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Meet Monica Ahumada of California Cat Center in Van Nuys

Today we’d like to introduce you to Monica Ahumada.

Monica, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I had just finished Basic Combat Training (BCT) and AIT (Advanced Individual Training) for the Army and I was having a hard time finding a job that would hire me. Because I was upfront from the beginning that I would have certain times during each month that I would be unavailable due to my military commitment, I feel that some employers ruled me out right off that bat. One day I got a call from a cat place in Mar Vista, one of the places I had submitted my resume to, and they wanted me to come in for an interview. I had no formal experience working with animals, only what I may have picked up from owning them over the years. Just like with everyone else, I was upfront about being the Army Reserves and gave it my all. I thought it went well, but I didn’t hear back from anyone, so I sent them a thank you card for taking the time to meet with me, and kept looking. A couple days later, Nancy, the owner called me and told me the job was mine if I still wanted it. I have been with the company for 7 years now, and I have learned so much in that time, I’ve taken classes, veterinary, grooming, customer services, you name it, to be better at what I do. I went from knowing about as much about cats as most people do about tax laws, to being a subject matter expert, and I’m still learning something new every day. I was promoted to the manager position in 2011 and have been the manager of this beautiful cat center and groom parlor ever since. I specialize in grooming those hard to groom, “crazy” cats that no one else seems to be able to touch. My staff will often joke that I am the cat whisperer, to which I always laugh and shrug my shoulders. I manage to groom the majority of those crazy cats, with a small handful that I do end up recommending for grooming under sedation. Our motto is simple, safety. That’s it. All the girls that work here are dedicated, cat lovers with hearts as big as the cats themselves.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We’ve had our ups and downs, there was a time, we had very little cats staying with us, to the point where we even had to cut hours to keep from closing down. We ultimately had to shut down the Mar Vista location and now we just have the main one in Van Nuys. in November of 2013, Nancy, the original owner decided to retire and sold everything to a fellow colleague, Dr. Matthew J. Ehrenberg and his wife, Dr. Janet L. Barens, both veterinarians. Since Dr. Ehrenberg and Dr. Berens took over, we started to market ourselves and get our name out there, first by training all our staff to become groomers and then, by opening up our grooming schedule to every day instead of just on Saturdays. This alone, has helped keep us afloat during our slowest months which is usually January through April. We are still here today because we have never compromised our level of care or clean. We never stop cleaning, it’s labor intensive and time consuming, but the results are worth it. No cat has ever gotten sick after boarding with us. A clean cat center means a healthy cat center.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about California Cat Center – what should we know?
We are a cats only facility, we specialize in special needs cats, cats that require constant observation, medications or attention. We keep our center clean and neat. Our cats get individualized out time, we do not do communal boarding. Because safety is our number one priority, we are firm believers that it is best to eliminate the possibility of injury before it can occur rather than after the fact. Not all cats get along, and it’s best not to add to their stress by mixing them all together. And because we are owned by veterinarians, that also means we have the medical mindset of constantly checking for any signs of potential health issues and are able to recognize signs and symptoms of abnormal activity or behaviors. As for the grooming, we are very attentive to the health and wellbeing of the cats we groom. We never push the cats past their tolerance limits. We will never put a cat at risk for the sake of profit. We would much rather lose money than accidentally injure a cat. It’s not worth the heavy conscience.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Every single one of the staff members that works for the California Cat Center has a special talent or quirk that makes them unique and incredible at their job!

Ilda with her passion for learning and who is currently pursuing her Veterinary Technician certification brings professionalism and compassion.

Camille, with her attention to detail and the love of her craft is by far, our best groomer, she takes her time to make sure all her cats are at ease and relaxed during their pampering. Every cat she grooms always comes out looking amazing and adorable!

Devan with her extreme sensitivity to cats’ emotions, they respond right away to her gentle ways.


  • The condo rate is $45 for one cat, $75 for two cats, $100 for three cats and $25 for each additional cat after that.
  • Private Suite rate is $100 per night for up-to four cats, and $25 for each additional cat after that.
  • Grooming varies, B&B Short Hair $55, B&B Medium Hair $65, B&B Long Hair $75, Lion Cut $85 Kitten Clip $95, nail trims $13.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Devan with Cosmo, a long term boarding cat; she jokes that he’s her boyfriend.
Camille with her cat Charlie.
Ilda with Cosmo the same cat Devan has and Bean is a cat that came in for grooming and we gave him a classic lion cut.

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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