Money for Nothing

I followed a professional cat whisperer for a day—here's how much money we made pampering spoiled cats

When I saw an ad on Craigslist looking to hire cat whisperers, I knew I had to give this gig a shot. So I called up Pawfect Day, the New York City-based pet-sitting company hiring caretakers for cats who demand the royal treatment.

I grew up with two cats, Oreo and Howard, and know the ins and outs of how to keep a cat alive. But what separates an ordinary cat-sitter from a cat whisperer?

According to Pawfect Day CEO Jacqueline Rivera, it’s a cat whisperer’s ability to acknowledge the superiority of cats to humans. “I think cats believe they should be held on a pedestal and we are there to serve them. And we are. We are pretty much their servants,” Rivera said.

Cat whisperers recognize the superiority of cats to humans.
CNBC
Cat whisperers recognize the superiority of cats to humans.

Serving cats “the way they deserve to be served” involves thinking outside the box, Rivera said. “If they’re hungry, we’re giving them food. And sometimes they won’t like the kibble. Maybe we didn’t serve it to their liking. So we’ll add a little gravy to the kibble. We try different things. We go out of our way. We’re creative.”

Rivera herself used to work as a writer and a translator, but ultimately she decided she was happier serving cats than humans. Her company also works with dogs, birds and exotic animals.

At Pawfect Day, serving cats pays $17.50 per hour. Clients can sign up for one-hour or half-hour sessions, and the half-hour ones are the most popular, Rivera said. Clients pay $35 for a one-hour visit and $25 for a half hour.

Jacqueline Rivera is the CEO of Pawfect Day, which is hiring cat whisperers.
CNBC
Jacqueline Rivera is the CEO of Pawfect Day, which is hiring cat whisperers.
"I think cats believe they should be held on a pedestal and we are there to serve them. And we are." -Jacqueline Rivera, Pawfect Day CEO

Curious, I shadowed professional cat whisperer Melissa Rendon for a day. The 32-year-old doesn’t just pamper cats for a living. She also serves humans at a restaurant, walks dogs and models.

We visited three cats on the Upper East Side for one hour each. Watch the video for Rendon’s expert tips and tricks on how to make the spoiled cats of New York City happy. And don’t miss her secrets on how to maximize your income as a cat whisperer.

Melissa Rendon is a professional cat whisperer, dog walker, server and model.
CNBC
Melissa Rendon is a professional cat whisperer, dog walker, server and model.