When people find out that I started Tales of the Kitty and it’s “a real business,” I always get asked some variation of “Did you ever think…?” Did I ever think I’d have employees? Did I ever think it would be “this big”? Did I ever think I’d still be doing this, 17 years (technically 19 if you count the two years I did this part-time before starting Tales of the Kitty) later? My answer is always, “I didn’t think anything.”
I started helping my petsitter in 2001, and when The Federal Reserve Bank announced they needed to reduce headcount in my department by one, I jumped at the chance to do something different. I thought it would be more fun—and rewarding—taking care of cats than sitting in a cubicle, often times doing nothing – but having to be there because someone had to be there. I’ve always been social so getting to meet lots of humans who adored cats, and knowing that I’d be helping them as well, was another motivator.
I wish I could remember the name of the very first kitty I visited, Kitty Visit #1. While I know all my numbers, back then I kept my schedule on a Palm Pilot (remember those?!) and it is long gone. I do know that Cappy, Nicole’s kitty, was very early on. I vividly remember meeting with her to go over Cappy’s care. She had quite literally just moved here. There were boxes everywhere and on the first visit it took me quite a while to find Cappy. He was hiding behind the stove. He always was a master at hiding. My favorite spot he ever got himself into (literally) was when he managed to get into her duvet cover and go under the comforter—he couldn’t figure out how to get back out. After I stopped laughing, I helped him escape. That was one hiding place he didn’t use again, at least not with me.
I have so many incredible cat stories, most wonderful, some exceptionally sad. One thing being a catsitter does is open your heart to so many more wonderful kitties and part of that includes, over the years, many losses. I always say it wouldn’t hurt so much if there wasn’t so much love, and I’d rather have love—and the pain of loss—than not.
Flash forward 16 years to 2019. I’m still visiting kitties but now it’s not just me—Nicole and I have built quite a team/family of exceptional cat lovers. When I realized that we were coming up on visit 100,000, I was shocked and stunned. And excited! Reviewing the schedule to see when that visit would happen, it turned out that it would be on December 22, 2019. Early Merry Christmas to us! Of course, I thought it would be something special if I did that visit but I wasn’t going to try to rig the schedule to make it happen. We started that day with visit 99,940, Scott visiting Rumi. All my sitters were texting me as they arrived at each visit—sending me a photo so we could keep a running count going on social media. When we got to 99,997, I was still out doing visits and realized that the timing might be right for me to actually do visit 100,000. As I headed to my next visit a text came in from Doug—he had just arrived at Lil’ Hambone, visit 99,998. Then a text from Nicole, she was visiting Gus and Remy, visit 99,999. I parked for my next visit—crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t get another text in the next few minutes. I walked in the door to visit Bear and Monkey—visit 100,000! It was a really emotional moment for me. In a way it wasn’t a big deal—the cats certainly didn’t celebrate when I told them. Bear (who is very shy) wouldn’t even come out to celebrate with Monkey and me. When I think about it though, it really is incredible. 100,000 visits. We are so fortunate to know—and have known—so many incredible kitties and their humans. To be a part of their lives, to grow to love and care for them. I can’t put into words how special this is to me.
Did I think I’d still be doing this all these years later? No, I didn’t. Then again, I didn’t really think all that far ahead. I thought I’d do this for a little while and then figure out what I “really” wanted to do. And here I am, all these years later. Seems what I really wanted to do found me.