Careers for Cat Lovers

cat-vet

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:

Veterinarian

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.

Veterinary receptionist

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.

Cat sitter

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 behaviorist

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.

Cat groomer

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.

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13 Comments on Careers for Cat Lovers

  1. Eileen
    June 1, 2017 at 6:44 pm (6 months ago)

    Great post! Just wondering if anyone knows of any on-line Vet Assistant schools.

    Reply
  2. Darlene Ehlers
    June 1, 2017 at 1:13 pm (6 months ago)

    I’ve been a cat sitter for almost 20 years and couldn’t be happier with my choice of profession. Love your newsletters!!!

    Reply
  3. Bill Eckardt
    June 1, 2017 at 9:41 am (6 months ago)

    Cats have been part of my life for over fifty years. My first was Maxwell a Siamese that would let our parakeet sit on his back. Then came Anthony and Cleopatra or Tony and Pat for short a brother and sister Siamese. After that it was Fuzzy that magnificent Persian followed by Calico Chloe who never stopped purring, and now I have the pleasure of sharing my life with Liddi, a Torti with lots of “torttitude”.

    Reply
  4. Rachelle
    June 1, 2017 at 8:27 am (6 months ago)

    After 20 years in the engineering field, I decided that my dream to work with animals should be a reality. I am in my second semester of vet tech school – part time while continuing to work full time. My plan is to quit my job in early 2018 and increase my class load and hopefully work part time in a small animal clinic. I am loving the classes so far! And realizing that you are never too old to follow your dream. 🙂

    Reply
    • anne bossert
      November 10, 2017 at 3:32 pm (2 weeks ago)

      I have a similar plan. I have been teaching French for 23 years and 2018 is the year I want to go towards animals. I agree it is never too late.

      Reply
  5. Sue Brandes
    June 1, 2017 at 8:20 am (6 months ago)

    Great post.

    Reply
  6. Janine
    June 1, 2017 at 8:17 am (6 months ago)

    This is great advice. I have been searching for something but worry that at my age it will be hard to break into a career.

    Reply
    • Aldona
      June 1, 2017 at 8:23 am (6 months ago)

      Not sure how old you are, but I was 39 (now 40) when I opted to go into cat sitting. I know many sitters that changed careers when they were quite a bit older than me! I have yet to take the leap from my day job but soon… only downside with cats only with pet sitting for me is that you’re dependent on people traveling!! People that do dog walking, etc, have daily clients.

      Reply
    • Rachelle
      June 1, 2017 at 8:31 am (6 months ago)

      I’m 44 and started vet tech school this year after 20 years in a totally different field. It was a little hard juggling school and work at first, but I don’t regret it and am looking forward to quitting my current job and working at a clinic.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        June 3, 2017 at 5:28 am (6 months ago)

        I always love hearing about people following their bliss. Good luck to you in your new chosen field, Rachelle!

        Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 3, 2017 at 5:29 am (6 months ago)

      I was in my 40’s when I started to make my changes, Janine. It’s never too late!

      Reply
  7. Aldona
    June 1, 2017 at 8:10 am (6 months ago)

    Oh my, I wish I could tell you how much this post resonates with me, especially the part where you realized what you had to do with your life in regards to working with cats. I felt that way after my cat Lucky had renal failure. I still remember sitting there, on a conference call, wondering “Why am I doing this?” I was taking care of a sick cat that needed me, and that felt like the most important thing in the world. He passed away not long after, and six months later, his sister Sara got sick and ultimately died as well. That kinda solidified things for me.

    Two months (almost to the day) after Sara died, that’s the day I laid down the foundation for my own cat sitting business. It’ll be a year old at the end of this month. My goal is to do it full time ultimately but not quite there yet. I also work with cats that have special needs, so if they need meds or subqs, I don’t turn them down. I know how it is to have been in their position so want to make sure they know their babies are in the best care.

    And Reiki, that’s awesome! There was a lady that did Reiki on Sara (all the way from Colorado) when she got sick. She didn’t charge, and I figured why not. I honestly think it did help for awhile, she just decided she’d had enough when the time came. No amount of anything can change that. I’ve contemplated getting certified as a cat behaviorist but that takes $$$$ lol.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 3, 2017 at 5:31 am (6 months ago)

      Congratulations for following your bliss, Aldona!

      Reply

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