"Tails" from a Professional Cat Sitter - Part One
November 21, 2013
Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Irish Beth Maddock, a very successful professional cat sitter who owns and operates Cat Care Calgary Inc. For anyone who is curious about what cat sitting is all about and who want to hear from a real pro, this is the gal!
How did you get your name anyway?
My husband came up with my business name Cat Care Calgary…oh wait, do you meant MY given name “Irish”? Well…I had hippie parents. Need I say more? Although, it is sort of a strange name seeing as I have a Kraut background. Yet my Dad used to party with the Irish Rovers in their shuffleboard Legion Days in Vancouver, BC back in the 70’s…and my brother was christened with the Gaelic name, Liam, so maybe it is not so strange. Anyway, I digress…lets get back to the cats!
What is your background with cats?
Well, I’ve been exposed to cats since birth. I come from a family that has a huge heart for animals, and any creature that lives actually. Uncle Fred was my first cat whom I colored blue with my blueberry smelly marker and I of course, groomed him like any good 4 year old would by cutting off his whiskers and giving him lopsided fur cuts. Poor Uncle Fred, but in his unconditional way, he loved me despite my misguided personal attentions to his appearance. Cat’s have just always been there for me, to offer cuddles and comfort. Since they were there for me, I will always do what I can to be there for them.
How did you become a Feline Specialist?
I took a course through The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada (PIJAC) and was awarded the title, however, having 40 years of personal experience in caring for cats, as well as my volunteer involvement with the Vernon S.P.C.A and The M.E.O.W Foundation here in Calgary (Make Each One Wanted) has been essential to my training.
What is Cat Care Calgary Inc.?
For the last 7 years, I have offered in home cat sitting services to Calgary’s Cat Lover Extraordaire’s, along with cat care / diet consultations. In the last year, I have also helped 3 women start their own cat sitting businesses. As a result, I will soon be offering another service - helping people start their own cat sitting businesses. For a nominal fee, I will help teach others how to quickly and successfully get their own cat sitting business up and going. (NOTE: This will be a wonderful opportunity for people wanting to start their own cat sitting business who need the right tools and guidance to do it. I am really excited to promote that when it becomes available!)
What is the best part about being a Professional Cat Sitter?
I love the opportunity to meet fellow cat owner’s and if they are open, to educate them on proper feline diet. Walking the journey with a fellow cat owner where their 20lb overweight cat loses a ton of weight, gets off insulin injections and then seeing their cats once again have kittenish behaviours, gives my life TOTAL meaning! The best part of being a cat sitter however is not only to meet and gain the trust of like-minded individuals who love their cats as much as I love mine, but to earn the loving trust of their kitties! The vast array of different feline personalities out there never ceases to amaze me. I still almost cry when a cat shows me its belly….what a gift it is when an animal will CHOOSE to be so vulnerable with you!
What is the worst part about being a Professional Cat Sitter?
When I inadvertently do anal glad drainage on a kitty, (a job a vet gets WELL paid to do)…well, that is always a stinky surprise. Having a non-compliant cat while trying to do subcutaneous fluid injections or other shots of any kind is not always fun either. The odd cat scratch I can handle but I’d pre “fur” not winding up in the hospital again after a cat bite gone wrong. It is very interesting seeing your arm swell up to three times its size, but not as amusing having a needle stuck in your arm for 24 hours to help clear out the infection. Next to human bites, cats rate number two in the dirty dept.
Do you have some interesting stories?
A few yes! Only once I had a cat physically stalk and attack me, (should have known something was up when they said the kitty’s name was “Thor”) but it was nothing a nearby laundry basket couldn’t help me with. I also recall going to a client’s home who forgot to inform me that they were not leaving until the next day. I cared for their cats very early in the morning and was wondering why there were still suitcases in the living room. Long story short, do not leave the door open while using the bathroom. Despite how much some cats like being serenaded…Wouldn’t recommend singing at the top of your lungs while leaving the door to the bathroom open while you are using it either. Finally…I’ll save the story about unintentionally feeding a 92 year old man a cat treat for a future post.
(Daughter Eden, Cat Care Associate-in-Training)
Who are some of your favorite cat care clients?
Well, I have too many terrific clients to count. But I do have one amazing client who, while working in the country of Yemen could not leave some strays she adopted behind, so she brought them back to Canada. I also have another great client who, while away, likes it when I call him to provide updates on how his kitty is doing. He even asks me to put the phone to his cat’s ear so he can talk to him! Kinda gives the FIDO phone company a run for their money?
(Bella Blue - Happy tripawed family member)
Watch out for PART 2 as Irish shares some helpful tips on keeping your cat happy and healthy.