So are any of you watching the show My Cat From Hell on Animal Planet? What a show! At first I was skeptical; who is this Jackson Galaxy dude, what kind of name is that, why does he shape his facial hair like he does, why does he carry his cat equipment in a guitar case, and most importantly, what credentials does he have that makes him a cat behaviorist? Being a cat person myself, I couldn’t help but watch a few episodes to see what happens…and now they are set up to record on my DVR!
From what I can tell, he learned cat behavior by working with shelter cats who were trying to get rehomed. I’m not sure if he has any true credentials in cat behavior, but I tell you, he knows his stuff. They show some of the nastiest cats I’ve ever seen. They lunge at the people in the house, they terrorize each other when there are multiples, they pee in the sink and on the carpet, and one even climbed a trellis out on the back patio, opened the neighbor’s screen door, and stalks her at her own house!
What is really interesting is the way he can tell how the environment and activities in the house are creating the bad behavior. When I first started watching, I thought, well, this is silly, no one can “train” a cat out of such behavior. Well, it’s not about the cat…it’s often about the house and people in it. For one cat, he had the owner build shelves on the wall so the cat could have a vantage point in the room. Another who was a Bengal mix, he had them walking the cat around the neighborhood (on a leash of course) and brought him this huge hamster wheel made specifically for Bengal cats! He knows a lot about each breed of cat, and ties that knowledge into his work.
The main point I’ve taken from this show is that cats do indeed need to have play time. It’s easy to think, cats are easy, they just sleep and cuddle, and of course eat and eliminate (hopefully in the litter box). We may wrongly think that while dogs need lots of structured activity, cats are for the sedentary folks who just want to cuddle. Well, Jackson Galaxy has proved to me just the opposite, that problem cats need a structured day and most important, lots of time to play. They have energy they need to run off, or else it will turn into stalking the other cat in the house, or the people, or the kids!
My overall impression of the show is a positive one; he is helping people to not have to rehome a cat due to bad behavior. He’s grown on me, and I highly recommend you watch an episode or two.