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The Upward Journey

It’s always hard to be a pioneer. On the one hand you have the ability to establish a field that was not very well known and hardly established. On the other hand, you do a lot of explaining to those not familiar with this field of work. What I am talking about is cat grooming. Yes, professional cat groomers do exist. But in the year 2000 when I started I had never heard of another cat groomer. I had no one to bounce ideas off of, no one to nurse my wounds when I would get scratched, in other words I felt very alone. The only thing I had in common with dog groomers were clients. The good, the bad, and the ugly, but mostly good! A cat grooming salon is quiet. No barking dogs, no hiking up of back legs, no leashes required. It is a serene, spa like atmosphere where only cats go. We are professional cat groomers. Do not try this at home! The first cat groomer I encountered was in 2008, and I could not wait to meet her and see how she does things, hear her stories and find out all about her work.

One of the benefits of working alone with cats for so many years was that I had no one to call for help. I created ways of handling cats on my own. I needed to get the job done so I became very creative. I developed methods and procedures that I have never seen anyone else use to this day. As hard as it was, I learned a lot. I came out of the cat show world where I thought all cats just behaved! Not so. Some need convincing and that takes work. The more a cat gets groomed, the more trust and confidence they gain. You also become bonded to these guys as well, almost like a distant relative. I have know some cats for 17 years. I saw them as youngsters until they passed on. I will never forget them. They really touch your heart.

Now that brings me to franchising. I feel like I have come full circle. A cat grooming franchise? There are several dog related franchises out there but cat grooming? So franchise brokers are a bit baffled. Intrigued but baffled. They wonder if you can actually make a living at this stuff. The answer is a resounding yes! You make your own hours, close down when you want or need to, and create a beautiful atmosphere for cats. You create friendships over the years with these cat’s families that are endearing.

But once again I feel like I am on an island, trying to convince  franchise brokers that this is a great idea. I sold my salon last year as a franchise and it is working great. I want to get more salons across the nation as this is a business that is needed in so many cities. Did you know there are more cats in households now than dogs? So doesn’t it make sense that services and products for cats are on an upswing? It’s not just a dog’s world anymore.

But when I see the “deer caught in the headlights look” it takes me back to 2000 where if I had a dollar for every time I heard, “Don’t cats clean themselves?”, I would be a rich woman. I realize that this is a field that is just now catching on, but just because you are not bonded with a cat does not mean this does not make sense people! Cat grooming is a viable profession. Owning a successful grooming salon takes savvy, just like all the other attributes it takes to make a small business successful. Someone once told me that, “Integrity never fails.” I have followed that motto every day. The money followed. But if I was not passionate about these felines I would not have been successful.

My gut tells me this endeavor will work. But I still have times of discouragement and doubt, just like in the beginning. This photo means a lot to me. It’s what I live by every day, when that small doubt tries to creep in.

Integrity in my field means providing a service in communities and educating cat owners on how to take better care of their feline friend. Subjects such as behavior, diet, health issues, palliative and hospice care. It’s not about trying to be well known or successful, because I know from my experience from the very beginning what works. Integrity never fails. 

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