Dirk aiming to beat the Flab

I don’t know about your cats, but my lovely Dirk is a bit overweight… According to International Cat Care about 39-52% of cats in the UK are overweight or obese, so Dirk is certainly not the only one. As you all know, being overweight can lead to other health problems as well, diabetes for example.

It can also lead to issues with the lower urinary tract, such as cystitis. I didn’t actually know this until Dirk developed urinary issues (bladder stones) 6 years ago. At that point he weighed 5.9 kg, so his weight my well have been a contributing factor. He’s a pretty big guy, but should really weigh around 5 kg.

So, how to beat the flab?

Given his bladder and weight issues, Dirk is permanently on a special diet, which also means he doesn’t get treats… Fortunately he seems to love his dental dry food as much as treats, so we make him chase those all around the house. We strictly monitor how much he’s eating and of course we try and get him to play as much as possible. Luckily he loves his toys 🙂

He can’t go outside, which would have been an ideal way for him to lose weight, but we let him run up and down the stairs in our apartment building. He absolutely loves it!

His weight has been coming down slowly but steadily, and he’s been at 5.3 kg for a while now (yes, he has a waistline again!).

A few years ago we also started using activity feeders. He used to have a feeder ball during the day and a bowl of food during the night.

Admittedly, Dirk was not immediately taken by the feeder ball. Initially he just ignored it (or didn’t get it) and would wait till evening when we put his food in the bowl… Eventually his curiosity got the better of him and he started playing with the ball. He then discovered food coming out of it! Now he’ll happily chase the ball all around the apartment.

Two issues with the ball, though. First, when you’re trying to sleep and you keep hearing the ball being knocked against the door or walls, that’s not great. And second, whenever we’re on holiday and one of my cat sitting colleagues takes care of him, Dirk always hides the ball (preferably under our bed, shoe cupboard or the sofa). Yes, he prefers a ready meal 🙂


Where’s my food?

We tackled this issue by getting him two more activity feeders, but ones that he doesn’t actually have to move around the house: the toilet roll tower and activity board.

beat-the-flab-3-4He now always has access to his food, but always has to work for it. He’s eating smaller portions more often during the day and actually seems to enjoy the food games. Hopefully it will also help him lose those final 300 grams to reach his target weight!


And it even works for wet food – don’t worry, your cat will clean up the mess :-)

Nurri Kassikohvik – Cat cafe in Tallinn, Estonia

I had the pleasure to be invited last October to visit Nurri Kassikohvik – the cat cafe in Tallinn, Estonia. Not only I got to visit the cafe, I was also invited to give a talk on the subject of cat!

Nurri Kassikohvik situates in a super handy city centre location in Tallinn in the heart of one of the major shopping areas. It is a short walk away from the Old Town. So you really have no excuse not to visit if you are a tourist in Tallinn!

The Human

Nurri Cat Cafe was opened in October 2014 by the husband and wife team Helen Jõudna and JJ (Jaanus Juhan) Illend.

Before opening the cafe Helen was Chief Accountant in several companies. JJ was an IT manager. For years Helen had been thinking of starting her own business (I know the feeling!), but it was hard to leave a good job and colleagues. In 2013 and 2014, Helen was on maternity leave for baby Jasmine, so she started imagining her new work life again. She saw London cat cafe in a TV show and liked the idea so much that decided to open one in Tallinn too. Keeping a cafe is a lifestyle, so it was natural her husband also lives the same life and Nurri Cat Cafe as family business was born! (I actually talked about business and family on this post, and I will talk more about it soon as well, make sure to check out my posts about business if you are interested).


The Place

On arriving to the cafe, I can see immediately that the cafe owner Helen and JJ have put a lot of thought into the design of the cafe. First of all, the double door design impressed me immediately. It is to ensure that cats won’t be able to dash out to the main street. The white doors you see from the above picture is only the outer door, once you have entered that door, you will need to wait for the staff to open the inner security sliding door.

On entering the cafe, oh my goodness…



You can see immediately they have put a lot of thought into environment enrichment for the cats. The ‘highway’ on the ceiling for cats to observe human without disturbance, plenty of scratching places, plenty of cat beds and a major cat retreat if the cats find the human buzz all too much. You can see on the photos, human seem to really enjoy observing cats that are on the highway too.

The rectangle on the top right corner of this photo is the entrance to a cat retreat area if cats want to be away from it all.

You can see the various environmental enrichment measures on these photos.

As for human’s comfort, I visited the cafe after dark to give an evening lecture, but as you can see the lovely big windows with bright light on these pictures taken during the day.


The Food

Well, it IS a cafe, so let’s also talk about the food on offer. Obviously, the main focus of my visit was about the cats, so I didn’t know what to expect. But as it turns out, the food at Nurri Cafe was really good! I had a pancake dish with rooibos tea. It was lovely.

I also know Helen and JJ try to make things interesting by offering different things on the weekend, they do sushi buffet sometimes, pancake buffet, etc. I must try to attend one of their weekend buffets when I am in Tallinn next time.

And look at THESE!!!


The Cats

Now, let’s meet the cat staff!

All the cats are of very gentle temperament. Some are more friendly to human than the other, but they are all very tolerant to noise, children grabby hands, and the gentle buzz of a cafe.

The kitty sisters (Pummi, Tulnukas, Lõvi):

Tulnukas (Alien in Estonian)
Lõvi (Lion in Estonian)

The sisters were born to the same mother-cat. Tulnukas and Lõvi were born in May 2014, while Pummi is 4 months younger – she is from the next litter. When the sisters moved to our café in last July, little Lõvi (which means “Lion” in Estonian) hardly resembled the mighty animal she was named after. Now however Lõvi has grown up and looks like a true lioness. The kitty sisters are very sociable and playful and like to be petted. They are the favorites of café visitors, they love to play and run. Pummi also has great respect for the running wheel for cats.


Kriimu is 2 years old cat, newest in cafe cat family. She does not play as often as other cafe cats, but when she does, it is worth watching, she has her own style



He is a young male cat who came to the cafe in May 2016 from the new shelter for homeless animals in Lääne County, which opened last year in Vilkla, near Haapsalu.



A small female cat who came to the cafe in February 2016 from the animal shelter of Haapsalu. She immediately starts to purr when caressed! A little shy around people, but gets along well with other cats, feeling especially close to Space and Heracles.

Lovely and Lion


A very friendly and sociable male cat who feels right at home at the cafe since his first minute here. He came to the cafe in February 2016 from the animal shelter of Haapsalu.



The youngest cafe cat, who was born in Tallinn at the end of March in 2016. As it is always the case with kittens, Urr is a very energetic, playful and fun companion for the visitors as well as other cats in the cafeteria.


Here are cats and humans enjoying each other’s company…


Patiently (more or less) waiting for dinner to be served…

All the cat staff of the Nurri Cafe are from the cat shelters. Please make sure to use this opportunity to check out the cat charity in Estonia – Varjupaikade MTÜ (Animal shelters in Estonia) and donate if you are able to help them. Like most animal charities around the world, they are in much need of funding. You may also follow their Facebook page.

My Talk

JJ And I are getting ready for the talk

The problem of having a lecture in a cat cafe is, cats are going to go STRAIGHT onto your computer when you are trying to set up…


And then fight ON your computer…


Helen told me Molly on the left hand side of this photo has since been rehomed due to fighting episode like that. She ensured us that any cat that might be more suitable to be in a home environment will be rehomed accordingly. No cat is ‘forced’ to work at Nurri Cafe.


I gave a talk on Introduction to Cat Behaviour, it was one of the first of this kind in Tallinn and as you can see the whole cafe was filled up. I had a great time talking with the cat lovers of Tallinn and got some very interesting questions at the Q&A as well.

You can check out my slide show on SlideShare.

The Children

As a mother, I would conclude Nurri Cafe is definitely a child friendly venue. It’s a great venue for your little one to explore and learn about animal. All the cats are very used to dealing with children. If they find it too much they will leave or go into the retreat, there are plenty of space for them to avoiding the children if they don’t feel like interacting with them. Of course, make sure to use the opportunity to teach your children about respect and boundary towards animal.


My son very quickly copped on with the idea of the cat retreat and was telling us that cats are sleeping in there.

The Cashback Card

You can tell immediate JJ is putting his experience as IT manager in use at Nurri Cafe. They have this cute Nurri Cafe Cashback Card where you can collect points and check your status on an app. It can be used at all Cashback merchants.


The Gift Store

Helen and JJ also stock a selection of cat theme souvenirs at the cashier. And of course, there was always ‘someone’ trying to help…(not helpful!)


I got these myself from Helen and JJ. Thank you so much and thank you for having me!


All in all, I really enjoy my visit at Nurri Cafe and am very pleased to make friends with Helen and JJ. It’s just amazing cat lovers around the world could just ‘click’ and friendship can be established immediately.

Nutri Cafe is a must visit for cat loving tourists and resident of Tallinn alike! If I live in Tallinn, I will go there once a week!

Nurri Kassikohvik

Competition: Missy & Chance Online Pet Photo Show

Hi everyone,

Today we’ve got a post from our friends Missy & Chance! It’s all about an online pet photo competition in the style of a traditional cat show. You can even win rosettas but without the annoyance of having to head to a show packed full with cats that might upset your little cat. 😉

All details below:

Missy & Chance here, we are running our 2nd online photo show (entries close midnight Feb 28th) and would love to see some new furry friends 🙂

16265786_253183778439541_6514040278076679571_n Our last months Best In Show winner Reuben Redfur was over the moon when he won 🙂

We accept entries from worldwide and nobody “goes home” with nothing.
Anything which our shows raise goes towards vets expenses to help keep Missy looking as healthy as she does in her 2nd pic 🙂


Looking forward to making new friends

Welcome to Missy & Chance’s 2nd Online Pet Photo Show
Entries close midnight February 28th 2017

Rosettes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each class. Best In Show and Reserve Best In Show will also be awarded.
Any unplaced entrant will receive a “special” rosette

Entry fee is £1.00 per photo, per class which can be paid by PayPal to TeamMissy@zoho.com (friends & family) Payment can also be arranged by bank transfer.

Anything which may be made will go towards Missy and Chance (vet bills/food/essentials)

LIST OF CLASSES (open to all pets)

1: Pretty Girls
2: Handsome Boys
3: Cute Babies
4: Pets In Action
5: Sleepy Pets
6: Best Friends
7: Mischievous Pets
8: Brightest Eyes
9: Silly Expression
10:Rainbow Bridge Pets
11:Anything Goes

12:Cats Only
13:Dogs Only

14:PRIZE CLASS: All Time Fav Pic (1st place will receive a £5.00
Pets At Home gift card)


Please send your entries by private message on Facebook or via email with pets name, class number entered and address. Pics will be added once payment received

Judging will be done by friends unrelated to our groups to keep things as fair as possible

Good luck to everyone that enters! We will be sure to enter a photo of Nubia and Oliver. 🙂

If one of you readers wins let us know so we can mention you in the follow-up post!