They say curiosity killed the cat. Well, my curiosity groomed the cat.
My name is Jacque and I started grooming dogs in 2006. I opened my own business in 2012, PetAgree Mobile Grooming, LLC, in central North Dakota. The business has been very successful since the beginning with a long wait list of clients eager for my services. So why on earth would I walk away from a profitable business working with fuzzy, friendly pups and choose to groom the persnickety, water-hating felines who pose a legitimate danger to my safety and career? Let me share my story.
I love grooming. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to provide for my family while doing what I love. I had been grooming for so long that I felt I could do it blindfolded. However, my income had plateaued and the mental stimulation had diminished. Don’t get me wrong I love what I do, but things had become mundane and I was bored.
Furthermore, my body was taking a toll. After more than a decade of physical work twisting, turning, bending, lifting heavy dogs, and standing all day, my back was barking. The added stress on my hands from scissoring didn’t help. At this rate, my body would give out before I was able to retire.
I often wondered, where I could go from here?
As I went about my dog grooming business, I would get calls nearly every week asking if I groomed cats. I could hear the desperation in some of the callers’ voices. These cat owners were on their 10th phone call in hopes to find someone who can help. As a dog groomer, I knew it was possible to groom a cat. I just didn’t know how to get a feline to sit still long enough to be groomed without extra hands or how to get a cat to sit nicely for a bath or how to prevent a cat from giving me a career ending bite. Being a sole operator of my business I didn’t think I could help. I had to say no and I felt helpless. At one point I even agreed to a few cat grooming sessions if the owner was present to help hold their wiggly, wild creature. I quickly stopped that after one cat bit its owner to the point of blood pouring out of the wound. I felt horrible, not only was the cat half finished, but it’s owners blood was all over the kitty. So why did I continue?
As a groomer I loved learning about new techniques, products and the hottest trends. Education has always been #1 in my career. I am the expert and my clients look to me for answers. I want to give them accurate information. In my search to help the felines in my area I found the National Cat Groomers Institute (NCGI). This group had been teaching students how to successfully groom cats, WITH WATER! The end results astonished me. Was it true!? Could I, as sole operator with no extra helping hands, also achieve those same results?? I was intrigued, captivated, and extremely motivated. It was possible, I could indeed help the felines of North Dakota.
I found myself excited to be a student again. The material to learn was plentiful. I quickly learned that cats truly were a completely different animal. I had to rethink every process that I had memorized with dog grooming. I enjoyed this challenge. After learning the techniques, cats began reacting positively to me: head butts of love, biscuit kneading, and purring to let me know they felt fantastic after their bath. I really enjoyed this new cat grooming experience. It relaxes me and keeps me intrigued as I meet new cats. I get to figure out what they need to be comfortable to accomplish the best results.
As I make the switch to cats, my body also thanked me. Gone are the days of bending over a large dog, and the lift and twist onto the table, and trying to get a 45+ pound dog to stand while drying. I no longer need to try to lift dogs that are literally larger than me. Making the move has been great for my back and my bottom line.
I was enjoining things so much that I decided to become a Certified Feline Master Groomer (CFMG) and trainer/certifier. The first one in North Dakota! The information was invaluable and I wanted to be able to help others learn what I learned. I could offer a service that has not been seen in North Dakota.
By becoming a CFMG I greatly increased the number of my grooming years. I equipped myself with the proper knowledge to be successful. After 9 intense months of studying and training in 3 states, as well as passing all required tests, I learned more than just cat grooming. I became a better business owner. The information I learned is powerful. In addition to providing the necessary technical knowledge, NCGI helped me evaluate my numbers, strategy, and dreams. I have direct goals and my back is grateful. I am working smarter and not harder. Becoming a cat groomer has changed the way I groom every animal, for the better! I am no longer bored with my day to day routines.
Are you looking for a change? Do you want to do something completely different? Act today. The cats of America need you.
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