Pet Age recently spoke with Geralynn Cada-Ragan, partner at Meowijuana, to discuss her background and views on the pet industry.
What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned from being in so many homes training countless pets?
It brings a smile to my face looking back at so many lessons learned from pets and their parents during those training sessions. All such important life lessons discovered during those years, and I’m grateful for every one of them. The most important one, especially in today’s world is practicing living in the now. Not only understanding what it means, but practicing this daily like our pets do. Many people rush too much, never stopping to “smell the roses.” Many lack self-patience, self-love and self-awareness of their habits and this defiantly has an effect on them and their pets. Practicing living in the now allows us to slow down, breathe, enjoy our day and give gratitude doing all of the things we are set out on earth to accomplish, one step at a time. Plus by living in the now our pets live a longer, happier, healthier life.
How does a dog trainer end up designing Meowijuana cat products?
I love pets and nature and grew up on a farm with cats, dogs, horses, geese, chickens, rabbits, etc. My BA in Design and BS in Biochemistry seemed like the perfect fit for designing pet products. Designing pet products, dog or cat, has always been in my wheelhouse, and my dream as a kid training dogs and cats growing up on a farm in Nebraska. Combining all of that knowledge with more experience training dogs (and the cats that belonged to the dog) for 25+ years, the cat’s out of the bag! Many dog owners also have cats as pets. In observing the choices for cats at pet stores, it seemed that with some creativity, the cat’s day could finally arrive! Mixing all of this knowledge and experience, my Meowijuana team jumped on the opportunity to shake up the cat space, while bringing in a healthy laugh. Catnip and medicinal herb blends were almost non-existent. As a proud member of a group of talented partners, we are making cats happy all offer the globe, especially now when stress levels are elevated. Enrichment toys for cats are necessary items for training and behavior management, especially when they co-exist with dogs. Cats require hunting and playing time daily, usually in the evenings. Blending nature’s gift, catnip, and clever designs, our products are a hit with cats. My goal is, and has always been, “Happier Owner, Happier Pet” through my designs.
What is your advice for post-COVID-19 pet etiquette?
It is and will be a big adjustment for pets. Their lives will be shaken up soon, missing our presence as much as our lives were shaken up when we begin quarantining. Pets will have issues post-COVID and my best advice is to take a moment and witness yourself and your actions for one whole day with your pets. Include possibly filming them while you leave, get in your car, drive around the block just see what type of situation your pet is currently operating within. This can include separation anxiety, or even that they are very peaceful when you are away. Take notes on what your pet is currently doing that is driving you crazy. Now you know what you have to work with, and you can begin by seeking professional help and even your veterinarian. My advice is available anytime for those who feel lost on this subject and I co-host a show called “Dog Hugs,” a weekly show on Positively Woof, Facebook Live, where Larry Kay and I share tips and support to all of you pet parents in need.
What’s your view on pet products for 2020 and beyond?
Pet products save relationships! Now that we are slowly returning to a new ordinary, I see not only behaviors in pets changing, there will be a greater reliance on retail staff that have become, or will become, category experts to suggest the best tools for pet parents issues. Many pets are just now becoming accustomed to us being home. Slowly we will venture out, and they will find themselves adjusting to another new ordinary. If we are proactive and begin training now, we can save so many pets’ lives and people’s hearts.
Of all the pets you’ve had, which one has been your favorite?
My favorite pet was my Aussie puppy named Fletcher Reed. He was a joy every day, and he definitely taught me how to live in the now. He defined what fear meant for me by showing me he possessed none and was always willing to go the extra mile to protect me, even until his death. He also taught me how precious time was in the big picture of life. These lessons were priceless to learn as a kid and helped me move forward in life with a great peace of mind. Just after he passed, I rescued three green iguanas and a cat named Bennie. My love for cats and reptiles grew and are still very strong today. My love of diversity of all species was spawned from this experience and my iguanas, my cat, and Fletcher are “furever” in my heart.