My name is Nancy Howard. I’ve been working with cats for over 25 years. The beginning of this career was focused on rescue work. In 2000, in response to the lack of space for displaced feral cats, I opened The Sanctuary at Hidden Creek Ranch. It is a 5000 sq ft outdoor enclosed space for unadoptable cats. Our current population is just over 120 cats.
The last 18 years have been all about the business of cats. While working for a high-end pet store in the Seattle area, I began learning about cat nutrition. I attended many classes taught by a wide variety of people, from veterinarians to manufacturers to scientists and more. Over time I was able to extrapolate from what I learned, and from that my mission was born. My initial objective was to be able to see and understand the world from the cat’s perspective so that I could help prevent unnecessary shelter surrenders. Once I started doing that, I realized that there is a solid, indisputable link between nutrition and behavior.
In 2013 I decided to branch out on my own in order to make this the foundation for my business. And so The Whole Cat and Kaboodle was born. I opened my first store in May of 2013. The space was small – 600 sq ft. We offered grooming, boarding, nutrition, behavior modification and adoptions. This was a lot to fit into such a small space, but it was a scalable concept. Within two years we had outgrown this space. Our next store was 1000 sq ft. We were able to expand our retail offerings as well as our boarding space and grooming hours. But we quickly outgrew that space as well.
Businesses that cater solely to cats are rare. We are one of just six cat-only boarding facilities in the area, and one of only four cat-only groomers. There are no other businesses in our state that offer such complete and comprehensive services and products for cats. That is why we are seen as a true resource for cat owners.
In 2017 we were finally able to move to a space big enough to accommodate our cat lounge/adoption center, where we currently adopt out approximately 300 cats per year. Our focus is on hard-to-place cats. Over 80% of the cats we take in require some type of rehabilitation. This is an extremely important part of our business as it allows us to practice our craft in its most challenging form. We believe in the nutrition-behavior link and are able to resolve more than half of the health and behavioral challenges just with this one change. For cats who require extra help, we utilize veterinary care, as well as the help of a reiki/massage/energy master and animal communicator. The information gleaned from successful (and unsuccessful) rehabilitations allow us to help our customers even more.
Our program has been successful enough to have garnered attention from other shelters and rescue organizations. I am frequently asked to speak at events for both employees and cat owners. We intend to continue to expand this sphere of influence.