Learning for a successful career in the Pet Care Management
Develop a solid foundation of the necessary skills and knowledge to provide effective management of the diverse industry of pet management.
You can direct your studies to your current area of expertise, or choose
a new direction for yourself. You can also make your diploma as
focused or as broad as you need it to be.
Through practical tasks, research, observation and networking; you are guided to develop not only knowledge of science, but also "understanding", "awareness" and the right "attitude" that is needed to build either a sustainable career or business.
Work with your strengths
This course is different to many others. It is an "experiential based" learning program; designed to get you involved with a variety of industry professionals, while exploring the nature and scope of the pet care industry and finding where you best fit.
For ongoing success, you need to become "connected". This networking within the industry will provide the basis to remain "connected", so that you can evolve and adapt to changes as your career moves forward.
Note that each module in the Diploma in Pet Industry Management is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
Opportunities abound to work with Pets.
According to some industry sources, the pet industry in Australia alone was worth more than $4.2 billion in 2005. One can only imagine it's size today; and it's annual turnover.
Australian households are thought to own more than 8 million pets including over 4 million dogs and perhaps 3 million cats.
The scope of the industry is huge, and the opportunities for anyone with a good understanding of pets, is expanding further every year.
Just Consider Cats
Retail and Manufacturing
There are manufacturing and retailing opportunities for producing and selling pet products, specializing in cats, and this can either be done by running a shop or online sales. Cat toys are usually quite limited in smaller pet stores but this may give an opportunity to create something new and different for the feline species, or find something decent already on the market. All cats need food, and the supply of cat food is in itself a significant industry.
Pet shop retailers also sell products and advise appropriate nutrition, training techniques or devices, and stimulation. The retailer should have extensive knowledge of animals, especially nutrition and husbandry, with the correct licenses and this should be checked with local councils prior to opening.
All cats, require a certain amount of grooming, and some breeds of cats with certain coat types will most definitely require more grooming than others. Pet owners may find it difficult to fit grooming maintenance in to their busy lives, or may just prefer to take their cats to a professional groomers.
Although cats usually do a good amount of self-grooming, it is important that cats are kept clean and free from uncomfortable matted and loose hair. Matted hair can pull tight on the skin, and can also hide ectoparasites therefore any infestation may not be as visible as they could be. Grooming cats no matter what the coat type has several functions:
- Removes loose hair.
- Removal of loose hair prevents ingestion by the cat when self-grooming, therefore less hairballs.
- Detects, or aids in the removal of parasites.
- Improves muscle tone.
- Full body health check can be taken.
- Therapeutic for the cat, and perhaps the human.
- Social bonding between human and feline.
From a young age domesticated cats need to become accustomed to human touch. Grooming sessions with owners can be a great way to achieve this and is also good for some quality, human-cat bonding time. Any professional working in cat grooming should encourage customers to do supplementary grooming for bonding if nothing else. It is much easier for groomers to deal with a cat that is used to grooming techniques and the human hands.
Professional groomers should ensure grooming only occurs when the cat is completely happy and relaxed. Start and finish on a positive note, being sensitive to feline behaviours. If the cat becomes restless or stressed, grooming should be stopped. If the cat exhibits the following behaviours grooming should be paused, or stopped completely.
- Tail twitching, swishing or thumping particularly at the tip of tail.
- Rapid turns of the head in the direction of the comb.
- Skin twitching or tense body.
- Lip licking or head shaking.
- Ears flattened backwards.
- Sudden rapid self-grooming.
- Growl or hissing sounds.
As a groomer, it is unlikely that there will be a need to wash a cat especially if the cat is healthy. For cats it is a stressful situation to be washed in a bath and should only really need to be carried out if a cat is heavily infested with ectoparasites, or the coat has been contaminated in a harmful substance. If this is the case, it would be best to refer to a veterinary practice for further care. If a cat is healthy, then it should not need to be cleaned or washed.
Cat Breeding Industry
The cat breeding industry poses questions about pet population as there are so many stray, or unwanted cats across the globe. Thousands of cats are euthanized due to the lack of homes. For every purposely bred kitten, there will be an unwanted animal that has lost a home. For this reason; government bodies in some countries have placed regulations and licenses on the breeding of cats. This varies from one authority to the next.
As a cat breeder, you do not need a qualification but should have a good knowledge of the breed of cat and their best interests at heart at all times. The queen must have the proper care throughout pregnancy and post pregnancy. A clean, appropriate environment must be provided with the correct nutrition available.
The female cat should be fully grown to their adult size before breeding occurs, and this is usually around 18 to 24 months of age. If the female falls pregnant before she has chance to fully grow then all her energy will go on the pregnancy, rather as her own growth. The male tom should not be under the age of 18 months before being bred, and this ensures he is in good health with a good temperament.
It is the breeder’s responsibility to ensure the female and the male cat have both had full health evaluations, and this should be carried out by a veterinary surgeon. Both cats should be checked prior to breeding for;
- Full physical examinations.
- Full courses of vaccinations, or ensure they are up to date.
- Faecal and urinary analysis.
- Free from parasites or infections.
- Tested for FeLV (Feline Leukaemia Virus) and FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus).
- Tested for genetic disorders, e.g. polycystic kidney disease, hip dysplasia, patellar luxations and heart disease.
It is also important to check with the vet for any tests which may be relevant to their locality. Both cats should be an ideal, healthy weight with good temperaments. It is a better trait, and easier rehoming if the cats are laid back, and not aggressive.
It is the responsibility of the breeder to ensure good homes can be found for all the kittens. This may be hard as there are so many cats requiring homes, and less space in shelters. It is important to find homes for lives, rather as a kitten ending up in a shelter. A vetting can be undertaken of any prospectus owner to ensure that they are going to good homes.
Professional Training and Handling
As a professional cat trainer, or behaviourist, you are required to advise owners about behavioural problems their cats are exhibiting. You will be required to draw up a programme and demonstrate this to the client which involves excellent communication skills. These behaviours may be anything from, unwanted noise, toilet training, destructive or aggression.
Generally, cat trainers will be self-employed and should have completed some type of course, whether this be a cat communication or behaviour course. There are also associations which can be joined by behaviourists which gives clients a piece of mind, and will also give added benefits as a trainer.
Along with the theory it is important that it takes practice, and a lot of hands on experience before you can become an expert in feline behaviour. It is also valuable to remember that all cats will train differently, and have different personalities, so a technique used on a certain behaviour for one cat, may not work the same for another.
Day Care or Boarding
The popularity of cats has created a market for professional cat carers or sitters. This job requires good general knowledge and care for cats, with good management and husbandry skills. Some type of animal care or husbandry qualification is beneficial. It may be something some owners look for in their cat carers.
Owners with busy work schedules may need cat carers for any length of time; from an hour or two a day, to several days or even weeks at a time. To cause less stress to a cat it may be appropriate to hire a sitter or cat day care service on a regular basis to look after a cat in a familiar environment on a regular basis. Some people may require a cat sitter for longer while away on holiday or business, in which case cat boarding at a cattery may be more appropriate.
This would involve visiting the cats in their own houses for the agreed time, as placing a cat in a day care centre would cause unnecessary stress. Several cats could be visited in one day, and may be routine customers or one offs. Sessions may include;
- Litter change.
- Administration of medication.
- Overnight stays.
Owners may wish to place their cats in boarding whilst they are away longer periods of time. This provides an opportunity to run, or work within, a cattery. To set up a cattery, you will need an adequate building to place a number of catteries and also offer a satisfactory exercise area. Each individual cattery should include a warm bed, food, water and stimulation. Local councils should be contacted to check regulations and licenses for catteries. Staff should be available to spend time with each individual cat to provide human-cat interaction.
Cat Rehoming Centre or Fostering
There are opportunities to volunteer with cat rehoming centres, or even foster cats until long term homes can be found. Cats end up in rehoming centres due to the large population of unwanted cats, strays and litters of unwanted kittens. Unfortunately, not all get a happy ending but the more people that make themselves available as cat fosterers, or volunteer within a shelter, the higher the chance these cats have of finding forever homes.
It is possible to set up your own cat rescue centre if you have adequate ground or space. There are some things which would need to be considered;
- The rehoming of the cats, how will this be achieved.
- Contact with local council – permission, license, regulations etc.
- Local vet available.
- Volunteers and staff.
To run a rehoming centre takes a lot of work, and there needs to be a way of finding the cats suitable homes. This may be done through website, social media, campaigns, newspaper publicity, sponsors and radio stations.
There are charities available to join which concentrate on using cats as therapy for hospital patients, nursing homes, and schools, children with learning problems or even prisons. It has been shown from these visits from therapy cats can relieve human stress. When humans stroke animals the hormone oxytocin is released which triggers the ‘happy’ feeling.
The cat used as a therapy pet is required to have a good temperament and laid back attitude, be accustomed to human touch, and cope well in stressful situations such as, loud noises or unpredictable circumstances. The cat should be at least one year old so you know the temperament well. There may be further requirements and this should be checked with an experienced “Pets as Therapy” group. You will also be required to carry out further training and tests to ensure the cat is able to cope well.
There are opportunities to work with cats within the health care sector, whether it be a veterinary surgeon, veterinary nurse or animal nursing assistant. With either of these career opportunities you will need extensive knowledge of animal health care. A veterinary surgeon will train over a number of years before fully qualified, and it is then that they can choose to specialize in the feline species if they wish. A veterinary nurse or animal nursing assistant will get to work with a variety of species, including cats.
Some veterinary care services may specialize more with cats than others.
Therapy for Cats
There are a number of therapies which can work alongside vet practices to help improve the health of a cat. These therapies include hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and massage. These techniques can be used on older cats with health issues, post-op, arthritis, obesity and to generally improve their health.
Although this is less common with cats, it has had proven health benefits for recovering injuries, arthritis or defects. The exercises are completed in a controlled environment with a pool, and this really depends on whether the cat will accept the treatment within water. A qualification can be taken to become a hydro therapist, as well as extensive knowledge of animal anatomy and physiology.
Physiotherapy involves stretching and flexing of the cat’s limbs and is used for rehabilitation. It can be used to rehabilitate the cat from injuries, post operation and problems such as arthritis. A qualification is required to undertake physiotherapy, and the best route to be taken seriously by vets is to complete a human physiotherapy degree, then to specialize in a Masters course of veterinary physiotherapy.
Pet massage is becoming increasingly popular, and has therapeutic benefits as well as adding to the above techniques of improving health. A qualification can be completed in massage, however, it is advisable that you take a course with extensive hands on practical sessions.
Funeral or Memorial Service
There unfortunately has to be the moment in an owner’s life where they say goodbye to their much beloved pet. This is always a sad time, but does give an opportunity for a service to provide a unique business and make their goodbye as special as they can.
This can be offered with a funeral service tailored to the client’s needs and wishes, with also the outcome of memorial area and stone. This all depends on the owner’s wishes, and offering a wide variety of services will allow people with financial constraints even have a basic package.
There will be regulations on burials and building, depending on local councils and if the owners owns their land.
A good course will grow your understanding of pets and how to care for them
-this course certainly does that
WHY CHOOSE THIS COURSE?
This is a significantly longer and more in depth pet course than most; but the more you study, the more you learn, and the greater your capacity will be to succeed and excel in the pet industry.
You have an opportunity to learn in greater depth about a greater variety of different types of pets, including:
- Different Breeds of Dogs
- Different Breeds of Cats
- Reptiles, Rodents and other animals too!
A better course will set you on a path to continuing growth in understanding pet care, and a lifetime of continual growth in experience and industry awareness.
You will not only be better when you finish your course; but will continue to get better beyond that, every year that you continue involvement with pets. This course does that too!
The nature of this industry has changed
The way in which the work is done has changed too; and will most likely continue changing.
People are increasingly looking for something new as well - new types of pets, new pet products, new pet services. For some people, pets are a very important part of their lives, and pets can become virtually "substitute children". There is nothing too good for their pets, and no expense they would not incur on their pets.
The good news for anyone with a knowledge of pet care and an awareness of the industry is that this is a vibrant, growth industry that is constantly presenting new exciting opportunities to build a business or career.
Develop a career or business with pets: in breeding and supplying pets, or supplying services or products to pet owners.
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