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Making money by teaching cats to use the toilet

Rebecca Rescate, Citi Kitty
Source: Liza Hughes | CNBC
Rebecca Rescate, Citi Kitty

Rebecca Rescate had a terrible problem. She only had one bathroom, which was nowhere near enough to accommodate her needs and those of her cats. So she created Citi Kitty, a toilet-training product for her feline family members, and after bringing it on "Shark Tank," she walked out with a deal with Kevin Harrington.

"The night Citi Kitty aired on 'Shark Tank' was insane," she said. "I was not prepared for it. We had over 20,000 website hits in four hours. Fortunately the website stayed up, and that night we did 1,900 unit sales in four hours."

Source: CitiKitty

The experience had a powerful impact on the product that went beyond sales figures. When episode was taped, panelist Barbara Corcoran took one look at the box and said that it didn't explain how the thing actually worked.

"As soon as I got home, I looked at the packaging, and you know what? She was right," Rescate said. "It didn't explain it well and I changed my packaging from it. And it's better packaging from that immediate feedback." After that, she was able to focus on her future as an entrepreneur.

"I am super passionate about problem-solving products under $30," she said. "So after I filmed the show, I was struggling to try to come up with other cat products. And really, it's not that I'm this crazy passionate cat owner; it's that I want to sell problem-solving products, which is exactly what Citi Kitty is."

She attributed her "Shark Tank" success to three things—practice, practice and more practice.

"The reason I did so well on 'Shark Tank' is because I've done over 100 radio interviews with radio stations across the country asking me outrageous questions about cat toilet training," she said. "So there was no way to get me off my game when you asked me a question about cats going to the bathroom in the toilet."

—By Liza Hughes, Special to CNBC.com. Follow Liza @Liza_Hughes

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Meet the Sharks

  • Mark is the highly successful entrepreneur and investor who founded HDNet, Broadcast.com and MicroSolutions.

  • Barbara Corcoran parlayed a $1,000 loan into a five-billion-dollar real estate business.

  • Lori Greiner started with one idea and turned it into a multi-million dollar international brand.