Royal Oak Patch Article By Brittney Moody
Date: February 22, 2011
Auntie Rin is Royal Oak's Cat Lady
"Rinda Brenton, owner of Auntie Rin's Cat Sitting, spends her days visiting homes to tend to the needs of cats - and their owners.
Taking care of dozens of cats on a daily basis has been a part of Royal Oak resident Rinda Brenton’s routine for the past 22 years.
Brenton, 59, dubbed “the cat whisperer” by some customers, started Auntie Rin’s Cat Sitting 5 1/2 years ago. Since then she has been filling her calendar with dates and times to visit the homes of customers and tend to the needs of their cats.
An ideal day for Brenton is visiting 10 different houses. She does this seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Although Brenton is the sole employee of her business, she still has time each week for 45 active clients. Brenton has 80 customers in total, but is always open for more kitty customers.
A typical visit for Brenton involves stopping by a house for half an hour and feeding the cats, giving them medications if necessary and combing their fur at the owner’s request. While she is at the customer’s house Brenton will also clean up the food placemats, rotate lights, open the shades, bring in the mail and take out the trash. Her fee starts at $15 per half hour, but it varies based on the number of cats and situation.
“With the service that you get from her, she should be paid 10 times as much,” customer Cindy Gordish, 63, of Royal Oak said.
Brenton, who has a few cats of her own, used to run a boarding facility at a veterinary clinic in the area. She had done some cat sitting on the side and decided she had enough customers to branch off and start a business on her own. Although she enjoyed working with cats at the clinic, she said felines don’t tend to like being boarded.
“Cats are really territorial; they are most happiest in their own home, their own environment,” Brenton said. “Cats can get really stressed out in a boarding situation.”
She noted that the majority of her cat clients warm up to her, even if they are wary at first. In some cases, Brenton has an easier time with simple pet tasks than the owners. Client Vicki Corwin, 56, of Royal Oak referred to Brenton as the “cat whisperer,” saying her cats won’t let her go near them with toenail clippers, but will not fuss for Brenton. “You would think I was coming after them with a chain saw,” Corwin said. “My cats just really like her.”
Corwin and Gordish said Brenton is extremely reliable and trustworthy. Even when the weather is bad, Brenton never misses her appointment, Gordish said. Corwin noted that when she knows Brenton is checking in on the cats, and in turn the house, when she is on vacation she can breath easy. “Truthfully, when I travel for a week or two, having Rinda is the only time I’ve ever really relaxed,” Corwin said. “I just don’t have to worry when I have Rinda.”
Brenton cares for cats that range in age from 12 weeks old up to 20 years of age. Regardless of age, they all have different personalities, she said.
All owners and their cats have different routines, too, Brenton said. One client feeds her cat a shrimp every day. Some cats won’t come out for her, but because she knows they are watching she will sit and talk to them. She has also seen some wild personalities, including a former customer’s cat that didn’t like the voice of Martha Stewart and would bat at the television screen every time she heard it, but would relax otherwise. “You see a lot of personalities,” Brenton said. “And pets are like kids – they act different with a babysitter.”
Brenton has been asked to care for dogs, but her business is exclusive to cats because she said she does not know dogs like she knows cats.
Corwin and Gordish said all of their cats have made friends with Brenton. Likewise, Brenton has been there for her customers when they lose their beloved pets.
“She has seen a couple of cats come and go and she’s been there for me when I’ve lost them and when I’ve got new ones,” Gordish said.
Auntie Rin’s Cat Sitting serves Royal Oak, Ferndale, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Madison Heights and Birmingham."
Prospective customers can call Auntie Rin’s Cat Sitting to set up a consultation at (248) 399-5553 or check her website.
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