Get to know the Happy Cat team

collage of happy catsAt the Happy Cat Hotel, we’re always working to cater to our feline friends! Our CATmosphere is second to none, and from the looks of it, we aren’t the only ones who think so. At the core of our success you’ll find some serious animal lovers! We’d like to introduce you to our team.

Hillary Lanning

I’m the Program Director of Happy Cat Hotels & Spas Grooming Division, as well as the Executive Groomer for Happy Cat Hotels’ Windsor & East Granby, Connecticut locations. As Executive Groomer of our two corporate locations in Connecticut, I manage the day-to-day operation of our cat exclusive spas, support our client base, train our groomers, oversee quality control and client happiness (both feline and human), and of course, groom a few cats from time to time as well! As Program Director for our franchise grooming platform, I curate franchise specific curriculum, training, and support for our franchisees and their groomers so that they can reach the required level of certification and operate a successful grooming operation at their Happy Cat Hotel.

The best part of my job is being on the ground floor of something with enormous growth potential. It’s amazing to know that I am a part of a team of people who are “disrupting the ‘catus quo’ “ – that is, changing the way the world thinks about cats and cat care. Working with cats is extremely rewarding and I am grateful to have found a career in which I can connect with them and their owners in such a unique way.

I have 4 cats. Rudy and Dexter are 10-year-old tabby domestic shorthair littermates. Lady Rita is approximately a four-year-old tuxedo domestic shorthair that I rescued as a stray/semi-feral cat a couple of years ago. Last, but not least…Romeo – a five-year-old solid cream Persian cat. I love seeing live music, camping, and relaxing around a bonfire with family and friends. I am very much a homebody and would prefer a quiet night in with my crew of cats.

Stephanie Zalewski

As the General Manager of the Happy Cat Hotel & Spa, I manage and supervise our two Connecticut locations. This includes tasks like making the weekly schedule, training, inventory, ordering supplies, helping with payroll, overseeing the care of the cats, delegating tasks to be done, managing, and overseeing reservations and grooms, and much more.

The best part of my job is knowing and seeing firsthand that our care for the cats really helps both the cats and owners feel comfortable. Whether the cats are anxious, scared, shy, whatever, I love knowing that our care can help bring them out of their shell. I also love knowing that we help ease the owner’s mind by the authentic manner in which we communicate throughout the reservation. They know that their cat is in good hands with people that care. Enriching the cats, enriches me as well.

I personally have one cat currently. Her name is Wednesday, and she is eight years old. She is a domestic shorthair that is mostly white with some large brown/gray blotches. For hobbies, I enjoy things like gardening and crafting of all kinds of medias. I also enjoy music, live theatre, camping, and just relaxing with friends and family.

Dominique Mips

Hi! I’m Dominique Mips, and I’m the social media and marketing director at The Happy Cat Hotel & Spa, as well as a groomer! I create and distribute social media posts and design marketing pieces for our franchise owners. Thursdays through Sundays, you’ll find me fluffing and buffing at our East Granbury location. In my free time I like to read, play video games, and spend time with my own cat, Bentley, an eight-year-old domestic shorthair tabby.

I’d say that my favorite quote is “Be happy, stay happy” and that’s certainly easy to accomplish at the Happy Cat Hotel. I really enjoy meeting all the cats that visit us, and I hope to meet your kitty soon!

Victoria Ridley

Victoria Ridley here! I am a kitty concierge and front desk coordinator. You could think of me as an air traffic controller, but for cats! I assist clients with reservations and spa appointments, while updating our kitty parents throughout the day. I essentially usher the cats throughout their day to ensure each feline guest gets plenty of playtime and enrichment. Part of my job is to customize each cat’s experience to match their age and activity level. I also love chatting with our human clients (we’re all cat people, after all), but I’d have to admit that interacting with our feline guests is my absolute favorite part of my day.

At home, I get plenty of canine and cat immersion! Our eldest is two years old, a mixed breed named Lugh. He’s 45 pounds of love and lounging. Simon is a one-year-old, solid black Domestic Short Hair. Simon tends to be rather vocal, and he loves to cuddle. At 10-months old, the baby of our crew is Aslan. He is a 68-pound Terrier-Retriever mix, with a little mane and a lot of love for the water. With all these big dogs at home, I really enjoy the contrast at work—where the light, nimble kitties rule the roost!

Chris Raimo

I’m Chris Raimo, Founder and CPB (Chief Believer of Possibility) of The Happy Cat Hotel & Spa. 14 years ago, I left the restaurant and construction industries to begin working full time with animals. My wife and I started with a dog walking service, which exploded, and gave birth to our conception of The Happy Cat Hotel & Spa. We realized that, with cats out numbering dogs in U.S. households by nearly six million, cat owners are sorely lacking in options for boarding, enrichment, and spa services. We validate the concerns of cat owners seeking enrichment for their felines and provide that service with distinct, customized care for each kitty. We’ve committed a great deal of time and effort to ensure a consistent CATmosphere for our all of our guests, even during peak seasons.

I’ve taken the long route in getting to where I am today, but I’m proud of the job we’ve done. I genuinely believe in people (and cats) over profit, and that’s why our guests continue to return time and time again. I’m proud of the team we’ve established and the family we’ve built along the way. So far, we’re definitely doing our part to upset the CATus quo!

We hope enjoyed getting to know some of the unique and amazing people at the Happy Cat Hotel & Spa. We’re all just a bunch of hopeless feline-loving professionals who can’t wait to meet and serve the cats and owners who have helped to make our brand a growing success. We have some important things happening in the months ahead, so stay tuned for the next round of our great adventures!