A look at 40 square meters sized world of cats

Maarit Mattila has made her home pleasant and safe for her cats.

Written by Kati Jalagin Photos by Sami Heiskanen

When Maarit Mattila opens the door to her home, two curious Burmese cats patter towards entrance: four-year-old Hippa and three-year-old Velmu. They sniff at the visitors and observe carefully what is happening in the entrance hall.

“Hippa and Velmu are a bit like dogs, they’re very curious and sociable,” Maarit says.

Maarit received Hippa as a kitten from her friend, and after a year, she got Velmu from Sweden to keep Hippa company. The male cats are the best of friends who play with each other every day.

Maarit Mattila and her cats, Velmu and Hippa, outside in the balcany.
Occasionally, Hippa and Velmu are taken to the balcony to see the world outside.

Maarit had not owned cats before, so she searched instructions for caring for cats and what is needed for a cat home on the web and Facebook. The cat breeder also provided some tips.

A nice and safe home

To begin with, Maarit purchased cat litter and a litter tray, food bowls and a travel crate for her 40-square-metre two-room flat on Sofianlehdonkatu. Since then, several toys, hiding places and mats and objects designed for scratching have been added to the collection.

The cats’ feeding spot is in the kitchen. Maarit has placed a tray under the food and water bowls to protect the floor.

“In some households with cats, the kitchen stoves are protected and the child locks are used, but that hasn’t been necessary for us. Still, I keep the front door safely locked since Velmu knows how to open it otherwise,” Maarit says.

A tray under four food cups
A tray under the food bowls protects the kitchen floor.

Velmu has also proven to be a cat who likes to gnaw into cords and rubber.

“I’ve bought cable protectors from IKEA to protect the washing machine’s cords from Velmu,” Maarit says.

For the legs of the dining table in the living room, Maarit purchased scratching mats, which have seen a lot of use. There is also a cactus-shaped scratching post near the bathroom. The little rug with a Russian doll pattern in the living room has also ended up scratched.

The plants in the home are non-toxic, since Velmu also likes to eat plants.

To keep her home clean, Maarit vacuums it almost every other day. In addition to loose cat hairs, the cat litter that ends up spread across the bathroom floor needs cleaning up.

“I bought a washer-dryer, which helps a lot: there is a lot less cat hair at home now. I put some mats on the bathroom floor that prevent the litter from being tracked to other places to some extent,” Maarit says.

A playground for cats

Hippa and Velmu are free to romp and climb about their kingdom, which means that sometimes things fall from the shelves to the floor.

One of the cats’ favourite places is an old television that Maarit bought at a flea market and customised into a place to rest, with a little help from her friends. Maarit has installed nets on the kitchen and bedroom windows, and now, sitting by the window and looking outside is one of the cats’ favourites pastimes.

Scratching tree shaped of a cactus
The cactus for sharpening claws gets heavy use.

Maarit takes Hippa and Velmu in harnesses outside into the yard a few times a year, or the balcony of their home. The cats spend most of their time indoors. However, the outside world is so interesting to them that they have run to the stairway a few times when the front door has been opened.

“Sometimes, I’ve had to pick up Hippa and Velmu from my neighbour’s when they have slipped there through an open door. Luckily, the neighbours have been understanding,” Maarit says gratefully.