure that the dog's faeces are not left on the ground in a maintained section of a built-up
    area.
    (2) The provisions of subsection 1(1) and (2) do not apply to a State-owned dog used in the
    course of performing a public duty, a dog accompanying a guard performing guarding
    duties, a trained rescue dog on duty, a dog assisting a physically handicapped person, or a
    guide dog for a visually impaired person.
    (3) The provisions of subsection 1(1) do not apply to an enclosed yard, a dog training area or a specifically designated fenced-in exercise area. In such areas, however, the dog shall be
    under the supervision of its owner or the person in whose possession the dog is.
    (4) The provisions of subsection 1(2) also apply to a cat. The provisions of subsection 1(1)and (2) also apply to a horse and, as appropriate, to other domestic animals and pets.

    Section 15
    Horse riding
    (1) Riding a horse and driving a horse-drawn or other similar vehicle on an exercise track or
    other similar running track, a ski track maintained for public use and a sports field are
    prohibited unless otherwise indicated.
    (2) The provisions of subsection 1 do not apply to necessary service and maintenance work or
    to actions by the authorities associated with maintaining public order.

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