And, he not only digs cats, but he really, really understands them and has dedicated his life to making this planet a more perfect place for felines.
Meet the man with true cat mojo, a guy who happily answers to the nicknames, Cat Daddy and the Cat Whisperer – Jackson Galaxy.
On the eve of him beginning to tape Season Three of his popular “My Cat From Hell” show on Animal Planet, we spent the day with him at his office in Redondo Beach.
By we, I mean me and my cat, Zeki, a Turkish Van mix. Perhaps you’ve seen her at my booth during pet expos in San Diego – she’s the cat purring and eating her favorite treat – deli turkey – and never rattled by the steady stream of dogs in attendance. Or, you’ve taken one of my pet first aid classes where Zeki calmly lets students wrap her in a bath towel, check her pulse and brush her teeth as the only feline in the entire Pet Tech program.
I’ve known and admired Galaxy for many years and have had him as a guest on my Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio a few times, but this was our first face-to-face get together. For Zeki, a spunky, up-for-adventure cat who survived a brutal knife attack as a young stray, this was a play date with the No. 1 guy on this planet who knows what makes cats tick.
After giving Zeki time to thoroughly explore Galaxy’s office, I carefully put her on his lap. She instantly sat, relaxed her body and delivered soft eye winks and purrs as he gently scratched her chin and cheeks.
“Zeki is wonderful. She adapts easily and she’s a joy to be around,” assesses Galaxy. “Cats fall into two play categories. Scaredy cats are more about following ground prey like mice, so they do best when you play with one of my favorite cat toys, called Da Bird that you can move across the floor, around corners in a slow, predictable pattern. Zeki, however, falls into the second category of ambitious, confident cats who are more attracted to air prey. These cats like for you to move the Da Bird in the air, making erratic movements that mimic the flapping wings of birds.”
Play is important, especially for indoor cats, declares Galaxy, who shares his home with felines Velouria, Chips and Caroline plus a dog named Rudy.
“I’d say 99 percent of my consultants involve me teaching people how to best play with their cats,” he says. “Tap into what makes a cat tick. What do they want? They want to kill things, so you have to mimic that. That’s why you need an interactive toy. Cats are all about this sequence: hunt-catch-kill-eat. So, after your cat has played, give him a high-quality, high-protein snack. Do this every day, and I guarantee many of your problems will disappear.”
Resist relying on a laser pointer. Galaxy explains, “To me, the laser point serves one purpose only. It should only be used for redirection. It is to redirect your bully cat from pouncing on your [more frightened, unsure] cat. Cats can’t catch a laser, so it is a frustrating toy for a true hunter.”
After play, Zeki napped for the rest of our visit on a comfy pet bed. She did lift her head when Galaxy presented her with an autographed photo and a signed copy of his newest book called Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean.
I suspect Zeki more enjoyed interactions with Galaxy and turkey treats, but I have framed the photo in my office and read his book in one setting.
In the pages, Galaxy opens up about his gypsy-like life until he found his true calling – thanks to a cat named Benny. And once again, he conveys his contrasting style. He candidly shares his struggles with addiction as well as confidently provides readers with specific tips to bring out the healthy best in their cats.
This is Jackson Galaxy, a one-of-a-kind guy making this planet a more welcoming place for cats.