Is your cat driving you bonkers? You may need to enlist the services of Jackson Galaxy. The star of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell is all about taming the little creatures that inhabit and often attempt to destroy your happy home.
Galaxy, who was born Richard Kirshner on New York’s Upper West Side, wants to help with any and all feline related issues. But don’t dare call him The Cat Whisperer. Even though he’s a gentle soul (don’t let the tats throw you off), Galaxy considers himself more of a cat therapist.
The L.A.-based reality star and sometime rocker will be in town 7 p.m. Friday at Books & Books Coral Gables to chat about Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love and Coming Clean (Tarcher/Penguin). The title refers to Benny, “the original cat from hell” whom Galaxy met while working at an L.A. shelter. They were together 13 years until Benny’s death from numerous health problems three years ago.
We talked to Galaxy, 47, while on a stop on his book tour in Kansas City:
How’s your tour going so far? Did you bring any cats with you?
I’m doing great, but hell no! I didn’t bring any cats. They don’t travel. They would hate my guts forever.
How many pets do you have in total?
I have three cats and a dog, and I’m about to move in with my girlfriend who also has three cats and a dog. Then we’ll be incorporating two more cats. So what is that up to now? 10!
Do you anticipate any coexistence issues?
This is what I do for a living. If I have a handle on anything — and it’s not much — it’s getting cats and dogs together. This is pretty much in my wheelhouse. Humans I could give or take.
Why don’t you like being called The Cat Whisperer?
I’ve always been resistant because I think that puts you in a box. I’d rather be seen as a listener. At some point I want you to [emulate] what I do. Maybe you won’t take the bull by the horns if you wait for me to help. Your cat may end up in a shelter before I get to you.
How different are cats from dogs?
Their energy is highly complementary. I think cats kind of insist that you see the world through their eyes. They love territory and ownership. As long as they feel secure they can have a deeper bond with humans. They express their love in different ways than dogs. They’re not, ‘Oh my God, you’re the sun and the moon!’ That’s not a cat. They’re social but subtle. That’s why it’s great to have both.
What are the questions you get asked most?
It all boils down to one thing: We get upset when cats don’t bend to our will. That is the nature of my education. If you learn what your cat needs — what I call ‘cat mojo’ — your relationship will be infinitely better. It’s very simple stuff. When I leave a home where the pet owners have been pulling their hair out, the highest compliment I can receive is, ‘Oh that was just common sense.’ I’m just showing you the basics and helping you put on your cat glasses.
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