Animal attendant

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Kathy, 30s

Kathy, who has been an animal attendant for eight years, started off working in boarding kennels, and now owns and runs her own business, Longford Cattery. From a very young age Kathy knew that a career with animals would be for her. She has always had a strong affinity with animals and a very patient nature.

What's a typical work day involve?

Although the day to day work is basically the same, Kathy believes that a career in animal attending can be quite challenging and also very rewarding. "It's great when customers come back to collect their cats after holidays away, and the cats are all relaxed and happy, as though they haven't even noticed that they have been boarded."

What's the best thing about the job?

Kathy says, if you're an animal lover like she is, you will get a lot of satisfaction out of caring for the animals: "We treat the boarding cats like our own companions. We play quiet music in the background, have lavender oil burning and make them feel as relaxed as possible." In fact, sometimes Kathy has customers who want to book in themselves!

And the worst?

But the work isn't always enjoyable: "The job is really dirty and quite daunting when you're faced with unfriendly animals!" says Kathy. The daily duties include sweeping, sanitising, mopping, replacing dirty kitty litter, changing the bedding and bowls, and putting in new food and clean water. There's also hugging and patting the cats, water checks throughout the day, banking and paperwork, checking for ticks or abscesses on the cats and all this is constantly carried out until night time before retiring to bed.

Kathy says, "We do so much cleaning, you would never fully realize the amount of time we spend making the place spotless. And that's what the people see, just how clean it is."

She adds, "But, at 6:30am when I wake up and go in to clean the units, it sometimes looks like the cats have been having a party, with kitty litter everywhere and water spilt all over the floors."

What sort of career opportunities are there?

Kathy believes that the experience gained from being an animal attendant can be a good starting point if you are wanting to get into veterinary nursing, or even running your own cattery or kennel.

Before you consider a career in animal attending, Kathy offers the following advice. "Anyone who thinks that working in a cattery or kennel is just about patting and feeding animals will be very disillusioned when coming into this industry. Make sure you have a strong affinity with animals, good customer service skills and an eye for detail before considering work as an animal attendant."

Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (new window) (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).