Swedish word of the day: kattrappa

Swedish word of the day: kattrappa
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Here's a Swedish word to help explain a strange device you're likely to spot in Sweden.

Kattrappa means “cat staircase”, and it’s a ladder-like contraption for cats leading up to an apartment balcony. It allows the animals to come and go as they please – and means that owners can consider apartments above the ground floor without compromising on giving their cat some freedom.

Sweden has strict policies around animal welfare, and dog owners for example may only leave their pets alone for a limited number of hours per day, so it makes sense that people in Sweden would ensure outdoor cats have plenty of chances to get out. Look out for the kattrappor as you walk around Sweden, as some of them are quite artistically designed.

So why is it our Swedish word of the day?

Cat ladders aren’t a uniquely Swedish phenomenon, but they do highlight a new approach to the Swedish lifestyle.

The phrase villa, Volvo, vovve (detached house, Volvo car, pet dog) sums up the typical middle-class Swedish dream.

But with a housing shortage making it harder to get on the property ladder, this ambition is increasingly out of reach for many. Others are simply choosing different priorities: apartments close to city amenities, electric cars or other forms of transport, for example.

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Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to pre-order. Head to lysforlag.com/vvv to read more about it, and use the discount code VOVVELOVE (valid until October 27th) to get a 10% discount on all pre-orders.


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