The 20 Best Jobs and Businesses for Cat People
If you've read about how Grumpy Cat made $100 million for his owners, you know following your feline friends around with a video camera could make you rich.
Of course, cats don't always cooperate. When I tried to make a funny short film with our cats, they flubbed their lines and refused to follow the script. I dropped the project and went back to entertaining them and building more cat condos (their plan all along I think).
Yes, it seems my wife and I make money for our cats rather than from them. But fortunately, if you love everything feline, you have many other ways to cash in on your passion. Here are 20 of the best jobs and businesses for cat lovers.
1. Write About Cats
If you have cats, you have stories to tell, and maybe some advice to offer. Why not write a book? ("Jack the Vomiting Cat" would be my title.)
A quick search of Amazon.com for books about cats turns up thousands of results, and some of those books are doing very well. It costs nothing but your time to self-publish books this way; for example, here’s how I made money with Kindle books about backpacking and other topics.
2. Be a Cat Groomer
You won't make big money grooming cats, but the jobs are out there. PetGroomer.com even has a page that lists just pet groomer jobs. You can click on a state to see what's available near you.
Of course, you'll probably have to groom dogs too (and sometimes other animals), but you might make it known that you specialize in cats. To make more money, use your job as training for starting a pet-grooming business of your own.
3. Invent Cat Products
I took a remote-controlled car and made it into a remote-controlled feather spinner. The cats loved it. I also created a new kind of cat-door to allow access to our screened patio.
I haven't cashed in on any of my cat inventions yet, but you can see what others have done on websites like CatDancer.com. You can sell your products directly online or license them to toy and pet product companies.
4. Sell Cat Toys
If you don't want the risk and struggles of inventing, just sell toys that are already proven to be popular with cats. For an idea of what sells, check out all of the cat toys for sale on eBay. If you find a good wholesale supplier, you can also use Fulfillment by Amazon to sell your goods. Some people have even had success selling used pet toys.
5. Become a Veterinarian
Working as a vet is perhaps the best way to create a steady income from your love of cats. Just specialize in cats -- there are many cat hospitals across the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says the median wage for veterinarians is $84,460.
On the other hand, the cost of getting there is high; veterinary students average about $160,000 in student debt upon graduation, according to IWantToBeAVeterinarian.org.
6. Become a Veterinary Technologist or Technician
Vet techs work under a licensed veterinarian doing medical tests to help diagnose illnesses and injuries. A technician needs a two-year associate’s degree, and a technologist needs a four-year bachelor's degree, but the BLS lumps the two positions together statistically, and shows the median annual wage for vet techs at $30,290. Presumably the four-year degree gets you more than that.
The BLS says employment for these jobs is expected to grow "much faster than the average for all occupations."
7. Become a Veterinary Assistant
Vet assistants work in vet offices, animal hospitals and even research laboratories. You assist the vet with whatever needs to be done. Again, choose a cat hospital if you want to work just with cats.
The median annual wage for veterinary assistants is just $23,130, but the good news is that you may already qualify for these jobs. The BLS notes that, "Most veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers have a high school diploma and learn on the job."
8. Be a Cat Behaviorist
Are you good with cats? Do you want to help people deals with their cats' issues? Become a cat behaviorist. You can learn much of what you need to know online. You don’t necessarily need certification, but you can get it for as little as $125. You can charge up to $100 per hour for in-home and telephone consultations.
9. Grow and Sell Catnip
Growing your own catnip can save you money supplying your own cat's habit (we have two plants going at the moment). But if you're good at it you can also turn it into a business. Just read a guide to growing catnip and become a catnip farmer. You can sell packages of dried leaves to pet product suppliers or sell the plants to cat owners online, as some growers do.
10. Build Cat Enclosures
People spend thousands of dollars for cat habitats that allow their beloved pets to go outside without the dangers of running free. Building cat enclosures can be a great business, whether you do it onsite or make smaller units that customers can install in a window. My wife and I once paid a company to cat-proof our entire backyard to prevent escapes.
11. Build Cat Furniture
I've built at least 10 pieces of cat furniture; our guys particularly like the pieces with hiding places and high platforms. Although I haven't tried to make a business of it, I have sold a couple of my "cat condos" at rummage sales.
Use free ads on Craigslist if you're starting a cat furniture business on a shoestring budget. Of course, have your cats test all of your designs.
12. Be a Cat Massage Therapist
Our cats love neck and head massages, and if we had more income, we might pay for someone to help out with that when we're busy. I've previously written about how to become a pet massage therapist, and there is no reason you can't specialize in cats. Some regions don’t have any licensing requirements, but you can review a chart of animal massage laws by state to see what you'll need to do where you're located.
13. Start a Cat-Sitting Business
We recently found a great cat sitter who will stay the night with our guys for $50, but some pet sitters get as much as $100 per night. To become a pet sitter you don't need to be licensed, but it helps to be certified and buy liability insurance. You can specialize in cats and charge by the visit (typically $20 for 20 to 30 minutes) and for overnight stays.
14. Work in an Animal Shelter
The median annual wage for "nonfarm animal caretakers" is just $19,690, but employment in this area is expected to grow faster than average, so you can probably find a job. And animal shelters do have positions with higher pay. The Humane Society jobs page lets you search by job categories, which include administration, animal control, vet tech, humane education and adoptions.
15. Start a Cat Cafe
Although they are more popular in Asia, cat cafes are coming to America. There are two basic types. In the first, customers pay a cover charge to bring their cats into a nice environment for exploration and play, with cat snacks and drinks included. The second type has a lower cover charge but sells food and drink. So far only a few major cities have cat cafes, but some of them have been very successful, so it might be time to bring one to your hometown.
16. Start a Pet Funeral Home
If you love cats and are good with people, you might do well helping pet owners deal with the loss of their cats and dogs. As a pet funeral director you arrange visitations and other memorial services, and help prepare cats and dogs for burial or cremation.
17. Be a Cat Photographer
Our cats are our children, and many cat owners feel the same way, so they're willing to pay for many of the same things as they would for their kids. That includes professional photographs.
Pet photographers charge fees of up to $175 for an initial session, and then charge for additional prints. You can start on your own or buy into a pet photography franchise.
18. Be a Cat Videographer
You could expand your cat photography business to include being a videographer for cat owners. But putting your videos on YouTube has more potential for making really big money. Ideally you want shots of the cat doing something hilarious or adorable. I'm not sure if Jack's vomiting in a thousand different places qualifies, but maybe I'll get the camera out.
19. Become an Animal Cruelty Investigator
If you want to protect cats (and other pets), and you like the idea of being a detective, you might do well as an animal cruelty investigator. You will see many mistreated and miserable animals, so this can be difficult work emotionally. Your potential employers include local governments, law enforcement agencies and animal shelters. InsideJobs.com puts the salary range between $20,000 and $52,000 per year.
20. Become a Pet Detective
It has to be pretty satisfying to reunite a cat with its owner. That will be your most common goal when you work as a pet detective. You can also help clients set up video monitoring to protect their pets in the future.
Your Turn: Have you had any of these cat-lover jobs and businesses, and do you know of any others to add to the list?
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Steve Gillman is the author of "101 Weird Ways to Make Money" and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He's been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).