Monday, February 4, 2013

Do what you 'LOVE'

Recently, a reader contacted me and asked why I started my cat-sitting business.
I wanted to answer in a line or two but that wouldn't work for me so my apologies for the length of this post.

Working full-time as a cat-sitter did not come easily as I seemed to venture into many small businesses before realizing that owning a cat-sitting service was my 'cup of tea.'
Years back, when I was still home with my children, I started caring for friends' cats as they travelled. We had cats of our own and I had always been involved in cat-rescue with our local shelter so cat-sitting came quite naturally. With time, my name was passed around and I found myself providing care for friends of friends' cats. Then, one day, someone asked if I would care for a dog. I knew nothing about dogs but I did take on the challenge and found that dogs were absolutely delightful. It was around that time that I adopted our dog, Kane from Belleville Shelter. Before long,  I started a small business called Comfy Cats and Pampered Pups Pet-sitting Service. For four years I enjoyed this little part-time business. We all know how dogs love biscuits, and before I knew it, I was baking little treats for all my charges. These little treats were packed with good, healthy ingredients and had no chemicals or preservatives added. The owners were amazed at how the dogs loved these little bags of treats that I would leave them and soon were asking if I would sell them. So, I started baking the biscuits called Pampered Pups Pastries, packaging them and selling them to my clients. I then approached a local store to see if they would carry them and they were very interested. I left the biscuits on a shelf on consignment and they sold very well. My new business called Pampered Pups Pastries was born.
Before long, I was so busy with the baking, packaging and delivering of biscuits that I had to find someone to take over the pet-sitting service for the local dogs. I was up to 30 stores that needed their shelves filled on a regular basis and I couldn't be home baking and dog-walking at the same time. I did decide to continue caring for the cats as they required only one or two visits daily. I know now that another reason I didn't find a pet-sitter for the cats was because I was just too darn attached to them.

Pampered Pups Pastries kept me busy for eight years.
I had one other baker and the retired-guy (who was still working at the time) did most of the deliveries as I continued to do the majority of the shopping, baking, packaging and advertising of the company. The company grew in leaps and bounds.

After seven years I started to feel that something wasn't right and my heart and soul were not in the business anymore. Something told me that I was on the wrong path. I found that when I was busy with the biscuit business I was becoming very discouraged and disinterested. I'm normally a very calm, happy person but I was beginning to not recognize myself anymore. After closing up the kitchen for the day,  I would head out to the homes where I was caring for cats and I could feel myself come alive again and feel happy when I was with them. I knew that THIS was the right business for me. I just needed to keep building it.
I decided to sell the biscuit business, and while waiting for a buyer, I began to work on building the cat-sitting service. I named it Just Cats and within a few months I had doubled the number of homes that needed cat-care. Leaving my cards with our local vet clinics and pet stores was the best thing I did. By Oct. 2010, the dog-biscuit business sold. I felt happy, relieved and excited to put 100% of myself into cat-care. I have never regretted making that decision. Not once have I looked back.

So, I always tell people to do what they love because eventually the need to do that will be all-consuming. It will hunt you down. They say that what we do as a hobby is actually what we should be doing as a business. You should start small, part-time and take baby-steps. It might take a long time to get there; I was in my 50's when I realized what I should be doing with my time; but that's ok. Timing is important, too.

Hope that answers your question.

hugs, Deb



  1. What a great story....of how you followed your heart!

  2. What an excellant post, Deb. Thank you so much for completeness of the story - that was important! It is all very helpful. I think this is going to speak to many of your readers on lots of different levels.
    Blessings upon you as you keep on doing what you are meant to do!
    Lily, WA, USA

  3. Wonderful post ! Our hobby/ business is photography it is starting slow but like you word has got out through friends photos have been seen and ordered and our horse club we belong to as their photographers is getting on it's way ! Nothing like doing what you love and making a few bucks at it ! Have a great day !

  4. What a great success story...I can see the love for cats in every word.

    And some great advice Deb, thanks.


  5. What a great story! We know those kitties are very lucky you're there to take care of them.

  6. Yup, I totally get why you did what you did.
    I found my passion at Crazy as a Loom, and thought I would be doing it for the rest of my life.
    Then I fell and hit my head, and had brain surgery.
    Now I don't know anymore.
    Some days I go there, and I feel that same I am no longer sure I belong there.
    I am giving it time,and giving myself time to heal.
    But I can't honestly say that I know what direction I'm headed in anymore.
    Nice post.

    1. Time will tell, Hilary. There might be something wonderful ahead for you.

  7. I enjoyed reading this. Cats have always been a big part of my life. I can relate to your pleasure as you go around to your various feline clients, getting to know them as individuals.

  8. The road to success is rarely a straight line. Obviously, you wanted to work with animals and I'm glad you found your niche. So are all the lucky cats that have you for their sitter!

  9. I loved reading this story of your path to the The Cats. Good advice too! Kudos to you for all your hard work. The cats are very blessed to have such a sweet, caring lady to care for them. You are truly inspiring.

  10. Wow you write well! I just love cat stories! Keep up the good work!
    Chief Editor
    Universal Cats

  11. I wish you lived closer! I'd hire you in a minute to be my cat sitter. :)