Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean
“Mr. Galaxy—shaved head, arms full of tattoos—seems physically at odds with his gentle voice and gentle approach to animals. . . . But though he may be dealing with humans who have been terrorized and even bloodied by their out-of-control pets, he’s a model of consistency. The cats, not the people, are his No. 1 priority.”—The New York Times
“Galaxy is not your average animal behaviorist. He speaks Cat. And cats listen. He works miracles in saving death-row cats in shelters by helping them get over their fears and increase their self-esteem, and coaching them to ‘work it’ with potential adopters.”—mousebreath.com
“He’s the kind of magic man who can lull a shelter’s roomful of ferocious felines to sleep.”—Yahoo!
“Each of us sheds light on our subject from our own particular point of view. Fortunately for us all Jackson Galaxy’s light is very bright. His success at resolving behavioral difficulties in cats stems from his ability to slide his mind into the cat’s point of view and proceed from there. His insights into both human and cat behavior are right on.”—Anitra Frazier, author of The Natural Cat
Cat behaviorist and star of Animal Planet’s hit television show My Cat from Hell,Jackson Galaxy, a.k.a. “Cat Daddy,” isn’t what you might expect for a cat expert (as The New York Times noted, with his goatee and tattoos he “looks like a Hells Angel”). Yet Galaxy’s ability to connect with even the most troubled felines—not to mention the stressed-out humans living in their wake—is awe-inspiring. In this book, Galaxy tells the poignant story of his thirteen-year relationship with a petite gray-and-white short-haired cat named Benny, and gives singular advice for living with, caring for, and loving the feline in your home.
When Benny arrived in his life, Galaxy was a down-and-out rock musician with not too much more going on than a part-time job at an animal shelter and a drug problem. Benny’s previous owner brought the cat to the shelter in a cardboard box to give him up. Benny had seen better days—his pelvis had just been shattered by the wheels of a car—and his owner insisted he’d been “unbondable” from day one. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
An inspiring account of two broken beings who fixed each other, Cat Daddy is laced throughout with Galaxy’s amazing “Cat Mojo” advice for understanding what cats need most from us humans in order to live happier, healthier lives.
- Amazon Sales Rank: #10011 in Books
- Published on: 2012-05-10
- Released on: 2012-05-10
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 1.00 pounds
- Binding: Hardcover
- 304 pages
About the Author
Jackson Galaxy has been called everything from a cat trainer to a cat shrink. Drawing on his years of experience in animal shelters and as a consultant working one-on-one with thousands of cats in their homes, his unique “Cat Mojo” approach offers people a deeper understanding of why their cats act out in the ways they do. Galaxy maintains a private consulting practice in Los Angeles. Visit the author’s website at: Jacksongalaxy.com
Customer ReviewsMost helpful customer reviews
122 of 124 people found the following review helpful.
An extraordinary and inspirational memoir
By Ingrid King
This book is no ordinary cat memoir, nor is it an ordinary cat advice book. It is an inspirational tour de force that offers an intimate glimpse at Jackson, the man, and Jackson, the Cat Daddy. This is one of the most unconventional memoirs I've ever read, but then, I didn't expect anything less from Jackson Galaxy.
Jackson Galaxy defies convention. Bald, bearded and tattooed, he's anything but what you would imagine a cat behaviorist to look like, let alone one who has an almost uncanny ability to connect with cats in ways that few others can. Rock musician? Maybe. Biker dude? Possibly. But cat guy? No way.
Cat Daddy chronicles Jackson's journey from down-and-out drug-addicted musician to cat behaviorist of last resort to countless cats, from his early work with cats at an animal shelter in Boulder to his partnership with Jean Hofve, DVM and their joint ventures, Little Big Cat and Spirit Essences, which Jackson eventually bought from Hofve, to his own successful behavior consulting practice.
But the real star of this book is Benny, a small grey and white cat who was brought to the shelter where Jackson had begun to build a reputation as a "cat whisperer." Benny had been hit by a car and had a broken pelvis, his owner couldn't afford the vet bills, and she also "just didn't like him." Benny was only supposed to be a foster cat, but as Jackson watched Benny's remarkable recovery from his physical injuries, something shifted for Jackson. He began to feel a kinship with this broken cat, and realized that "Benny wasn't my foster cat anymore. He was my family." That moment may have saved not only Benny's life, but Jackson's as well. And this was only the first of many lessons Benny would teach Jackson about not being in control of the universe. "The teacher arrived when the student was ready to learn."
In addition to his physical injuries, Benny had his share of emotional problems. It soon became obvious that Benny didn't just come into Jackson's life so Jackson could fix him; Jackson needed some serious fixing himself. By the time Benny arrived, Jackson's life was spiraling out of control at an alarming rate. As Jackson began to work with this emotionally damaged cat, Benny did what noone else in Jackson's life had been able to do: he forced Jackson to begin to peel away the layers of denial, and helped him discover his true physical, spiritual and emotional self beneath his multiple addictions.
There are many deeply moving moments in this book. For me, one of the most most touching passages was the moment Jackson surrenders control. His "hit the knees" moment was reinforced when he realized that "Benny is not just a cat who I take care of but a confused, frustrated being who is exactly the same as me." At that moment, Jackson not only found the process he's since used and still uses today with every cat he works with, he also learned he could be "present in the moment for an animal who needed me to be present in the moment." Being present and living life one moment at a time is one of the cornerstones of recovery. Benny had shown Jackson the way.
The book is interspersed with plenty of Jackson's Cat Mojo 101. He introduces his famous "Cat-I-Love-You" technique (also known as the "slow blink") with the remarkable story of the "forty-five cat kisses"at the Boulder shelter. His "Three-Step Handshake" was born when he first met Benny. In "Don't Be a Litter Box Baby," Jackson provides easy to implement steps to address litter box problems. As with so many of his techniques, Benny proved to be a hard core test case for this one as well.
All of Jackson's advice takes the cat's perspective into account, and comes from the premise that once you understand why something makes sense to a cat and respond from that same place, you will see changes in the cat's behavior. Jackson understands that cats are energetically sensitive, and he focuses as much on training the cat as he does on training the cat's human, always stressing the importance of the cat's guardian managing his own energy and emotions when around the cat.
Jackson's writing style is emotionally raw, candid, and sometimes shocking in its honesty. The one constant throughout his story, even during his darkest days of battling his own personal demons, is his connection with cats in general, and with Benny in particular.
In true cat like fashion, Benny taught Jackson about living in the moment, about surrendering control, and ultimately, about love. The cats of the world, and those of us who love them, owe a debt of gratitude to Benny for saving Jackson's life and for being his teacher - and to Jackson, for the courage to share his story with the world, and for honoring Benny's legacy each and every day through his work.
61 of 64 people found the following review helpful.
I'd Give it 10 Stars if I Could...
By Gwen R. Cooper
Not everybody is fortunate enough to experience the extraordinary, life-changing bond that can develop between two different species, but those of us who are know what a miraculous thing it is. To see it in our own lives is a gift. To become intimately acquainted with somebody else's experience, however, is a rare privilege indeed.
This is one of many things that make reading "Cat Daddy" such a joy. By the time you finish this remarkable book, you'll have lived somebody else's love of a cat in ways that make you love and appreciate your own just a bit more. And, because this is Jackson Galaxy, you'll understand the felines in your life a bit more, too. Watching Galaxy on his show "My Cat From Hell" can feel a bit like watching a magician--how does he do it? How does he consistently reach even the most troubled feline souls with so much compassion and to such amazing effect? Galaxy, among other things in this book, takes us inside that process in a way that on the one hand makes it seem completely common-sense, yet on the other hand makes you realize what a unique gift he has.
But this book is so much more than that. I hesitate to call it an amazing "animal story" because it's just an amazing story, period. It must have been painful at times for Galaxy to reveal so much of what was "broken" in his own life when he and Benny first began to form the bond that would redeem them. He does what the best writers do: He bleeds on these pages, but this is blood straight from his heart. In the end, this is one of the most uplifting tales I've ever encountered, and the "Cat Mojo" tips sprinkled throughout--which are admittedly what I expected to enjoy the most--become the cherry on the sundae rather than the sundae itself.
If you love cats, you will love this book. If you don't love cats, I think you'll still love this book. Sometimes it seems as though only epics and sagas that sprawl over many books receive much attention these days. So it comes as heartening revelation to remember that, occasionally, the biggest stories are actually the smallest ones--one man, one cat, and a quiet love that was large enough to save them both.
56 of 60 people found the following review helpful.
more than a memoir
By a reader from Brooklyn
I tore through most of the book in one sitting last night. I stopped at the beginning of Benny's death because I want to give it its own time and space, but this is one fun book! Jackson is a real character, and I found myself looking at my cat through different eyes last night (I tried the "I" 'Love" "You" blink, but he just said, "I know that," so I'll have to try it on someone else's cat) and also feeling very lucky that my cats have all been so easy and tractable. If the next one isn't, at least now I will know what to do.
I think cat people will go wild for this. Actually, I think anyone with a heart will go wild for this.