From time to time we hear from someone who muses “I’d love to work with animals like you do.” We’ve got a grand idea for you! Meet Patty White and hear the story of a professional cat groomer who makes housecalls.
Back in the day Patty White was a computer systems analyst. It was rewarding and challenging work which she enjoyed. She was going to stick it out until retirement. But what to do next?
When the book The Natural Cat came out, Patty read it from cover to cover. She was particularly impressed with author Anitra Frazier’s chapter on cat grooming and stories of her life in New York City as a professional cat groomer. Viola! That was IT! Patty knew that when she retired she would become a professional cat groomer. Patty firmly believed that making house calls was the way to go because cats don’t travel well and a trip to a salon for grooming would be traumatic.
For 10 years Patty dreamed of the retirement day. When it finally came she had already sought out the finest training she could find. It was one-on-one training with a master cat and dog groomer. It wasn’t easy getting to her instructor, but Patty wouldn’t settle for second rate training – and it shows in her skills! The groomer was the same sort of compassionate perfectionist Patty is.
Once Patty was qualified, the referrals from the clients at Especially Cats, a veterinary practice in San Francisco completely devoted to cats, poured in. Patty now spends her days going from home to home grooming cats of all ages, sizes, and fur types. Best of all for Patty, she’s booked weeks in advance.
Before Patty enters our home she has already completely changed her clothes for the health and wellbeing of the next cat she works on. Upon arrival, she lays out her own equipment and tools. If we’ve asked her to bathe a cat, she’s got her drier, water hose for the kitchen sink water faucet, and towels. She likes to sit on the floor holding the cat by a sunny spot near a window for good lighting. She puts a plastic bag on the floor, a clean sheet on top of it, sits down and then begins her gentle grooming, de-matting, nail trimming and whatever the modern housecat might need to look good and feel good.
We’ll hear her softly say to the cats “ooooooh you know Auntie Patty loves you, you hold still for Auntie Patty, Auntie Patty is going to make you look gorgeous.” The cats love it!
One of the benefits of having your cat professionally combed and brushed is that sometimes your groomer will detect something amiss with the cat – perhaps the lack of luster in the cat’s fur is a sign of illness, or the groomer might feel a mass or lumps.
When the grooming session is over, Patty completely cleans up after herself, not a single bit of fur remains on the floor. She hands over the fur she combed out of the cats and we toss it into the composter.
So if you find yourself staring at a cubicle wall thinking that you’d like to do something more meaningful, take inspiration from Patty White. Get the best training you can find, and read everything on cat behavior and anatomy. It’s wonderful to make living doing something you are good at and love!