Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Cat From Hell's Jackson Galaxy Talks Cats, Music, Zen, and Airplane-Weeping

After speaking with Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet's My Cat From Hell earlier this week, I am pleased to say we agree on a few very important things, including:

#1 Felines are the most advanced Zen masters on this planet.
#2 Labels and stereotypes are a total buzzkill.
#3 The Minneapolis music scene in the late 80's was crazy-cool.

Jackson calls himself a "cat listener" and thinks "cat whisperer" connotates an exclusive club. He is clear that anyone can connect with their cats like he does; he's just had a lot more experience...thousands of cats' worth of experience. On his show, My Cat From Hell, Jackson helps families who are at their whiskers' end with their feline companion's behavior. Using various methods (some more traditional than others), he helps the 2- and 4-legged family members restore peace to their home, and ultimately, their relationships. He strongly believes by helping people strengthen the human/feline relationship, more cats would stay in homes and out of shelters.

In the upcoming season (season #1 available on iTunes), Jackson is excited to experiment with some new techniques, including simultaneously clicker-training a small dog and cat with a troubled relationship. You think I'm kidding? Only Jackson would throw his tattooed arms around that one. Stay tuned for the surprising (or maybe not-so-surprising) results!

Jackson shares his home with three cats: 18-year-old Velouria (named for The Pixies song), 17-year-old Chips (aka Chippy, Chuppy, and C. Huppy [Jackson says it's like P. Diddy, but infinitely cooler. I agree]), 3-year-old Caroline (named for the Beach Boys' Caroline, No). Then there's Rudy the dog (Rudy the Red-Nosed Jack Russell Mutt), which Jackson found running in the street a few Christmas Eves ago; he thinks Rudy is 10-12 years old. Jackson is happy to report everyone gets along pretty darn well.

Crashed with Rudy and Caroline

Jackson says he grew up with a dog and really only fell in love with cats in his mid-20's, when he took a job at a shelter because he thought it would be easy. Eventually, someone called his attention to how strongly the cats reacted to him. It may sound dramatic (well, it kind of was), but it was at that moment his life was forever changed. During a period when he was experiencing some pretty dark times, cats literally saved his life.

In his book, Cat Daddy: My Life With the Original Cat From Hell, due to come out in May (pre-order here), Jackson revisits those dark times and credits his experiences with his feline companion of 14 years, Benny, with showing him the light. Jackson and I discussed our shared belief of "the perfect situations/beings showing up at just the right time," and "staying in the flow of life." We agreed cats are really the best Zen masters around and can teach us an advanced class on the art of staying present...if we slow down and listen to them.

Jackson says we may be surprised to know he is a "huge cry baby, especially on airplanes." He confesses watching a sad or emotional commercial or movie makes him "weep like a 4-year-old girl." For whatever reason, this especially affects him on airplanes. When flipping channels from the "comfort" of his airplane seat, he quickly skips past the Lifetime and Oxygen networks because he knows he'd be a weepy mess in no time. While traveling, he must stick to what he calls, "more manly entertainment," like sports or Pawn Stars. But honestly, this doesn't bother him. He loves that people are always trying to figure him out...because they can never quite do that. Jackson is all about defying labels and stereotypes. And that's one of the reasons I like him so much. That, and his strong affection for the music of The Replacements, Hüsker Dü, and Prince...and, of course, CATS!

You can watch Jackson Galaxy in action as the second season of My Cat From Hell premieres this Saturday, January 7th, at 8pm ET/PT. Jackson's parting message to everyone (which we also joked should be the title of this blog post) is: "Get off your ass and get a cat!" There you go...spoken straight from the mouth of our favorite guitar-playing, airplane-weeping, stereotype-busting cat-listener!

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