Alex Perry has changed job paths and has gone from construction worker to cat groomer. Living in Seattle, Washington, Perry worked as a housing contractor making good money because the housing market was booming. The work was grueling, but paid well. His favorite parts of the business outside the good money, was being with the guys; hanging with his buddies, but that would end come 2008 when the housing bubble began to crash and work was becoming hard to come by. And what little work they found, the pay was minimal. He was getting $12-$15 dollars per hour compared to his previous $30 (plus). Eventually Perry and his buddies decided to sell their equipment and close up shop. But what could he do instead, he wondered.
Perry sat around for 3-4 weeks trying to figure out his future. That was about as long as he could handle the lack of work and laying on the couch before he started to feel like a loser, until one day, one event put the ball in motion to set him on his next track for work and happiness.
Perry’s Silver Himalayan cat, Gizmo, just happened to take a nap in his neighbor’s oil pan while he worked on the car. She was an obvious mess and Perry knew he had to find a cat groomer. He found one and as he watched the whole process of how they worked with Gizmo, he found himself totally interested and thought, “I could do this,” even though he hadn’t heard of cat grooming until this incident.
New job grooming cats
At the time of Gizmo’s death, Perry went on a search for a new Himalayan at the Seattle Himalayan and Persian Rescue and a new prospect opened up for him. He was out of work and had no job prospects, so he began volunteering at the rescue center and learned practical lessons on cat grooming. This lead him to think “I can do this. I can groom cats.” He began at an entry level position, grooming 12-18 cats a day and says it is grueling; and comparably grueling to construction. You work at a fast pace level all day, but it’s rewarding, and he discovered that he really loved it.
One of his first experiences was with a Main Coon, also known as the Gentle Giant of the cat breeds. But this Main Coon happened to bite Perry in the beginning of his starting the job. He had noticed that the position had a very high turnover rate, with groomers leaving either on the first day, or their first week, so with the Main Coon bite right off the bat, the owner was worried it might scare him into leaving and asked him what he thought of the job. Instead, his reply was, “I love it!”
Has groomed over 40,000 cats
Today, Perry has groomed over 40,000 cats and is hooked on cat grooming. By 2015, Perry was co-owner of Cozy Cat Boarding and Grooming and he has no plans on quitting the business. He explains that the 40,000 cats are mostly the same cats coming in for repeat grooming on a regular basis, so not 40,000 different cats, but regardless, that is a lot of cat grooming.
It takes a special person to groom cats
Perry has learned that cats feed off your energy. In order to deal with the many personality types of cats, it requires someone who is calm in nature to help keep them calm and get them to cooperate. If you have a positive, calm and quiet personality and energy about you, you will get better results and connections with the cats.
Perry has a trick and technique he likes to use to calm the cats down. He wraps them in a Microsoft towel and then a regular little towel, to make a “Purr-ritto.” He says that this settles the cats down and makes it easier to work with them.
Perry claims that he finally found his calling and feels like finally, he is able to do something he loves and get paid for it. It also pays enough that he is able to maintain his lifestyle, so all the bonuses you’d hope for in a job.
Perry says he still gets asked the age-old question, “How do you bathe a cat?” His answer? “Quickly!”