A few years ago, Sarita probably wouldn’t have imagined that she would be where she is now: directing one of Canada’s leading cat festivals, managing an online community of over 700,000 cat lovers, and routinely writing business emails with a tail on her keyboard.
Before joining our small but mighty subscription company, she founded the Popcorn Bar, a mobile popcorn business that serves up gourmet twists on classic flavours. In 2017, she brought this passion and creativity straight to the fur-covered desks of meowbox, where she has been working her magic as community manager ever since.
You may have seen Sarita’s kitties, Ollie and Tucker, on our social media, or even in your monthly meowbox. (That brawny ginger stud on February 2019’s Tindpurr toy? Yup, that was Tucker. You can tell your cat he’s still single). However, in just a few months, she won’t just be a cat mom: she and her husband are expecting a baby boy in September.
With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we chatted with Sarita about motherhood, Ollie and Tucker, and her favourite ways to unwind amid all the craziness.
We can’t wait to meet meowbox’s newest member later this year! How do you think Ollie and Tucker will handle the change? Will they be totally offended that they’ll no longer be the centers of attention?
I feel pretty optimistic about Ollie and Tucker meeting their new baby bro. They aren’t used to being around loud screaming or crying yet (neither am I), but both of them have been around babies and toddlers before, and seem to instinctively become more gentle and submissive. Tucker has been especially cute and curious around young children, while Ollie watches with interest from a distance. Once we set up the crib, I guarantee that they will think it’s their new bed! Ollie has been with us for eight years, we have had Tucker for five years, and they’re both so affectionate. I really think their curiosity will overcome any jealousy. They have adapted very well to big changes in the past, but obviously this is pretty major. My husband and I are very in tune with their stress levels, so we will do our best to help them through it! Overall, it will be an extremely new experience for them (and all of us!).
Any similarities between cat motherhood and human motherhood that you can sense already?
Absolutely! Being owned by two cats has taught me how to build an understanding of and communicate with little beings who are unable to simply tell you their needs, wants and feelings. Though the patience and responsibility that comes with being a cat momma may not be equal to the strength it takes to raise a human, it has definitely brought out a maternal side of me. I’m also a pro at cleaning up poop and puke, and used to being woken up at all hours!
As the founder of the Popcorn Bar and manager of meowfest, what advice would you give your son if he someday wants to take a similar entrepreneurial route?
The Popcorn Bar and meowfest have both given me so much opportunity for growth and creativity, which is something I will never take for granted! Knowing firsthand how far hard work and cultivating your passion can take you, I will always encourage my son to go after what excites him. If he ever decides to create his own business, I would reinforce having the mindset of believing anything is possible, the power of perseverance and I would make sure he knows he has a huge support system behind him.
Being as busy as you are with meowbox and meowfest (and soon baby!), what are your favourite ways to decompress?
I have a few key ways of maintaining balance. Spending time around animals, specifically Ollie and Tucker, has always helped me chill out. I can hang out with them for hours and it feels like no time has passed. Lately, they have begun to cuddle closer to my belly, so I like to think of it as bonding time with their little brother…but that might be wishful thinking on my part! Now that I’m in my second trimester, I have been trying to maintain moderate exercise, something I couldn’t even contemplate during the first trimester! Going for big walks around Vancouver trails or getting myself to the gym helps keep me feeling sane and energized…and I also over-indulge in reality TV shows more than I’d like to admit.
And lastly: the coolest part about your job?
The fact my job revolves around celebrating cats, daily. Whether it’s connecting with the meowbox community or coordinating meowfest, cats are always at the center of my focus and I can’t imagine doing anything else.