Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the March/April 2016 issue of Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.
The Cat Connection is more than a regular pet supply store: The Dallas store fashions itself a retail lifestyle center dedicated to the health and well-being of cats. It provides feline boarding and grooming services in addition to carrying a big inventory of cat products, high-quality cat food, and other gifts and supplies.
As co-owner, Errin West is makes a difference in the lives of countless cats. She and her team at the store offer ways to help people care for their cats throughout the cat’s entire lifetime. West, co-owner Priscilla Rodriguez, and other staffers build relationships with the people and the cats. The other owner is
The path leading Errin to her dream job was pretty straightforward. She started working at The Cat Connection in 2005 as a way to get her cat fix, because her husband was terribly allergic. She worked her way around the different departments, getting to know the ins and outs of the business, and in 2012, when the original owners approached Errin and Priscilla (also an employee at the time) about taking over the business, it was a perfect fit. The pair already had a passion for the business and their customers that would be hard to find in another buyer.
As for Errin’s husband’s allergy, he had to find a way to manage it, because Errin couldn’t resist bringing home some cats. Five of their furry family members actually were abandoned at the store, and three others came from local rescue groups and shelters.
Being around cats and cat products all the time, Errin has become quite the expert in understanding what cats like. And as anyone with long hair knows, cats love hair ties! This insight led Errin to venture into the world of cat product design, and the result is her invention of Jerry Kurlz cat toys, little paper rings that are about the size and shape of an elastic hair band. Cats love these fantastic toys, which, of course, are available at The Cat Connection.
Last year, The Cat Connection hosted a series of pop-up cat cafes. Staff members converted their break room into a lovely lounge area and invited local rescue groups to bring in adoptable cats and kittens. Over the course of nine events, they found homes for more than 40 cats and kittens.
Errin’s favorite part of her job is knowing that what they do at the store helps strengthen the bond between cats and their guardians. She also loves getting to know her customers, and she said the atmosphere around the store is a bit like a local coffee shop, with regulars popping in all the time.
“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Errin said. ￼“I am so grateful for the stars aligning to make this my reality. I joke that I do it all for my cats, but truthfully it’s not a joke; they are my life. I like knowing that I can provide other people with the same standard and level of care that I give my own cats.”
For more information, visit The Cat Connection on Facebook.
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About the author: Kate Benjamin is the founder of the popular cat style blog Hauspanther.com. She specializes in helping people live stylishly with cats. You may have seen her on Jackson Galaxy’s show My Cat From Hell. Make sure to check out Kate and Jackson’s books Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!) and Catify to Satisfy: Simple Solutions for Creating a Cat-friendly Home.