The Cat Daddy Commandments: Spotlight on Jackson Galaxy
If you are the proud parent of a characterful cat - or cats - you’ve likely done your research on everything from the best food and toys to the safest flea treatments and name tags. But have you heard of the Cat Daddy himself, Jackson Galaxy?
Who is Jackson Galaxy?
At face value, Jackson Galaxy, a.k.a Cat Daddy, is a cat behaviourist. Dig a little deeper though, and you’ll find that he’s much more.
Manhattan-born and bred, Galaxy (nee Richard Kirshner) found himself in Colorado in his twenties, working at animal shelters and learning all about feline behaviour. A keen student, he eventually became a cat behaviourist, first in Colorado and later in California, where he continues to practice today.
In recent years, he has starred in his own show (My Cat From Hell) and appeared as the expert on several documentaries. He’s also penned numerous books and contributed to various articles about cat behaviour and his methods for resolving feline behavioural problems. He is also an advocate for animal welfare.
Some of his more challenging patients are cats who are semi-feral or have been rehomed and struggle to build relationships with their new humans, bond with other resident cats or suffer the side-effects of a less than satisfactory environment. The Cat Daddy works to build trust with the cats and gives their guardians homework to ensure they create a nurturing environment for their four-legger. These are all part of his method to bring about cat mojo, which is what Jackson ‘The Cat Daddy’ Galaxy is all about.
Why Should You Care?
Jackson Galaxy is widely considered a walking encyclopedia; an authority on all things feline. What makes him truly special is how much he genuinely cares about the cats and the cat guardians he works with, and his passion for making all cats’ lives better.
He has spent years working on the front lines in shelters and homes, helping everyone from former-ferals to special needs cats and adoptees find their feet in new homes. His research is extensive, his knowledge impressive and his results are consistently outstanding.
So, if you want to be the best cat-parent you can be, you might want to read some of his work, check out his YouTube or catch his show, My Cat From Hell, on Animal Planet.
What Can You Learn?
SO much. But the number one thing Galaxy will teach you is Cat Mojo 101; the confident who, the confident what, the confident where, and the confident how.
He focuses on the importance of the raw Cat - with a capital C - as this is the Cat that came before your fluffy little ball of domesticated house cat, and it’s what drives them still.
Galaxy’s method is one that empowers owners with knowledge and understanding of what drives their little lions, so they can better understand how best to meet their needs.
Often, cats are treated in the same way as dogs, but their domestication is still in its infancy. As such, they need to be approached differently. You need to satisfy the raw Cat so you can truly appreciate your house cat. Learn more about the Raw Cat and Cat Mojo here.
5 Cat Daddy Commandments
Now you know more about Jackson Galaxy, his motivation and his methods, here’s a taste of what it means to practice Cat Mojo 101.
#1 Begin With Basecamp:
Cats are all about territory. They need to feel like they belong, and like their living quarters belong to them. By designating a room or parts of many rooms to your cat - this could be with a cat tree, blankets, toys or even food, water and litter boxes - you create a basecamp that has your cat’s scent and is a safe, comfortable place for them to go. Ideally, you will extend basecamp by putting their favourite blanket at the foot of the bed or a scratch post or pad in every room. The more they sense their scent mixing with yours, the more at home they feel. A confident cat starts with basecamp.
#2 Catify To Satisfy:
You might be mistaken for thinking “catification” is just another buzzword but you’d be wrong. Catification is a key factor to your cat’s happiness. Making sure they have a feline-friendly set up indoors and outdoors means they can embrace all that makes them “Cat” and you can enjoy watching them at their best and brightest. The first step to catification is to create what Galaxy likes to call the cat superhighway - a fun route of shelves, furniture and cat furniture that allows your cat to move around your home without having to interact with other people or pets. Check out Jackson explaining how to catify your home here.
#3 Embrace The Raw Cat:
A happy cat is a raw Cat, and the raw Cat is all about embracing their natural instincts - the pattern that they are hardwired to follow, day in and day out, as their purpose in life. As a cat parent, this pattern should be your mantra and will offer you a unique opportunity to bond with your pet. The 6 steps to supercat are Hunt, Catch, Kill, Eat, Groom, Sleep.
- Hunt - In the wild, big cats and feral cats will hunt for their food. Not only are they programmed to do this, but they are built to do this effectively, and the urge to hunt prey translates to household moggies. Of course, we don’t want your domestic short hair stalking and lunching on your hamster, so distract your cat through play. Wand toys and lasers are excellent for play-hunting, making it easy for you to encourage your cat to run around chasing and expending energy - and no potential victims in sight.
- Catch - In the wild, cats are only successful in their hunts 20-30% of the time, so it makes sense that while you are playing with your cat and they are stalking and chasing your toy of choice, you make them work for it. Just make sure you let them catch their prey a few times, especially when you’re ready to end playtime and serve up dinner.
- Kill - You may have noticed that when your cat catches a wand toy, or really any toy, they go mad with a spate of bunny kicks. This cute aggression is actually hardcoded into their raw cat selves because they’re killing the prey they’ve caught. Let them indulge in the bunny kicks, the biting and the proud moment of triumph.
- Eat - After a busy spurt of hunting, your cat will need to eat. This is not to be confused with their 24-hour quest for Dreamies, which is them wanting to eat. The reward for catching prey is eating prey, but your cat can’t chow down on their feather toy. Instead, use the post-playtime slot as a chance to give them dinner. Remember though, cats are obligate carnivores - they need and thrive on meat; not vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian diets. If you’ve had playtime between meals, you can slip them a few treats instead.
- Groom - After hunting, catching, killing and eating, your cat will have the natural urge to groom. Be respectful of their space and let them get on with it. This is more than habit or preference, this is their way of life and the pattern they are wired to follow. Please note, unless medical or breed-specific reasons apply, your cat does not need your help grooming - they don’t need baths like dogs. However, your cat may enjoy a good brush a few times a week, which has an added bonus of being a great bonding moment between the two of you.
- Sleep - Last but certainly not least in the supercat mantra is sleep. Cats love sleep. We all love sleep. But cats actually need to sleep because that’s the way their body works. They are built for speed not distance, so after all the excitement of the above, your cat will want to settle down for a nap, satisfied with a full tummy and a sense of accomplishment. Let them. If they choose to sleep near you, great. Watch their paws twitch, their nose wiggle or their cute sleepy face. If they choose to sleep somewhere a little quieter and more secluded, leave them to it and refrain from following them and sticking your hands in their face for a fuss. Wake not a sleeping lion.