July was even more difficult on us than June. Maria had taken in two more kittens from her neighbor who were very sick. A buff tabby named Tater Tot was the most ill. The Vet told us it was the “wet” form of FIP which is fatal. His sister, Latte was struggling with a terrible upper respiratory infection. Maria took time off from work to care for the cats around the clock. Neither of us slept much. I researched alternative treatments, testing, anything I could think of while we expected that Tater wouldn't be with us for much longer.
©2012 Maria S. (inset). ©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Our amazing survivor-Tater Tot.
Because Maria is so good at what she does, she noticed that Tater had tapeworms. We ran more tests. His belly was big and round from the tapeworms, giardia and what was almost pneumonia. Once we started treatment he began to show improvement. It took a few weeks but we were very happy to take FIP off the table as we saw Tater eat on his own and gain weight.
King arrived in my home for a few days. He was quite the charmer, but he wasn't meant to be here for very long. Sam and I drove King to New Hampshire, to his new home where his mom, Judy was waiting to adopt him. I loved this home for him and this good woman and her sister. I never thought King had a chance and here he was 1400 miles from the palette factory in a safe, loving environment.
Two of my dear friends adopted Sabrina and Cutie Pie. Their mom, April, found a home in Brooklyn, NY and their sister Bon Bon was adopted in June.
We took on another pregnant mama named Winnie and got a new foster home here in CT. Donna and her husband, Paul are great foster parents. Winnie had five amazing kittens on 8.10.12 named Buttons, Bandit, Honeydew, Charly and Pinkie.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Mama, Winnie (inset) waiting to see Dr. Chris. Buttons flying high while Honeydew and sister, Bandit look on.
I took another fistful of Xanax and flew to Topeka, Kansas to tour the Hill's Global Pet Nutrition Center. I tiptoed through the “dark side,” but made some good friends and learned a lot more about pet food ingredients.
Something horrible happened to my cat Spencer. He stopped eating and hid. X-rays showed a strange mass in his sinus. I tried to prepare myself for the worst. It turned out to be a false alarm which added many more gray hairs to my head.
I was honored to be chosen as one of five members of the Animal Control Advisory Panel, overseeing the operations of our brand new town's Animal Control facility here in Newtown, CT. We had our first meeting and I was delighted to be nominated as Co-Chair of the committee.
Just as I was about to get inundated with kitties from Maria and Cyndie, I found a foster home for two of the remaining black kitties and the final one, Hello Dahlia, was adopted. We got the word that Miss Fluffy Pants found a GREAT forever home and Coco, Chichi, Choco, Tater Tot, Latte, Fred & Barney, and Willow arrived!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. (inset) the DOOD resting in his cage while his mysterious back injury slowly healed and a few months later enjoying the new cat tree in my office.
Chichi and Choco got adopted right away into a great home.
One morning, the DOOD couldn't get up and walk and was in terrible pain, growling or crying if we touched him. We did x-rays that showed nothing and began talking about taking DOOD to a neurologist or starting him on steroids. It took six long weeks, most of it forced cage rest, before he was well enough to walk again without pain. I think he fell down the spiral staircase to get into the basement where we store food for our feral cat, but we'll never really know what happened.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson getting oxygen before we raced him to the Emergency Vet and Intensive Care (inset). Jackson at home feeling better.
With Maria having space in her home open, we took on a kitty named Bongo who has nerve damage to his front leg. It had been a Hell of a month, but we kept on.
Opal went to a sanctuary and is doing well. She is becoming more friendly each day and she may one day be put up for adoption.
There was troubling news about King. He'd been struggling with chronic, severe and frankly bizarre ear infections. He had to have surgery, loads of daily cleanings, antibiotics. The other cats in the home weren't too sure about him. King faced losing his ears and his home, but his mom never gave up on him.
©2012 Maria S. Bunny Boo Boo (inset) with Bongo (left) and George (right)-who are all ready to be adopted! Email email@example.com for more info.
I rescued a knockout silver tabby Maine coon mix named Nico from a kill shelter in Georgia because I knew I could find him a home and I wasn't going to let him die.
Maria found a kitten in a parking lot she named, Bunny Boo Boo that she rescued on her own and we took on another cat whose former mom was going to lose her home if the landlord found out she rescued a cat from the parking lot nearby. We named him George and he and Bongo and Bunny Boo Boo are great friends.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hurricane Sandy, no power for almost a week-just a bad flashback to the year before when we got nailed at almost the same time by “Snowmageddon.”
Hurricane Sandy killed the power and made life HELL for a week making a mess of my home in Sandy Hook, CT.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. You are deeply missed, sweet girl.
Nico arrived and was adopted a few weeks later. The rest of Winnie's family found their forever homes. There were lots of inquiries about adopting kittens since the Holidays were approaching. Tater Tot, in a surprising twist, got adopted instead of Willow, who the family had come to meet. Willow, Fred & Barney and Latte were still with us waiting for their forever homes.
I got good news that King overcame his severe ear issues and was finally settling in with his new family. The other kitties were slowly accepting him and King was finding his place. His mom is the sort of adopter I always wish for-after a very rocky start, loads of vet bills and difficulties, she kept on. She never complained. She was completely devoted. My only hope is that her reward is enjoying the love of a very dear cat and hopefully a much easier future.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Our mascot of Covered in Cat Hair and my baby, Spencer before and after surgery.
Spencer had a very challenging dental cleaning where he lost two more teeth and surgery to remove a mass from one ear and another from inside the other. I prepared myself for bad news, but the shock came as the test results indicated it was an apocrin gland cyst with “no content”-meaning NO CANCER.
Sam and I cleared out the garage of recycling one bright sunny morning. After we were done we went to Panera Bread to have a late breakfast. While we were sitting there we saw police cars racing past. I knew something bad had happened and a few minutes later I heard the news of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, which you can read more about HERE and HERE.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My home town will never be the same again. The school is a few miles from my home.
Wanting to reach out and help heal the broken hearts in our town, I created “Kitties for Kids” a kitten-therapy for the children, first responders and residents of Newtown, CT. We were featured on national television news and major news outlets online. We got loads of donations of plush toys and the first children and parents began to arrive to visit our kitties.
Although we had no Christmas and sent out no card (for the first time in my adult life), the joy of knowing I was helping people and the overwhelming honor of so many people reaching out to us was my gift.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. We will never forget and find a way to heal our hearts.
It's been quite a challenging and painful year. I realize that 2013 may be no easier. All I can do is hope that I'll be better able to handle what is yet to come and that for the cats out there who need me, that I'll have the resources to help them when the time comes.
We began the year with a rescue, going beyond our comfort zone by taking on an adult, instead of an easy-to-place kitten. The cat was a huge, white, “biscuit head” tom-cat from Henry County Care & Control. I saw his photo and saw something about him that made me take action. I named him Jackson Galaxy in honor of the Cat Daddy/Cat Behaviorist on Animal Planet's hit show, “My Cat From Hell.”
©2012 Henry Co. Care & Control (inset). ©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson was a miserable wreck when we first took him into Kitten Associates as our first rescue of 2012.
Jackson had a rough start. He frightened Maria but we realized later it was because he was in great pain. He had a terrible infection from his neutering and he needed emergency surgery to correct the problem and get him back on the road to good health. By the end of the month, Jackson was on the transport headed to Connecticut to find his forever home.
©2012 Bobby Stanford (inset). ©2012 Leesiateh.com. Miss Fluffy Pants shortly before being adopted.
Our friend and volunteer, Bobby Stanford, told me about two cats living outside a palette factory in McDonough, GA. They were living in poor conditions and in danger of being hit by any one of the numerous fork lifts that raced around the premises. One of the two cats, a dirty, thin tuxedo we named King Arthur, seemed to be missing his back paws. Completely horrified I decided we'd help him and the other cat on the premises, who we named Miss Fluffy Pants, because we worried she was pregnant.
©2012 Maria S. (inset). King's mama, Judy. King's journey has been quite amazing. I'll be doing a more in-depth update on him in January.
I was fostering a little orange tabby spitfire named Bobette, along with her two boys, the third had just been adopted. Bobette needed surgery to repair her luxated patella, so I sat in on the procedure and helped her in recovery and for the next few weeks while she healed.
February was a month of discovery. We learned that King's missing paws were due to a birth defect. He didn't need surgery or prosthetics. He could walk on carpeting, but who would adopt this cat? King began to clean himself and gain some weight. He loved being petted until Miss Fluffy Pants came to join him.
Miss FP was not pregnant. We thought the two cats were friends at the factory, but they were not happy to see each other. With some quick thinking and the donation of a cat tree, Miss FP could sit high up, away from King and both cats relaxed into their new foster home.
©2011 Henry Co. Care & Control (inset). ©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette with one of her kittens while at the kill shelter and after surgery in Sam's loving arms.
We also learned the Miss FP was FIV+ which we knew would put a roadblock in our ability to find her a good forever home. With her taking up valuable foster care space I got to work trying to figure out what to do for her that didn't mean putting her in a sanctuary.
We were heartbroken to learn that after some behavior issues gave us a clue to trouble, Dr. Larry diagnosed Sam's cat, Nicky with Chronic Renal Failure. We began giving him sub Q fluids every few days and began to learn more about this condition and ways we could lengthen his life.
Jackson arrived in Connecticut and was placed with my friends at Animals in Distress, but fell ill after arriving there. They thought it was a mild upper respiratory infection and in time he was feeling better. By the second week of February, Jackson found his forever home with a loving family. We were all delighted.
©2011 Maria S. (inset) ©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Two of Bobette's boys, Jakey & Teddy.
Bobette continued her recovery, but was still limping. I had to separate her from her boys because she hissed and growled every time she saw them. The boys, Jakey & Teddy had a blast hanging out with my cats while I continued to try to find them a great home.
The saying is March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but this March was the opposite; quiet for a few weeks, then things started to go crazy.
Bobette had the staples taken out of her leg and due to a problem with the bandage removal she ended up biting my hand so badly I had to see a Doctor.
I found a blueish growth on my cat Gracie's abdomen. She had a dental done and had the cyst removed. It ended up being an Apocrine Gland Carcinoma, but was considered to be completely excised and of no further concern.
Jakey & Teddy were adopted together and Bobette was glad to see them leave.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Me with Cat Daddy, Jackson Galaxy.
On March 26th, a few days before my birthday, Jackson Galaxy emailed me and asked me out to lunch (which ended up being dinner). It was one of the best days of my life, but that wasn't all that happened. That night in the frigid cold in nearby Trumbull, CT, six mostly black kittens were born to a gray mama named April. I didn't realize it at the time, but they would be my next foster family.
The next day, still buzzing from my visit with Jackson, I was honored by Freekibble.com with a donation of a full palette of Halo® canned cat food! The press came to document the event and I started to wonder if the foster cats would eat it (they loved it!).
The Worst Birthday Ever was followed by picking up April and meeting her mostly all black female kittens for the first time. Three kittens were polydactyl and there was no way I was going to be able to tell most of them apart for the next eight weeks.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. April and her kittens.
I rescued a senior cat named Leo who was an adorable long haired tuxedo. The poor cat was forced to live outside on scraps when his owner's wife had a baby. I begged my friend Katherine to take him into Animals in Distress if I paid the Vet bill. We worked something out and Leo was saved. A few months later, Leo and a second cat found an amazing home with a family I found for them here in town. They are doing GREAT.
A missing cat alert showed up in email with a very familiar name, Amberly. One of my former foster cats was MISSING and the family didn't have the nerve to tell me. I leapt into action. Thank GOODNESS Katherine has good instincts and lived nearby the family. By the next DAY Katherine found Amberly and the family promised to work harder to keep her inside.
©2012 Maria S. (inset) and Robin A.F. Olson. Coco, all grown up with siblings Choco and ChiChi (inset).
Maria contacted me about a tortie mom cat we named Cami and five kittens in her neighbors yard. She was very worried about them so I told her to find a place to put them and we'd take them on. By the time Maria got back to the home, two of the kittens were gone, never to be seen again. We named the surviving kittens Coco, ChiChi and Choco.
On May 1st a shelter called AnimalKind in upstate New York suffered the total loss of their facility after a small fire caused the sprinkler system to flood the 3-story building. Through my contacts a pet product companies I was able to provide them with palettes of food and litter. Later in 2012 I visited their facility and met with their Director, Katrin Hecker. You can read about my visit HERE.
I travelled to New Jersey to attend Bottle Baby Bootcamp at Tabby's Place. The timing was great because the black kittens needed help since poor April was having a tough time feeding all the kittens. I worried the littlest one wouldn't make it, but Cutie Pie surprised me and began to do well. I named her sisters Sabrina, Bon Bon, Beauty, Belly Holiday and Hello Dahlia (in honor of my friend, JaneA's cat Dahlia who had recently passed away).
Then a crazy thing happened.
JaneA came to visit us and instead of falling in love with her cat's namesake, she threw me a curveball, clearly falling in love with our little spitfire, Bobette. She adopted her the next morning before she left for her home in Maine. It was a one of the happiest adoptions I'd ever done.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. JaneA with her girl, Bobette (who she later named, Kissy)
By the end of the month there was more somber news. Jackson the cat lost his home and was being returned. Since I had space I offered to take him back since AID was full up.
June will forever be a tough month for me since it's the anniversary of my Father's passing and of my favorite cat's passing. I hoped that this June would not be under such a dark cloud but it was not meant to be.
Thankfully it wasn't all bad news. After months of searching, begging, dealing, I was able to get Miss Fluffy Pants transferred to Good Mews in Marietta, Georgia.
©2012 Maria S. (inset) and Robin A.F. Olson. Willow is still looking for her forever home! You can visit her Petfinder page HERE
Maria, our cat-magnet, rescued a cat from a tree. She named her Willow and we added her to our group of rescues in Georgia. Meanwhile, I got a curious email from a lady in New Hampshire inquiring about King. She had a fully carpeted home. She had two cats. Did I think King might be happy with her?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Me, Jill Delzer (center) and Ingrid King (far right). Inset: Joanne McGonagle, Me with Gracie the cat.
And for the first time in many years, I took a fistful of Xanax and boarded a plane headed to Salt Lake City where Sam and I were Speakers at BlogPaws 2012. I was up for two awards that I did not win, but I had so much fun and made a great new friend. In those few days I was re-energized enough to keep doing rescue work once I got home.
Maria removed another cat from her neighbor (with his consent)- who NEVER spays or neuters his cats. Maria has tried repeatedly to get the cats taken care of but he just puts it off and his cats get pregnant. A nine month old kitten named Opal, who had become almost feral, was pregnant. Our new foster mom, Cyndie offered to take her in and help her along. Sadly, the stress of being in a home pushed Opal in to premature labor. Four kittens were born, but after extensive attempts to save their lives, only two survived. She named them Fred & Barney. We had their siblings Pebbles and Bam Bam cremated and their little wooden urn is here with me placed next to my cat, Bob's ashes.
Poor Jackson Galaxy the foster cat. Late last year I rescued this big lug from a Kill Shelter in McDonough, Georgia. He had no hope of rescue since it was so close to Christmas and many rescues couldn't take another adult, but once I saw him I had to save his life. There was something about him, his great size, but sweet vibe that told me this was a kitty who needed to be spared being euthanized.
Fortunately, my friend Katherine from Animals in Distress (AID)said they would take him into their shelter, since I had my hands full. It worked out beautifully and Jackson arrived in January of this year. You can read all about it HERE.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The most tranquil and Buddha-like Jackson.
I also told Jackson Galaxy, the swanky Cat Daddy from Animal Planet's hit show, “My Cat From Hell,” about this apple-head Tom cat. He felt the same vibe and wanted to lend a helping hand. He offered to provide a FREE 15 minute consultation with whoever adopted the cat. I was delighted!
In less than a few weeks a family stepped forward to adopt Jackson. They had other cats and a dog. There was some concern about how he would get along with everyone, but since Jacks did so well at the shelter, not picking fights or bothering with the other cats, that they gave him a chance.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The image that started this journey. How could you say NO to that cat?
Sadly, I don't know all the details, but the basics are that the other cats picked on and attacked Jackson. Jackson didn't cause any trouble at all. He didn't love the dog, but he didn't fight. He tried to stay clear of the cats, but they were violent with him. Eventually the family gave him to their Mother-in-Law since she had no pets. Jackson did fine with her, but then her husband died.
The Mother-in-Law visited her family often and brought Jackson with her. This constant upheaval caused the other cats to continue to attack Jackson. The woman was between a rock and a hard place-either she stop seeing her family, leave Jackson alone or give Jackson back to AID.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The Return of Jackson Galaxy.
I know that the family had a very tough time letting Jackson go and I know they ALL cried about it. They shouldn't be vilified for their choice. Jackson was very dear to them, but with the problems with the other cats, they decided it would be best to let him go.
I think there's a point at which people have made up their minds and you can't tell them to try to re-introduce Jackson or to not travel with him and get him a pet sitter; to work it out differently so Jackson wouldn't lose his home. The point was passed before we had a chance to intervene and on Friday, Jackson was brought back to the shelter.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Investigating his new home.
As fate would have it, AID was beyond full up, but they HAD to take Jackson. I felt responsible and tried to figure out what I was going to do, but Bobette was here taking up the only space I could use for Jackson. It just worked out beautifully that JaneA Kelley adopted Bobette while Jackson waited in a cage at the shelter for space to open up here. He only had to wait a few days.
I brought Jackson home yesterday afternoon and got him settled. My home is the fifth home Jackson's lived in in as many months. He is a bit anxious. He wants OUT of his foster room, but I need to give him and my own cats time to adjust to Bobette being gone and to the new arrival.
Jackson's coat is in terrible condition. It's dry and feels tacky. He must have been fed junk. His eyes are a bit runny and he has feline acne, which I'm already treating homeopathically and with diet. I've been brushing him a lot and trying to soothe his fears. He seems ready to meet my cats and just hang out, but I fear he will break with an upper respiratory infection from all the stress he's been under, so I have to wait a few more days.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Simply, Jackson. Visit his Petfinder Ad HERE
Jackson will be fine here until we get a great home for him. He's very likable and loving and meows like mad when he gets lonely. I hope he and my cats become friends. He deserves to have a good experience with other cats.
Jackson's very lucky. He not only has me and Katherine looking out for him, but Jackson Galaxy, the man himself, is also this cat's Guardian Angel. Mr. Galaxy took a liking to this big Buddha of a cat and is dedicated to helping us find our boy a great forever home.
With so many people on his side, I just know that one day the REAL forever family for Jackson Galaxy the cat will find him. Until then I get to say I'm living with Jackson Galaxy! How cool is that?
If you're interested in adopting Jackson, visit Kitten Associates Adopt Page and fill out a Pre Adoption Application. Though we prefer adopting within the United States and the area in or around Connecticut, for the right adopter, we're open to discussing an adoption that is further out of state.
If fans of Jackson Galaxy, the punk-abilly “Cat Daddy,” who stars in Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell,” weren’t already swooning over his “catuitive” techniques; Galaxy’s first book, “Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love and Coming Clean,” would push them into catastic bliss.
His story, which runs a breezy-to-read 300 or so pages, is not your typical tale of how a cat changed a human’s life. It’s a tag team relationship that spans thirteen years—many of which, for Jackson, are overshadowed by his intake of a dizzying array and quantity of illegal drugs, alcohol and prescription medications. And there’s his cat, an owner-surrendered white and gray shorthair with a broken pelvis named Benny who acts as both witness and muse (though more often he plays the part of a Gremlin, flipping off Galaxy’s initially arrogant assessments of his non-human-friendly behaviors).
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. For the first time in his life, Spencer wishes he could read.
I had a chance to speak with Mr. Galaxy a few days before his book hit the store shelves. Ready with my questions, I waited nervously for him to call, wondering if it would matter that due to a snafu, I hadn’t gotten an advance copy of his book to read! As in our previous conversations and sole “4-hours-I’ll-never-forget-dinner,” within 30 seconds of our conversation beginning, I was unable to maintain my professional distance and conduct the 10 minute interview (which somehow went for 30 minutes).
Instead, Jackson clearly wanted to tease me, to charm me and to lay down the law. All fun and games aside, there’s a churning passion in this man’s heart that’s simply electrifying. His book, “Cat Daddy,” serves up his passion on a brilliant platter, but be careful, there’s a Petri dish on top, incubating a lifetime of pain. Galaxy repeatedly falls flat-faced onto the floor from a near overdose of drugs. You wonder how someone so decidedly “over-sensitive” to the world around him, who works so hard to cocoon himself from feeling, is ever going to survive, but somehow he does and then some.
©2005 Dr. Jean Hofve DVM. Used with permission. Benny near the window in Jackson's former Boulder, Colorado apartment.
The cure for what ails Galaxy walks on four, albeit one gimpy, legs. Benny’s a physically and emotionally broken cat who gets under Jackson’s skin and who metaphorically rips him to shreds until he learns how to feel again. Galaxy finds in Benny the key to unlocking both their inner demons though the transformation doesn’t happen overnight. His endless dedication to solving the mystery that is Benny, supercedes any need for a drink, a smoke, a snort.
What’s curious is that Galaxy stated he didn’t experience “Bobby Brady fireworks” when he realized his emotional over-sensitivity was exactly what was needed to help him get into the heads of the cats at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, where Galaxy worked in the early 1990’s. One night, during a violent thunderstorm, the cats began to literally scream in fear. He was a rocker, dammit, and his band Pope of the Circus Gods was going to hit it big some day. What was he doing testing his theories on how to help soothe the cats anxiety during such extreme stress when he could be writing the next hit single?
Yet Galaxy told me that after the storm passed, exhausted, he slumped against the wall of the cat room, soaked to the skin from the leaky ceiling, and realized he was surrounded by cats who were no longer panicked from the storm. Instead of bliss, it’s resignation. He sighed and said; “Shit. You’re a fool not to notice a defining part of your life.”
From “Cat Daddy”:
“Despite the sweaty layer of pharmaceutical shrinkwrap that muted my physical, spiritual and psychological self, I forced myself to read, to study, to observe, to learn. Despite what I didn’t want to be, something was growing.”
Galaxy’s words are unvarnished, sharp-witted and equally sharp-tongued— especially when he talks about being chided for euthanizing animals. After he explains why it’s reprehensible to vilify someone for purposely ending the life of a shelter animal just to ease overcrowding he writes:
“The job had to get done, and I would do it, but I would do everything in my power to change the necessity at its source: I would commit to spreading a strong message about spaying and neutering…”
Can I get a Hallelujah here?
There are other equally important messages in “Cat Daddy.” One such message touches on the importance of feeding a species appropriate diet (and you know how I feel about that-right on Mr. Jackson!), as well as sprinkled throughout the book there are helpful cat behavior tips. My only pet peeve is that I would have loved to see the tips grouped together at the END of the book. Galaxy’s story is one I want to sit down and read without the distraction of a specially formatted callout begging me to read it before I get back to the story. In fact, I read the book a second time, ignoring the tips and the tale landed a stronger punch.
©2005-ish Jackson Galaxy. Sweet Benny.
If you share a passion for cats and are confused about how to co-exist appropriately with them, this book, though not specifically a cat behavior guide, lends a friendly hand. In a way it’s like reading two books in one because you also get to hold tight as you bear witness to Mr. Jackson’s Wild Ride.
When I asked him about his growing celebrity he laughed it off. He has “no patience for what he sees—entitled celebrity B.S.” Sure, he’d like to spoil himself by maybe flying First Class” or buying five pairs of glasses but doing anything beyond that—even buying his first house seems “too big to think about right now.”
I found it ironic that Jackson wrote that his father, grandfather and brother were all salesmen, but he was not. I think Galaxy missed what seemed obvious to me after reading “Cat Daddy.” That he’s the best salesman in his entire family. He’s sold millions of fans who watch his show or read his book on the idea that cats are not little people in cat suits, who think and act just like humans and should be treated accordingly.
After a decade of addiction, once truly clean and sober, ready for a fresh start, Galaxy writes about a turning point with his cat, Benny: “I began to approach him as the cat he was, not as a differently shaped human, and he responded.”
Jackson Galaxy just celebrated his ninth year “sober-versary.” I asked him if the stress of the book tour and 62-day shooting schedule of MCFH Season Three was going to push him into old (bad) habits. He said the all too familiar quote about the idle hands being the Devil’s workshop and that these days the only thing he does other than work is eat, sleep and feed the animals. Staying busy keeps him out of trouble and so far he’s still very thankful and humbled by what’s happened so far, which was clearly evident during our interview when he described just how amazed he feels about this journey.
Wow, indeed, Jackson. You’ve come a long way, Cat Daddy.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Cricket, my former feral feline, thinks “Cat Daddy” is worth making his own as he adds his scent to the spine.
I received a copy of this book for review purposes only. The review above is based on my opinion only. Your results may vary. Read with a box of tissues nearby.
Did you know Natioanl Hairball Awareness Day is April 27th? Our friends at Furminator want to remind everyone about the importance of keeping your pets groomed, not only to alleviate nasty hairballs, but to encourage bonding between cats and their guardians and to help keep your cat feeling comfortable. Mats on any animal are painful. As they get bigger and thicker, they pull on the skin making every step uncomfortable, then cause infections and bleeding. I'll discuss Furminator's de-shedding tools and some grooming tips in another post. For now let's focus on the strange and bizarre (my favorite!) request the Furminator folks asked of me.
A select number of cat bloggers were invited to create, what I call a “Fur-lebrity” (celebrity look-alike) out of cat fur! Sound insane? Yes, I'd say so! The rules were simple, groom your cat and use the fur and whatever else you need for your creation. Who you create is up to you.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My fur-lection of cat fur.
I do not consider myself to be crafty, but I did go to art school so I had some hope I could pull this off.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Gathering some tools I think might help.
Who would I try to create? I immediately thought of Jackson Galaxy, but then realized I had no way to recreate his brilliant tattoos. I wanted to do someone who is easily recognizable-then it hit me-I would re-create Angelina Jolie's newsworthy leg flash at the 2012 Academy Awards. It went viral in seconds. Her LEG got it's own Twitter page, followed by the creation of a MEME showing classic images with her leg added to them. If you haven't seen it, you can look HERE.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. We have fur. We have photo. Now what do we do?
I had NO clue how I was going to pull this off. I did research and gathered images. I called my friend, Irene and asked her to help. We both got to work brushing our numerous cats and made plans to get together for a planning session. Was I overthinking this? Yes! But I REALLY want that First Prize donation!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Felting the fur, then making a curl. COOL! I can do this!
My shorthairs really shed like crazy and I got a TON of fur off of them. Pee-tunia loved being brushed. I must have brushed her for 30 minutes and I could have kept going her fur is so dense! Because it's so dry this time of year, static electricity built up and I wore almost as much fur as I removed from my cat.
The longhaired cats didn't contribute much, but their fur was softer and easy to work with, especially the DOOD's.
I bagged each cat's fur separately since I'm anal retentive, plus I thought if we had to dye the fur we'd know how much we had up front. Heck, I could always get more as long as didn't make my cats bald.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The LEG. I think Angie is gonna have to shave it!
Irene and I spent many hours working, scratching our heads, making weird faces, feeling confused. We went to a craft store and found lots of goodies that inspired us to keep going.
After we'd found lovely little detail items, we really got to work. Felting cat fur is fairly easy, you just rub it into the shape you want and it stays that way. Irene and I were both covered in cat hair as we worked. We tested, ripped apart, started over. We got Angelina's dress sorted out and I thought it looked spot on. We even got the pleats correct. I started to get into making every little thing I could think of. I made her a little purse, adding earrings and a ring. I even added strips of gray fur to suggest her tattoos. She has one on the inside of her right arm and the longitude and latitude of where her children were born tattooed on her left arm (to cover a tattoo she got of her ex, Billy Bob Thornton's name).
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The gown is lookin' fine!
We kept looking at our reference images. I kept asking myself if there was enough fur being used? How creepy is her face if we SEW on her features? Yes, it's creepy, but just using a doll face seemed like cheating. Irene and I kept looking at each's others contributions. I did the leg, she did the face. I made curls. She sewed the dress once I got the fabric pinned. All said and done, we were really happy with the finished Fur-Lebrity. We even found sparkly red paper we could use for the Red Carpet.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Angelina Meow-y.
Before I photographed our entry, I had to use a LINT ROLLER to get the cat fur OFF part of the gown! Seemed a bit ironic to need to do that.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. What a cute couple!
Then Irene's niece, Chris sent us a surprise! She created a spectacular Jackson Galaxy! Now I had a problem-we could only enter ONE Fur-lebrity! I felt like I was in a warped version of Sophie's Choice!It was a very difficult decision, but in the end, I went with Angelina. I sure hope Jackson doesn't feel betrayed!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Don't be mad at us, Jackson! You know we love you!
If you'd like to see the other entries, just click on the badge, above. I'm going to go vacuum up some cat hair.
I managed to not drive like a moron, get us lost or scare Jackson with the driving skills I learned when I attended the Skip Barber High Performance Driving School in 2000. Sure, I know threshold breaking and about contact patches, but does Jackson need a demonstration in the middle of the night? Taking a curve on an exit ramp at 80 mph is much more exciting during the day, anyway.
All roads lead to CVS.
We found a CVS, a different location, but part of the same chain I’d been in that morning to buy mascara. We were the only ones in the place other than a lone employee. It was surreal shopping under the painful glare of fluorescent lights with the snack deprived Cat Daddy.
Jackson had the hood up on his jacket to keep his head warm. I looked at him from a distance and tried to imagine how I’d feel if I was shopping and looked up and saw him without knowing who he was. Would I swoon? Be intrigued? I think he would have scared the [censored] out of me. He is so tall and was so bundled up, all I could see was his face, dark beard and sharp-lined glasses, his dark eyes darting back and forth over the choices in the snack food area. But then, Jackson walked over to the aisle where the “As Seen on TV” stuff was located and mischeviously said that “Furniture Fix,” which are interlocked plastic strips you stick under the cushion of a “blown out” sofa or chair, actually work. See? Never judge a book by his cover.
I told him I used plywood and it just made it feel like the sofa was blown out and the cushion was on the floor, but was glad to know that FF actually works (no, that is NOT a JG Productions endorsement—sheesh!).
Then I pointed at the box for Pajama Jeans, which are my new favorite thing to make jokes about now that Snuggies are passé. I wonder what the world is coming to when people are so lazy they can’t be bothered to take off their pajamas and get dressed. Wait! What was I saying! I live in my pj’s half the time. Who sees me? Maybe I should get some Pajama Jeans? At least they were dry!
Every fashionista's worst nightmare, but they come in “skinny” AND “boot cut.” How cool is that?
We walked up and down the aisles and looked at the cavalcade of crap: chips and nuts and candy, oh my. We made jokes, talked about what we liked or hated. We both liked Cap’n Crunch® when we were kids. Jackson chose something salty (pretzels, what I always get, too!) so I told him he had to get something sweet to balance it and he agreed. We both sneered at the Oreo®’s (Sorry, Nabisco®). Then Jackson pointed out that peanut butter stuffed pretzels are ALWAYS sold in tubs, never in a small bag or box. I pretended to cry and said that from now on, every time I saw those stuffed pretzels I’d think of him. Then I realized “there’s many a true word said in jest.”
Jackson gathered a few items and went to the check out. I used my Jewish super powers (my Mother was Jewish so she handed her powers down to me before she died) to guilt him into not buying RedBull® for the next day's recording session out of fear of what that buzz would do to his digestion, let alone blood sugar (he wisely chose water).
As we stood at the checkout, the young man at the register didn’t realize who was right in front of him. I looked at the kid’s nametag. It read; “Jackson, ”so of course I started frantically poking Jackson’s arm to get his attention to look at the name tag and he whispered to me that he already noticed and that I was slow! What a joker. Gotta love that guy.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson with his “mini-me” that a volunteer named Chris Fetcho made for Kitten Associates. It's created out of “furminated” cat hair, wool and a maxi pad. Yes, there's a maxi under his shirt…under the faux-Jackson's shirt! Sheesh.
The short drive back to the hotel went just as smoothly as the drive to CVS. Why I didn’t floor it and kidnap Jackson so I could have him all to myself is beyond me. But no, I had to be a good girl and go back to the hotel when I had the chance of a lifetime. I blew it! I’ve never been in jail before nor had a reason to be. I'm such a twit!
Poor Jackson was half asleep in the car. The jet-lag had kicked in full force and I knew it was time to say goodbye.
…Really? Come on.
We gave each other a big hug and that was it. I didn’t even score a peck on the cheek, [censored][censored][censored], but I can dream, can’t I? This is MY story about dinner with Jackson so I can write whatever I want!
I think we were both too tired to say much more. I would have liked to tell him good luck with everything and thank you for dinner (thank you!) and a million more things, but I had an hour and a half drive to get back home, so with great reluctance I got back into my old car, I mean my COOL Black BMW (pwned it!) and pointed it west as Jackson’s figure disappeared, the Lobby doors closing behind him.
At least I’d been able to snag Jackson’s yellow wallet during the hug as a souvenir. His Driver's License is a trip! There's a black wavy mustache drawn over his face in the I.D. photo.
I got home at 12:30 AM. The drive along I-95 was spent following an ambulance running lights and sirens. Though I stayed far back from the vehicle, in a way it felt like I was getting an escort home, so I pretended I was a high ranking Government Official (officially tired).
I’d had a cup of tea while Jackson and I shared dessert earlier that night. (OMG I SHARED dessert with Jackson…swoon!) I’m very sensitive to caffeine and only have it, at most, once a day and well before 5pm, otherwise I can’t sleep. I chose to have tea late, knowing full well I’d have to be awake to drive home.
So there I lay, in my own bed, with dry (yay!) pajamas on, my porn star hair getting flat, covered in cats. My heart was racing from the adrenaline and the caffeine. I tossed. I turned. I got up to pee and stepped in a puddle of cat urine that was on the floor by the toilet. I saw one of the cats sitting in the doorway. It was Pee-tunia. I know she did it: the little [censored]. I sighed. It was too late at night to yell, plus WWJD? He wouldn't yell at the cat so I cleaned everything up and went back to bed. I tossed some more. I kept reliving the evening. I told myself to cut it out, to focus on the next day. Some folks from the local media were going to be here to document my rescue group, Kitten Associates, receiving it's biggest donation ever-2500 cans of cat food from HALO. I’d have to be fresh and on point for them. See, Jackson, I’m famous, too. Okay, not like you are, obviously, but…but…but…okay, maybe having my photo in The Newtown Bee and The Danbury News-Times does not qualify me for being “famous, ” but it’s something.
The only physical proof, other than a beard hair I found in my car that this night really happened.
I couldn’t sleep a wink. I tried to rest. I knew I was going to pay for it later. I’d told Jackson if he wanted to hang out while he was in town, to let me know. Since there was a slim chance I’d see him again, it was another reason not to want to sleep. I wanted the day to get going so I could find out if I’d see him again; the heck with the Press!
-------------later that morning------------
I did my best to get up and go through my normal routine. I got ready for the Media to arrive, but I was so tired I didn’t do everything I wanted to do before they got to my house. I called Paula at the freight company, expecting her to tell me that the shipment would arrive some time in the afternoon. It was 11am. She said the driver should be there by Noon, the latest. NOON?!! Oh no!
I sent out a few quick emails and made some calls, letting everyone know about the time change. They all made plans to arrive, but would miss the actual delivery. I heard something up on the street. I looked up. The truck was at the end of the driveway, on the street. Oh [censored]! It was 11:15!
I ran to the front door and opened it and almost walked into the driver. He apologized and told me the bad news. He would not drive his truck down the dirt driveway and drop off by the garage, so he’d have to drop the 1100 pound load about 200 yards away, leaving us to have to unpack the palette, load up a car, drive down the driveway, unpack the car, repeat four times, then re-load the palette with 290 CASES of CAT FOOD once it was moved into the garage. UGH!
I’ll cover more of this story and complain about My Backache From Hell later…back to Jackson…
Actually, there really isn’t a lot more to say about Jackson. I was still “high” from meeting him, but the reality that it was over and done and that I probably wouldn’t see him again, either ever or, at best at a Conference some day, left me feeling broken-hearted. I realize it’s stupid to feel like that, but I was greedy. I’ve been yearning to have fun for so long that when I got a taste of it I wanted more.
It’s not realistic to think that Jackson is available to be my buddy, especially now, with so much on his plate for a very long time to come. If we met under different circumstances maybe we’d be able to hang out and get to know each other, but we live 3000 miles apart. I tried to be happy that anything happened at all, but it just reminded me of how sad I’ve been for so long that I wondered if maybe I should have just stayed home in the first place.
Are you [censored] kidding me? Miss out on meeting Jackson Galaxy? Never.
After the Press left and the palette was moved, I went to bed. It was 4:25 pm. If Jackson was going to contact me about getting together, it would be within the next hour. I set my alarm for 30 minutes, not wanting to miss anything. Of course as soon as I laid down, I got texted by my ex-sister-in-law, who I adore, and who wanted to know if we could get together later in the week. I didn’t want to talk. I had the shakes from being so tired. I wanted to sleep, but I stayed awake and texted her for a while. I kept checking my email, just in case Jackson contacted me, but nothing new appeared in my inbox.
I re-set the alarm for 6pm, knowing in my heart that I wasn’t going to hear from him. I didn't sleep at all so I got back up and moped around the house. At 7:30pm I got a note saying he was hunkering down. There was simply too much going on with the show and the book and the…so he was going to stay in for the night. The Inn sent some chocolate covered strawberries to his room, making him feel like a “rock star.”
I wrote him back and said I understood and wistfully told him to save me a strawberry.
I went downstairs and ate a scoop of ice cream for my dinner. A second day had passed and I’d hardly eaten, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t hungry. I was just sad. I had a good cry, then washed my face and went to bed. I have to face my boring life and go back to worrying about getting my taxes done, how I was going to pay my mortgage, when I was going to get my car fixed. I didn’t want to go back to all that without first promising myself I’d work on figuring out why I was so sad and how I could make changes to enjoy my life more.
I would pick myself back up, gosh darn it, just like in a 1950's musical. I’d focus on my work and focus on my words. I'd rescue more kittens. I'd wash that man right out of my (porn star) hair. I’d had a very nice run of good news after a very long drought. Meeting the Cat Daddy was as wonderful, if not better, than I imagined. He’s probably as good of a people-whisperer as he is with cats.
At least we’ll always have CVS and peanut butter stuffed pretzels.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson & Jackson Galaxy. This is how I would have preferred to end this post, but unicorns are tough to come by this time of year. Honestly, are we a cute couple or what?
As fate would have it, I got another email, but this one wasn’t from Jackson and what it said made my Grinch-sized smile grow three times larger. But what could possibly top this? We'll see my friends. We'll see.
A serious note: To all of you who one day have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Galaxy, do me a favor won't you? Treat him kindly. Protect him from stress. Don't ask too much of him right now. Give him some breathing room so he can stay clear, keep his Cat Mojo intact, stay sweet. The kitties need him and so do we.
Of all the scenarios of the first moment I'd lay eyes on Jackson I’d shuffled through my head, Jackson brushing his teeth wasn’t one of them. Jackson mumbled to come in as his electric toothbrush whirred away, then headed into the bathroom to finish up. It felt a bit awkward, but sort of intimate at the same time. I made a dumb joke about having good oral hygiene, but my tongue got tied and Jackson missed what I said. I hung my Hello Kitty 20th Anniversary Jacket over the back of a chair and put my Tokidoki messenger bag onto the floor near the writing desk. Jackson entered the room and apologized for not being ready. I shook it off and said “Hello Jackson!” and held my arms open to get a hug, to which Jackson, without hesitation, walked over and threw his arms around me. I must say, Jackson gives good hug.
I took a look around the room. It was spacious and probably had a view of Long Island Sound, but it was a bit too dark to tell. There was a big bed at one end of the room. That’s where Jackson sleeps, I thought. Where is the sign over the bed marking the occasion? Where is the cat? This room needed a cat. I should have let him borrow one of mine—maybe Pee-tunia. Yes, I bet you can guess why I call her Pee-tunia. Maybe Jackson could work with her? Maybe he could take her with him when he leaves? I had to tell myself to focus…get back on the program, stop wasting time. This wasn’t a commercial break where I could run to the bathroom or get a pizza. Jackson was sitting right in front of me!
“Artist's” (that means me), interpretation of Jackson in his room.
The décor was so NOT Jackson. It was frilly, and chintz-y and toile-y. I shook my head and laughed, then said something about it and Jackson agreed. It was quite amusing to witness the clash of Mr. Cat Daddy who was sitting on a chair, putting on his socks, in such a yuppie stronghold. He was wearing a green t-shirt that had a “Fidel Catstro” graphic on it and his jeans were soft blue and a bit worn. Since his forearms were exposed, I could see his trademark tattoos blazing up each arm. I wanted to touch them to see if they would move, but I didn’t dare. His earrings were bigger and bolder than my own small diamond studs. His signature facial hair was a bit grown out, though the beard that grew off his chin was long and dark. I noticed he would stroke it occasionally, as if it were a cat. Again, I wanted to find out what it felt like, but I kept my hands to myself. Why have all those colors and fun textures on your body if you don’t let other people touch them? Geez.
The buzz of nerves I was experiencing started to simmer. It was so curious to be with someone I’ve only seen on my television, now sitting in front of me, so casually putting on his shoes. I felt so lucky, not to see him put on his shoes (come on, really?!), but to be in the room with him.
Jackson’s at a very interesting point in his life. He’s about to start working on Season Three of “My Cat From Hell” and though he has a lot of notoriety, his star-power has not yet fully reached orbit. He has no entourage along with him on this trip and has the space to walk the streets anonymously from time to time. Jackson has rocket-powered momentum and great potential. He knows he can pay his bills doing consulting, but he could really hit it big, IF he can manage to survive all the additional challenges he has ahead of him.
Jackson finished getting ready as we talked. He’s very easy going and we were having a good chat, but we were both starving and eager to get some food. It was already almost 8pm so we decided to go to the hotel restaurant instead of search for food options elsewhere since things tend to close up early. We ain't in New Yawk City after all.
We got off the elevator, not knowing which direction the restaurant was, so we guessed left and headed towards the Check-In area. The woman at the Front Desk told us the restaurant was in the opposite direction, so we turned around to head back where we came from. Getting turned around was becoming a theme for the evening.
The restaurant looked small, but I could see it dog-legged (sorry, I don’t know any cat shaped directions) off to the left. The couple in front of us, was seated as Jackson and I stood at the Hostess stand, waiting. The Hostess looked up and smiled at Jackson then asked; “Your name, please?” I was about to say something so Jackson wouldn’t have to say his name out loud, but Jackson said; “Galaxy” which made me swoon. I know, I’m just a star-struck middle aged woman, but for that split second, the Hostess assumed I was a Galaxy, too. Like the Grinch, my smile, which is normally two sizes too small, grew three times bigger that moment and stretched wall to wall.
The Hostess smiled, selected two menus and said, “Right this way, please” and ”mind your step” as we both almost tripped down the stairs into a window-lined room that overlooked the Sound. I wished it wasn’t so dark so we could see the view, but I didn’t really care. I had what I wanted to look at sitting down at the table in front of me.
I had the option of sitting to Jackson’s right, on the padded banquette, or I could sit across from him and not only look at him as I ate, but at myself. There was a mirror running perpendicular to the banquette, behind Jackson’s head and the last thing I wanted to see was myself masticating away (I bet you think it was pervy that I wrote; masticating, but it means; chewing, so there). I told Jackson I didn’t want to watch myself eat so I took the seat closer to him—yeah, I’m smooth, right? Good excuse to get closer. Heh. Heh.
They sat us in a corner away from the other guests. I wondered if they realized who Jackson was and were giving us some privacy? I was so delirious at this point, I didn’t give it much thought. I was about to have dinner with Jackson Galaxy. Who knew? I said a silent prayer that for once in my life I wouldn’t drop something on my shirt while I was eating. I refer to myself as the “human drop cloth” so I had good reason to be nervous. I kept looking at the menu but the words didn’t make sense. Jackson was talking about something that was bothering him and I just wanted to help him talk through it.
The waitress came over to take our drink order and we settled on a bottle of sparkling water. A few minutes later, she came back and said they were out of what we wanted, but was Pellagrino okay? We both enthusiastically said yes, but I doubt either of us cared. She asked if we wanted lemon with our water and I blurted out that of course we wanted lemon, we were celebrating!
I flashed back to when I was in my 20's and at a restaurant with my father. He'd just flown in to Minneapolis for a business trip, where coincidently I was going to college. I was with my boyfriend, Paul, who my father was glaring at disapprovingly. To break the tension, when the waiter came over to the table I said it was my father's birthday. A few seconds later, a guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt carrying a ukelele came over to the table. Before anyone could speak, he played “You're Nobody Until Somebody Loves You” instead of “Happy Birthday.” My father was mortified, but Paul and I were giggling like idiots. I was feeling very playful and thought I should pull the same thing on Jackson. The waitress stopped and asked what we were celebrating. Jackson tensed up a bit. I felt like I put my foot in my mouth. The temptation was to say; “Our Anniversary” just to get a rise out of Jackson, but I got scared, then stumbled my words and said something about getting to meet each other or something lame like that—FAIL.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The best thing about this lobster roll was that Jackson Galaxy was a few feet away from it.
Eventually we ordered. I got a lobster roll and Jackson had salmon. Even though I’ve had a major jones for lobster for some time now I can’t tell you I tasted a single bite of my food. I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was chatting away with Jackson as if we'd known each other for years, instead of a few hours. He was kind enough to open up to me about some of the concerns in his life. I have to say it left me feeling very protective of him.
Even if there might be other equally great cat behaviorists, Jackson has our attention and because of his appeal to a wide audience, perhaps they’ll be inspired to create a cat “super highway” in their home and be more thoughtful about assuming their cat is out to get them when it could be sick or having an emotional issue. As this article was about to go to press the news came out about the ratings for Season Two: “My Cat From Hell, which features cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy tackling catastrophic cat cases, up 36% in season two” (which totally kicked the arse of the other programs on Animal Planet-hurrah!).
Jackson has the ability to help millions of cats stay in their homes and not be surrendered to shelters or abandoned to live on the streets. I wished there was something I could do to help him with this monumental task because I worried about the effects the stress has on him. He IS only human after all.
We had a lovely conversation. We didn’t only talk about cats. Jackson spoke about his future dreams for the show, for other things he hoped to achieve this year. We talked about our pasts, about weird cat problems, about cat rescue and the heartbreaking effects of compassion-fatigue. We picked at each other’s food. We made little jokes. I was happy and sad at the same time. I knew this dinner wouldn’t last forever, even if I wanted it to.
We must have sat there for a few hours, just nibbling and talking. We decided to head back up the room since I’d left my bag there. On our way out of the restaurant, one of the Chef’s stopped Jackson and asked for his photo. He was more than happy to oblige, but was a bit surprised that even in small town Connecticut, he was recognized.
A woman stepped forward to take the photo while I directed them under better lighting. Then I asked if she would take a photo of me with Jackson.
I’ve seen so many photos of Jackson posing at events with cat ladies, I had the idea to do a meme photoshopping Jackson together with all sorts of bizarre people and animals, too. But first it was my turn to join the distinguished group of “those of us who have stood next to Jackson Galaxy for a photo-op.”
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. At last. My moment in the sun with Jackson Galaxy.
Jackson put his arm around me and held me close and I returned the favor. Me likey! He leaned down to be nearer to my height. At 6’2” Jackson towers over me. After the woman gave me my iPhone back I showed Jackson the photo. He remarked; “I didn’t realize you were so little!” Me? Little? I was as happy as a cat with a Tickle Pickle™. Stick me with a fork, I'm done.
We went back to Jackson’s room and talked for a while longer. Jackson taunted me about his new iPad being superior to my first generation, but my iPhone is newer and has Siri and his doesn’t (so there, Jackson!). We downloaded apps and talked tech. I made him talk to my Talking Tom iPad app which repeats what you say, but it makes it sound like you just sucked on a balloon full of helium. It made me giggle. I was so happy I felt stoned.
If it hadn’t been so late, I think we could have kept talking for hours longer, but I could tell he was getting tired and I knew I shouldn’t overstay my welcome.
Jackson wanted to go to the store and didn’t have a car so I offered to drive us somewhere so he could get whatever he needed. Jackson grabbed the Room Service breakfast menu so he could place his morning order and he remarked at how much he loved room service breakfast. This is a man after my own heart, since I consider roughing it, not camping (because, hello! I am NOT a camper-ever), but staying at a hotel without room service. Jackson perused the menu, pondering what to get. I told him to get some apple juice since his tummy had been troubling him from the stress of the recent trip. He liked my idea then added a few other items. He kept looking at me oddly, challenging me that I ever lived in Minnesota. With his musician's ear he found my accent rather odd, something I never realized. It wasn't midwestern twang per se, but it wasn't clearly the nasal quality of a New York accent, either. He felt sure I must have lived in Chicago for a time, but I promised I had only visited there and that maybe my accent was a blend of Minnesotan and New York which would put me sort of into the Chicago area? I enjoyed the fact that he seemed to be puzzled by me. Of course, to me, I don't sound like I have an accent at all.
He was so tired I helped him remember his room number to complete the order. He got his jacket on and hung the menu on the door to be picked up later that night by the room service staff. He paused for a moment. I could tell he was so tired he needed help thinking again, so I said; “room key?” He checked and yes he had it. “Wallet?” Check. “Okay, let’s go.”
It felt so familiar to me to do this, as if we’d been traveling together before. Before we left the room, I took a look back and scanned the space, committing it to memory. There was Jackson’s suitcase. There was Jackson’s Mac Book Pro sitting on Jackson’s bed. There was Jackson’s new HD iPad sitting on the table, across from the flat screen TV. There was no sign of the guitar case with the cat eyes painted onto it, but I didn't expect to see it, either.Here I was, about to leave, the night almost over, as he pulled the door closed behind us.
I asked the young woman at the Front Desk where we could go to pick up a few snacks. She gave us the WORST directions in the universe. Good thing I basically knew where to go. Jackson was so sweet. As we were leaving the Inn he said; “Not to be mean or anything, but didn’t she seem matronlly? She’s so young to be acting so old.” I agreed. It made me sad. I hoped she was happier away from work. Maybe it was a Connecticut-thing for a twenty-something year old girl to be acting like…someone my age!? (Hey, at least I act young!)
Then I realized, wow, Jackson Galaxy is going to ride in my car! Precious cargo! I’d have to put a plaque on the passenger seat and prevent anyone from changing the position of it ever again.
We went outside. It was [censored] cold and windy. My car was parked a short distance from the lobby. Jackson teased me that I parked too far away. He oogled my old car and told me to “own it” and not be shy that I drive a BMW (that is 12 years old!). He teased me again asking what midget was in the car before him, when he tried to sit down and his long legs wouldn’t fit. I said that it was because there was a cat carrier on the seat a few days ago and to shut up. I can’t believe I told Jackson Galaxy to shut up, but I did.
He got his seat adjusted and I put the car into first gear. With the wind at our tail, we slipped off into the night in search of snacks.
…to be continued…
Have you ever watched a movie or TV show and asked yourself; “Oh how I wish I could meet that star? I think he’s so amazing! He should marry me, not that toothpick-esque starlet he’s dating.”
But what if that dream came true? What if you were faced with meeting someone you admire but don’t really know? How would the reality match up with the fantasy? Could anything live up to our wildest imagination? What would happen if it exceeded our dreams?
Many of you know I live a very quiet life. I’m home most of the time and often go days without even venturing past my own front door. I have much to do with the cats, with working and writing, but in my heart I yearn for more. I feel restless, perhaps brought on by a cliché mid-life crisis? I want to get OUT of here and go on a vacation, see something new, just put my everyday life behind me for a while or maybe move away. I gotta stop watching House Hunters International, it just makes me feel itchier.
I launched Facebook. Like many of you, I’m on there all the time. I saw that I had a message waiting for me and I tried to guess who it might be from before I looked at it. I wasn’t expecting anything, but just assumed it was from one of my girlfriends.
When I saw the “reply to name,” my heart stopped and my mouth fell open. It was from Jackson Galaxy. Jackson, the sassy-Cat-Daddy from Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell.” What in the world would Jackson have to say to little old me? Sure, I interviewed him and we spoke on the phone a time or two after that, but I couldn’t think of any reason why he’d write me.
It was a short note, letting me know that he was going to be in Connecticut to do the voice work for the audio book version of his new book, “Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love & Coming Clean”
…did I live nearby the recording studio? Did I want to maybe get lunch?
Who me?? Get lunch? With YOU???!!!!
Then reality sunk in…oh my God he’s going to be here in a few days. I do not have time to:
• Loose 50 pounds • Get some sort of plastic surgery • Think about important and/or clever things to say • Buy a new outfit • Become a dazzling new person all-together as I’ve seen happen on made-for-TV movies
I basically had time to get my car washed and maybe buy some new mascara since I’d been meaning to do that anyway. But, wait..JACKSON GALAXY wants to meet for lunch! Even if it never came to pass, he asked me! I felt a wave of adrenaline wash through my body. The somber expression I’ve worn these past few years vanished. I was ignited with energy from the sheer idea, alone, that this could come to pass.
Wow. I had to sit down. I WAS sitting down!
I’m glad I’m a Buddhist because I realized very quickly that my mind was spinning out of control and I needed to s-l-o-w down. Take a deep breath. Relax. Think it through. Robin, he’s just a man, just like anyone else. See? Your heart can slow down to a normal rhythm now.
Jackson was due to arrive to Connecticut on Monday and was going to leave on Wednesday or thereabouts. Of course, on TUESDAY, when it might be best for lunch, I found out that’s when Kitten Associates was going to get an incredibly huge and generous donation of canned cat food from HALO!
I had arranged for some of the local press to be at my home to interview me about the delivery so there was no way I could skip out and meet Jackson if he chose Tuesday as the day for our meeting.
But why did he ask me to lunch? Well, of course my mind started spinning again. I really had to stop letting my mind take off with various scenarios, I had to focus on getting things off my plate so I COULD go see him should the opportunity present itself.
As usual, I over-think everything. I realized I might be too enthusiastic about getting together and, in truth, Jackson IS a real person (right?) and from speaking with him a few times before, I got the sense that he was a very decent person, someone I respected. I didn’t need to feel awestruck.
So, as women tend to do, I decided to write a SHORT note, telling Jackson that I didn’t want him to worry that I was a freaky-fan or that I considered every moment of our time together to be an interview. Yes, I would write about meeting him—how could I not?
I’m all about the journey. Jackson trusted me enough to offer this meeting. I wasn’t going to blow it by trying to dredge up painful facts about a private person just to get hits on my blog. I just won’t do it. So, no interviewing, just hanging out.
Then I started to worry that I said too much and I didn’t look at my email again for the rest of the day. I was afraid of his reaction. Maybe I should have just shut up?
There was a message for me on Facebook. Low and behold it was from Mr. Galaxy. He changed his mind about us meeting for lunch. He offered to meet for dinner instead! Breathe, Robin, BREATHE! But when? Tonight? Tomorrow? Jackson was in communication lock-down while he was recording his audiobook so I couldn’t reach him to get the details sorted out.
There was a time in my life when if I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen and what time and where I was going I would get really annoyed. I found that the challenge of having to stay on my toes, not knowing if I needed to be ready to drive 50 miles or put my pj’s back on and watch tv that night was exciting. Gee, The Bachelor wasn’t on any more since Ben picked that creepy Courtney, so I had an extra reason not to want to stay home.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Maggie, my super-stylist, getting into the photo, while I grab a shot of my curls. She and I like to call this my “porn star hair”-perfect for meeting celebrities, right?
So I got busy. I got my hair done. I got my car washed. I got my glasses fixed…hey, they were falling off my head. I stopped myself from doing too much. Around 4pm I got home and got ready to go. I had a load of laundry running and my jeans were in the dryer. I put on some makeup and looked at my old face. I thought about all the cool women Jackson must meet who wear heavy eyeliner and lots of eye shadow. They probably have cool tattoos, too, whereas I have only some freckles. I went through that neurotic thing many of us all do, we don’t think we’re good enough just being ourselves. When I realized that, I stopped worrying. I’m fine the way I am. This is me, love it or not. I trusted that Jackson would appreciate me for my heart and my mind, even if everything else was a bit worn down.
At 5pm I got a message from Jackson. Did I want to meet for dinner that very night or Tuesday? I wrote him back, a bit worried he would be jet-lagged and told him I would do whatever was best for him and I was flexible (my mind was screaming to tell him I wanted to go now! not wait! but I didn’t want to be pushy)
He called me a few minutes later and said if I was up for the drive we could meet for dinner or not. He wasn’t ambivalent, but maybe the reality was kicking in for him, too? We spoke for a few minutes and immediately started to have a very energetic conversation. It was very apparent to me that we needed to meet and meet that night.
We started joking around and I told him I was going to get in the car and be there by 7:30pm. Then Jackson asked me if I was sure, realizing it was going to mean a late dinner (which, by the way, I hadn’t eaten a thing all day I was so nervous). I told him I wouldn’t sleep if we put it off for another day. He innocently asked me why. I just said; “Are you [censored] kidding me? I’ll be there as soon as I can!”
I ran up to the laundry room and my stupid jeans were stupid-wet! Ugh..I finished getting ready, while I tried to get my jeans to dry. Clearly they were going to need at least another 30 minutes so I just put them on. It was a disgusting feeling, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care it was 37° F outside and that it was incredibly windy, either. I’d crank the heat in the car and I’d forget about my jeans. I gotta go! I have a…meeting? What do I have? It’s not a date? Oh geez..there goes my mind again…next!
It’s 50 miles to the top secret location where Jackson was staying. He’s in a “Ye Olde Typical Connecticut Inn.” He even told me his room number! Yikes! He was really trusting me not to call ALL my CT cat rescue peeps and tell them where I was going. I wanted to tell the WORLD where I was going and who I was about to meet, but I didn’t dare do that. I didn’t want to be that sort of person. I hoped that Jackson and I could be friends and friends don’t betray their friend’s trust. Okay, I DID tell a few of my girlfriends I was going to dinner, but that was IT. I was in a purposeful news blackout online.
On I-95, a very dangerous stretch of highway, I almost got taken out by a Porsche rounding a turn in New Haven. Although I had the tunes cranked and was running through a million scenarios of what was about to happen, I drove very carefully and was able to get out of the way of the over zealous driver in time. It would be just my luck to get into an accident and never see Jackson in person!
At last I saw the exit I needed to take and got off the highway. My GPS said it was only 3 more miles. Just think, Jackson Galaxy is sitting in a hotel 3 miles from where I was at that very moment and I was one of the few people in the world who knew that.
I arrived at the location and my stupid jeans were still damp. It was windy as Hell and I didn’t care if my hair got messed up. I had a smile plastered on my face. My cheeks were sore from smiling so much. I walked into the hotel. I said hello to the woman at the Front Desk and asked to be directed to Jackson’s room since I knew the number. I was so excited I walked right past the elevator she pointed out to me.
Once I got to the correct floor, I walked right past Jackson’s room, not realizing it. I thought I was close, so I decided to text him: “Knock, Knock” instead of knocking on his door for real. I noticed I’d gone too far and turned around, trying to get to his door before he opened it. As I reached his room, the door opened.
There stood Jackson Galaxy…brushing his teeth.
…to be continued...
Are you ready for the 84th Academy Awards? Got your designer duds pressed? Zillion dollar jewels? Are you ready to ROCK the RED CARPET? If you've ever watched the Oscar's you know that before the awards show there are rooms set up, filled with Celebrity Swag Bags that can be worth into the thousands of dollars. If only WE could get into one of those rooms!
Gracey, of the Tiniest Tiger, preparing for the Oscars.
Thanks to The Tiniest Tiger, a popular blog about cats both big and small, we can walk the Academy Awards’ Red Carpet, too with our own Tiniest Tiger Hipster Bag that's FILLED with Oscar-worthy swag! How did we get so lucky? Here are the details from the Tiniest Tiger:
Joanne McGonagle, author of The Tiniest Tiger and co-owner of Triple T Studios, along with Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell” will be attending the Secret Room Events and Backstage Luxury Lounge where Celebrity Gift Bags are given to the nominees honoring the Academy Awards! Triple T Studios designed The Tiniest Tiger’s Hipster Bag filled with feline friendly products, which will be given to the VIP Celebrities at the event.
McGonagle spent last summer living among lions and the Maasai in Kenya as part of a Global Field Master of Zoology program. Her blog, The Tiniest Tiger, has raised over $30,000 to help both domestic and big cats programs. Proceeds from the sale of The Tiniest Tiger Hipster Bag benefits global conservation programs, with Lion Guardians getting the lion’s share
This one of a kind hipster features The Tiniest Tiger’s feline finesse quilted into the fabric creating a subtle yet cool cat appearance. The irresistible design combined with the hands free practicality of the cross body Hipster make this the perfect bag when you are on the prowl.
The Hipster is slightly padded, providing protection for your iPad, mobile phone, and other essentials. Handy front zip pocket keeps your ID, cash, credit cards and keys secure yet easy for you to access.
The bag's inside dimensions are 8 inches in width and 9.75 inches in length. There is also a zippered pouch in the front of the bag 6.75 inches in width and 6.75 inches in length. There are two inside pocket to help you stay organized.
The Tiniest Tiger Hipster Bag is made in the USA. See it being made HERE
It's also filled with $242.00 worth of swag! Check out the sponsors HERE
How do you get all this cool stuff?
Part of your purchase benefits global conservation programs!!!
The 90 minute #RedCarpetCat twitter party is being hosted by Event Barkers and promises to be fun and feline friendly. They will be giving away The Tiniest Tiger Hipster bag packed full of feline fun.
• RSVP signup prize: $50 The Tiniest Tiger gift certificate • Pre-tweet prize: 10 bundles of Tiniest Tiger books. • Rafflecopter giveaway prize: $50 The Tiniest Tiger gift certificate
• 5:30 party begins with announcement of some of the pre-party winners • 5:40 bag prize • 5:50 bag prize • 6:00 bag prize • 6:10 bag prize • 6:20 bag prize • 6:30 bag prize • 6:40 bag prize • 6:50 bag prize • 7:00 grand prize bag + $100 Tiniest Tiger gift certificate
Because we are one of the chosen cat-blogs to share the news of this event, the second way to win the Hipster is by leaving a comment here! I will have ONE Tiniest Tiger Hipster Bag w/Swag to give away! All you have to do is leave a comment on what was your favorite Oscar moment from any of the Academy Awards in past years or this year OR most creative excuse why you didn't watch the show! One winner will be drawn at random. Just about ANYONE can enter!
If you live in USA, Canada, Europe or Australia you can enter to win! Be creative! I might be swayed by a really good comment.
ONE COMMENT PER PERSON OR YOUR ENTRY WILL BE DELETED. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT I HAVE TO PERSONALLY APPROVE EVERY COMMENT ON THIS BLOG (to prevent Spam) SO YOUR COMMENT MAY NOT APPEAR IMMEDIATELY-but it WILL APPEAR EVENTUALLY!
Start preparing your acceptance speech! Good luck!
A week after Jackson Galaxy (the cat) arrived at AID, the folks that volunteered at the shelter noticed that the other cats were more relaxed with Jackson around. Now out of confinement and able to walk around the shelter, freely, Jackson simply oozes a mellow vibe that all the cats react positively to.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Givin' Jackson some luvin'.
I went to visit Jackson and to also take photos to use on Petfinder in the hopes that I could help him find a home. Jackson was very sedate with me, perhaps a bit too sedate. I heard him snort and gulp, then realize he might be getting an upper respiratory infection.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sleepy boy.
We took his temperature-such a nice thing to do so the cat can remember you fondly. Jackson wasn't too thrilled, but his temp hovered near feverish limits. I gave him a kiss and went home to worry. The next day I found out whatever was bothering him had passed and that he was much perkier-okay, perkier for him and I was not to worry.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson looks like he's meditating, but in truth he might be brewing something.
Another week passed and I was wondering if Jackson had had any applications on him yet. Surely such a fine beast would get placed quickly? I was about to call Katherine to find out if there were any updates when my phone rang. It was Katherine! She called to tell me that Jackson had just been adopted after only two weeks at the shelter!
He's going to a family that's adopted from AID before. They have three older cats and two golden retrievers. They know to go slowly with the introduction and so far, though Jacks wasn't too keen on the dogs, his reaction wasn't too bad. Jackson is eating well and getting on fine with the cats. It will take some time for things to settle down, but hopefully it will work out all right.
In the meantime, if they do have any problems, as fans of the hit Animal Planet show; “My Cat From Hell,” they already know some ways to work with their new family member.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Congratulations to Jackson and his new family!
It's a great Valentine's Day for one very special cat. Being on death row at the Kill Shelter is a distant memory now. Jackson Galaxy is safe and he found true love in the hearts of his new family!