Luna’s big round eyes stare at the van as her owner Majeda gets ready to hand her over.
Inside, awaiting the Persian cat, are pet groomer Femi Moses Olajide and assistant Okwudiri John Ani of Miss Meow mobile grooming, which has come to Dubai’s Jumeirah Park.
The service has been operating since 2016 and is based in Al Quoz but also travels to other emirates such as Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain. In addition to cats, it offers grooming sessions for dogs, rabbits and birds.
Miss Meow came into being after founder Nadine Salman was having problems finding a reliable and suitable pampering company for her pets. “I love all animals and their welfare is a very important aspect for me,” she says.
Before opening her own company, when getting her cats groomed, Salman used to find they'd come home with fungal infections or she would find out that they had been sedated without her consent. Other services were never on time, which she found frustrating.
This was also happening during a time in her life when the British-Iraqi was unemployed and unsure of what she wanted to do.
After a few life-coaching sessions, however, she realised she wanted to do something that would involve her love of animals.
“I knew nothing about grooming. I flew to London and enrolled myself in a cat-grooming school. I learnt the techniques of grooming, the hygiene process, what are the dos and don'ts and came back to Dubai after a few months, took a leap of faith and started the company.”
The Miss Meow name comes from a nickname given to her on social media.
“In earlier years I was involved with some pet rescuers, so my first clients were my friends who had pets and the rescuers I knew also recommended Miss Meow and that was how all how it started,” Salman says.
These days, Miss Meow has expanded to 10 mobile vans as well as 20 employees. Appointments can be made over the phone or on WhatsApp. Full grooming for an adult cat (aged seven months or older) costs Dh275 and includes a bath, brushing and a haircut. There are also additional add-ons that can be bought.
As the business has grown over the years, Salman is proud of the team she's put together. She describes how they have regular meetings to discuss the new pet trends and what will or won't work for them.
“Our groomers follow famous grooming schools on YouTube and share their experiences,” she says. “We have a groomer who likes styling, so he always put bows and scarves on or makes crocodile haircuts. Another is more of a pet whisperer: he calms the pets when he grooms them because he has that power. Yet another is more skilled with dog haircuts and had great training in Malaysia.
“Each of our groomers has a speciality … and they learn from one another.”
Unlike other grooming services, Miss Meow does not sedate pets and will use other ways to try to get them comfortable in the mobile van. During the session, relaxing music is played and aromatherapy is used. Sometimes the groomers will sing to pets.
“We work from our heart. We care about the pets on board and that they're treated well throughout the process,” she says.