I’m excited today to introduce you to our Cat Woman Wednesday, Olivia Canlas, a hip Canadian cat entrepreneur whose love of animals led her to start the very successful business meowbox, a monthly subscription box that also helps rescue cats across Canada and the United states. She says cats have never held her back in her love life, and that she’d make a pretty poor dog mom! Read on for details!
Today Olivia is cat mom to three felines: Bella, a senior kitty, and two siblings Zac and Harvey imported from the US (read on for details!). She’s had a soft spot for animals as long as she can recall. Having grown up on Vancouver Island there were all forms of wildlife to keep her busy. She fed ducks at the local lakes, played with insects, frogs and sea creatures.
She was always begging her family to visit the SPCA to play with the kittens, and finally got her own kitten when she left for college, smuggling her into the dormitory (the now senior Bella)!
So let’s take a moment to backtrack to those US born kitties who have ostensibly become naturalized Canadian citizens! Olivia first saw little Harvey by chance on Facebook on a post with a plea for donations.
He’d been abandoned in a ditch in Philadelphia and found one rainy night covered in fleas and cigarette burns. He was emaciated, anemic, and close to death. A kind soul was nursing him back to health and Olivia knew she had to find a way to help this helpless little victim. So she used meowbox’s social media platforms to help raise funds for his care. In the process, she found herself falling in love.
As with many great love stories, there were seemingly insurmountable obstacles that had the potential of keeping them apart.
- He lived almost 2400 miles away
- He had to be adopted with his foster brother Zac.
Neither of these potential hurdles held Olivia back for even a moment, and she soon found herself on a plane flying across the country to adopt two kittens she’d never met. She now says, “Two years later, looking at these happy healthy boys, I couldn’t imagine life without their funny antics and constant companionship.” Talk about a fairy tale ending!
When asked what she’s learned bout herself from living with felines, Olivia responds, “Having these 2 boys, I learned that I’d make a very poor dog mom. I love their independent attitudes and “just right” levels of affection.”
Olivia says she never imagined she’d end up in a career that entails sharing cat memes with co-workers every day (sign me up!)! Its obvious meowbox makes her extremely happy, and says she hopes, “”I pass that feeling [of joy] on to our employees, customers, and kitties.”
meowbox was conceived when she was on Facebook one night (I’m seeing a theme!) and kept seeing ads for doggie subscription boxes. She was surprised to learn there weren’t similar products for cats at that time. So right at that very moment she decided she could do it, and so she did!
While Olivia may have been a trailblazer, others have followed her lead into the subscription cat box market place. When asked what makes meowbox unique, Olivia responds here are a few things that set them apart from their competition,
“Each and every single meowbox has the cats’ names handwritten inside the lid. It’s important that the cats know that the meowbox is just for them. The other cool thing we do is donate a can of food to a shelter for each box sold. The program is called One Box Can and so far we’ve fed over 50,000 kitties in shelters. We like this program because customers can actually see precisely where they are making a difference.”
meowbox subscribers receive a unique “can code” for the can donated on their behalf, allowing them to literally track it as it makes its journey to the rescue! If you’re a rescue that would like to benefit from the One Box Can program, apply to be considered here!
As a (still) singleton living in the city – with cats, I had to ask Olivia about dating with felines. Her experience has been that, “Cats have zero correlation with my ability to score a date. As an entertaining joke, I have told men that I have 10 cats, which isn’t outlandish given the line of work I’m in, and no one seems to bat an eyelash.”
When I challenged her about men not thinking she was a “crazy cat lady” upon the mention of 10 cats, she offered to run an experiment to prove her point. That would certainly make for an interesting blog entry…
As an aside, with the holidays right around the corner, meowbox subscriptions make a great gift for any kitty on your list! They have a range of subscriptions to choose from! You can even gift just one box!