If you haven’t watched “My Cat From Hell,” with cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy on Animal Planet, you might be a little surprised by the picture on the cover of “Cat Daddy.” A bald, tattooed, ear-pierced man is smiling in a bowling shirt with a cheetah print collar that has the words “Cat Daddy” embroidered on the front. An orange tabby perched on his shoulder completes the picture. Whatever he is, he certainly does not look like your typical cat lover, let alone a cat trainer.
This is exactly the stereotype Galaxy is trying to break. In his forward, Galaxy states, “We need to explode the concept of what a cat guy looks like, what a cat girl looks like. We need a country literally full of cat guys and cat girls … in order to keep millions [of cats] from dying without homes.”
And to Galaxy, it’s about more than just turning everyone into cat lover. It’s about healing cats and their owners when things go wrong.
Before he was a man with a mission, Galaxy was a drug- and alcohol-addicted musician. He played wherever he could and did the least amount of work he could to earn a paycheck to support his destructive habits. Along came a job at a local cat shelter and his first real interaction with cats. One cat in particular, Benny, became Galaxy’s original “cat from hell.”
“Cat Daddy” is not your typical how-to-train-your-pet book. While the book is peppered with sage advice on cats — how your cat thinks, what your cat wants, how to get your cat wanting the same thing as you — the main focus of this book is on Galaxy’s journey, a journey that was spurred by Benny, the foster failure that won Galaxy’s heart.
“My primary goal was to keep a promise to my cat friend that I would tell his story,” Galaxy says. “In turn, what I hope the reader will get out of this is a better understanding of how your cat sees the world — and if you don’t have a cat, to become fascinated enough by them to adopt one!”
The book will take you on a roller coaster of emotions — anger, frustration, sadness, joy — and will teach you a lot about cats along the way. Readers should be warned though, that this is definitely a book for a mature audience. There is graphic material, including extreme alcohol and drug use, violence and adult language.
Despite the difficult passages, the book contains stories of love, healing and the intense joy that comes with finding your higher purpose. It is a must-read for animal lovers, rescue workers, lost souls and anyone who has been touched by a cat in their life.