Cat ownership in Finland. What is it like?
I wanted to discover some definitive laws about cat ownership in Finland, specifically with regard to whether domestic cats can go outside and wander around freely. I wanted to ask this question because Finland to an outsider is a cold place. It would seem to be inhospitable to domestic cats to be outside. Of course, I am stereotyping but what is the general rule about letting cats go outside?
|Domestic cat in Finnish weather. Image in public domain.|
I couldn't find any really good specific details but people who have lived in Finland say this.
They say that outside of the cities free roaming cats are quite common. The same applies to semi-feral barn cats and what the Finish called "summer cats". These are cats which have been adopted during summer months and then abandoned when winter arrives. That sounds rather unpleasant I must say. I would have expected better from the Finish.
I don't know of any specific law which states that domestic cats living in Finnish cities have to be kept indoors. I don't think they exist. I think the general rule is that domestic cats can't wander into certain places. To achieve this, they should be under supervision when outside the home.
Apparently, the law is "pretty clear" as per a person who has lived in Finland. They state that "any animal free roaming is supposed to be supervised by its owner. Any animal without its owner close by can be considered abandoned and, for example, a free roaming cat without its owner found on the property of someone else, might be killed."
They further state that there are hunters in the countryside shooting at stray and feral cats. They have the right to do this provided the cat in question is unsupervised and therefore the owner is not nearby and, further, they don't have a collar with an identification tag.
The general consensus in Finland appears to be that domestic cats in cities should be kept indoors and those that live in the countryside can roam freely or it is tolerated despite what I've said in the last paragraph!
I think, judging from my reading of this topic, the situation is rather vague and untidy. I could not find specific laws about indoor/outdoor cats. And I'm good at researching on the Internet.
People who have lived in Finland provide rather vague answers to the question whether domestic cats are allowed outside unsupervised.
This appears to be leading to the shooting of cats without sanction from the authorities. On that topic, if there is a law regarding keeping cats indoors, it is apparently unenforced or enforced poorly.
As in other countries, the Finish apparently are drifting towards the idea of full-time indoor cats. Although, you still see indoor/outdoor cats outside in the bigger cities. But it is apparently "technically illegal".
My research also indicates that sterilising domestic cats is not mandatory, which leaves many indoor/outdoor cats living in the countryside unsterilised, free to breed and procreate thereby encouraging shooters to take pot shots.