I still vividly remember the moment, almost 25 years ago, when I decided that I wanted to work with cats. Well, maybe “deciding” is too strong a word for what happened in that moment. I was sitting in my living room on a Sunday afternoon. Feebee was purring away in my lap. I looked around all the cat stuff on my shelves, the cat paintings on the wall, the cat book I was reading. I was dreading going back to my corporate job the next day. And I found myself thinking “how cool would it be to get to work with something related to cats!”
Shortly afterwards, I began working part time at a veterinary hospital, doing everything from cleaning cages to answering phones to assisting with surgeries. A few years later, I quit my corporate job and managed a veterinary clinic for eight years. Then I started my Reiki business, and in 2008, I began writing full time. And I really believe it all started with that “how cool would it be” thought all those years ago. It took a lot of hard work, and some luck, to get where I am today, but I’m here to tell you that there really is truth in the statement “do what you love, the money will follow.”
If you have dreams of turning your love for cats into a career, here are a few options for you:
Becoming a veterinarian requires a bachelor’s degree heavy on science courses, followed by a 4-year doctorate of veterinary medicine program. With an increasing number of feline only practices opening around the country, there are exciting opportunities for cat loving veterinarians.
Veterinary assistant or technician
Veterinary assistants and technicians assist veterinarians with duties ranging from running laboratory tests, preparing cats for surgery or other procedures, assisting with examinations, and more. Veterinary technicians are licensed in most states. In order to become a licensed technician, you will need to complete a 2-year college program in veterinary technology. The programs are available at colleges throughout the country, and some can even be taken online. Veterinary assistants usually receive on the job training.
Do you like the idea of working in a veterinary hospital, but aren’t sure about the hands on aspects of the work? If you’re good at working with people, veterinary receptionist may be the purrfect job for you. You’ll be greeting clients and their furry family members, scheduling appointments, as well as handling multiple administrative duties.
Veterinary hospital manager
Managing a veterinary clinic requires multiple skill sets, including human resources management, financial management, client relation skills, and more. You may not have as much interaction with cats as you do in other jobs inside a veterinary hospital, but you’ll be using your skills to help cats and their guardians.
Becoming a cat sitter requires minimal start up money, but it does require a significant level of commitment. While it will allow you to spend your days taking care of cats, you’ll also be a business owner, and that means you’ll need to do marketing, bookkeeping, scheduling, and hiring and training staff once your business grows. You will be working weekends and holidays, and you will need to be able to get to your feline clients no matter how bad the weather may be.
Cat behaviorists work with cats and their guardians to identify and correct behavior problems. This career requires an in depth knowledge of cats. Formal training and certification is available through organizations such as the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. This profession will require more than just a love of cats, you also have to genuinely want to understand and help people. In many cases, feline behavior problems require educating the cat’s human and helping them change their behavior.
Most groomers focus on dogs, and good cat groomers can be hard to find. Cat grooming doesn’t just require a thorough knowledge of grooming procedures (often obtained at a professional grooming school,) but also require a genuine understanding of feline behavior.
Working with cats doesn’t have to be a dream. Explore the possibilities, research options online, and reach out to professionals who hold the position you’re interested in. Embarking on a career with cats will require hard work and dedication, but the rewards are immeasurable.