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The Return of Jackson Galaxy

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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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?

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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.

Addicted to Jackson Galaxy: A Review of the book “Cat Daddy”

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).

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©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.

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©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.

Through Benny, now all cats have a chance at being understood, for maybe the first time in their lives. This is a story I wanted to read, then read again.

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.

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©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.

You’ll navigate through the messy pieces (and there are a lot of them) of one man’s journey as he not only falls down, but dusts himself off, then with a swift kick to his own backside, he's up with a smirk and a drive that is pretty darn amazing—all while Benny challenges his every move.

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.”

He “feels blessed” for having his 15 minutes of fame (which will hopefully end up being much more) and he wants to spend that time helping cats. He doesn’t want another cat to die because of a behavior issue or as a result of people not spaying or neutering their cats. For Galaxy, it will always be “mission before celebrity.”

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.”

Cat Daddy has a lot of heart and heartache. There were moments I sat crying, reluctant to read the next words, but knowing I must. When I turned to the last page I realized I wanted to know more. What happens next? I was addicted to Galaxy’s story, of the life he shared with Benny, and maybe a little bit addicted to the man, himself.

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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.

“I was driving this stunning car [which will be featured in Season Three of MCFH] along the cliffs of Palos Verdes on a beautiful day. It was my birthday…and in that moment I had a moment of WOW.”

Wow, indeed, Jackson. You’ve come a long way, Cat Daddy.

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©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.

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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.

You can purchase a copy of “Cat Daddy” HERE and enter the Book Launch Contest of the Year, which includes a mini-consultation with Jackson, himself. For more details on how to enter go HERE.

If you’d like to enter my giveaway to receive an autographed copy of Cat Daddy, simply leave ONE comment below (comments are moderated so give me time to okay them before they show up), describing the most important lesson you learned from your cat. A winner will be chosen at 11:11 AM EST (Eastern Standard Time-USA) on May 18, 2012. You MUST be a resident of the United States of America OR be willing to pay for the extra postage if you live abroad. Rules subject to change without notice.

How Great this Joy

They were going to die unless a miracle happened. A black and white cat and her four kittens needed a rescue and needed one soon. They were in an overcrowded kill shelter I've often written about called Henry County Care & Control in McDonough, GA. Over the past few years I've been able to help many cats from this facility, but I can never save enough and at the time, almost exactly a year ago, I had too many foster kittens of my own and could not take on this family.

The mama along with three additional mamas and their kittens were going to be euthanized so I went to work writing blog posts about them and asking for help.

I'm not sure what effect my posts had, but three families were rescued, leaving one kitty we called “The Cow Mama” behind. Her time was up, but no one could help. I asked my friend, Dorian Wagner of Your Daily Cute who LOVES cow kitties as much as I do. We begged, pleaded, wrote emails, made calls. We did not think this family would ever see sunshine again or know a loving home. Instead they would know a lethal injection and a black plastic body bag.

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©2011 Henry County Care & Control. Cow Mama hopes for a miracle.

But that didn't happen.

I contacted our friends at Humane Society of Forsyth County in a last ditch plea for help. They agreed to step in and take the entire family! What a relief! We were deliriously happy, but like with any rescue we always wondered what happened next?

Yesterday I got an email from Rachel C. who's given me permission to share it with all of you. Rachel wrote:

Hi Robin!

Last August we adopted two kittens from a foster mom with the Forsyth County Humane Society. This morning, as I was sipping my coffee, I got a wild hair to do a Google search to find the old postings for their adoptions in honor of the kittens first birthday tomorrow. My search led me right to your blog post “Not on My Watch: Believe in Miracles”. You see, our newest additions are two of the cow kitties rescued last year in the nick of time from Henry County. Thanks to you, the balls were set in motion to rescue these wonderful animals, and in turn, gave us the wonderful gift of these loving felines. The two we adopted were the runt, who is on her back underneath her mama’s arm in the picture, and the one who’s markings resembled that of a domino. I ran into their foster mom a few months back, and heard the other two were also adopted together a couple of weeks later. We were not aware their mother had also found a loving home, and we were excited to hear that. She had walked right up to my husband when we made our first visit to the Humane Society, so she was definitely one to make an impression.

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©2011 Henry County Care & Control. Annebelle tucked under her mother's front leg.

These kittens, now named Annabelle and Princeton (somewhat prestigious names for kittens, but fitting for their “rags-to-riches” story), have adapted well in their new home, and get along, for the most part, with our existing 14-year-old cat, Nikki, who looks like the female twin of your Cricket! The kittens are absolutely hilarious! Princeton has grown into a handsome, talkative little man who likes to torment Nikki, pick wrestle matches with his sister, and yet underneath it all, he’s a little timid when it comes to the unknown. Annabelle is just flat out cute! We call her our vegetarian...she likes bananas and apples and carrots, though we try to keep her out of our human food. She also is the most daring, so we have to watch she doesn’t go exploring into unsafe territory when the rare opportunity arises. Both are cuddle bugs who like to curl up on laps and sleep right between our pillows every night.

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©2012 Rachel C. Princeton (left) and Annebelle (right).

A big thanks for all you do! Keep up the good work and know that felines and humans alike are all greatly appreciative. If there is anything I can do to help with rescues, let me know. I will donate financially when I am able, but can always help with spreading word of rescues in need.

Best,
Rachel

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©2012 Rachel C. Annebell and Princeton with Nikki.

As a Cat Rescuer, this is what I live for-stories like this that illustrate not only the power of what we can do when we work together, but the deep and profound love people have for shelter cats. These cats are not purebred or exotic. They came from a heartbreaking situation, but they made it. They won the kitty-lottery and got a great home which is the goal of every single rescue. If only all our shelter cats were so lucky.

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©2012 Rachel C. Happy Birthday Kitties! (nice tail!)

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“Kitten Season” is in high gear and Henry County Care & Control is full up with mamas and kittens. If you're interested in fostering and live in the area, contact ME at info@kittenassociates.org. If you know anyone who volunteers with a Rescue or Shelter in Georgia, please ASK THEM if they would help-even ONE family or a few orphan kittens. The kittens in need are NOT listed publicly because they are too young to be adopted. Contact the good folks at HCCAC via:
Henry County Care & Control's Facebook Page or by their web site

Let's make another Happy Ending come to pass. All it takes is YOU. Just make the call, send the e-mail, ask one person to help. Look what we can do when we TAKE ACTION over just wishing it would get better. We can DO THIS!

Not On My Watch: The Nick of Time

Last night I reached out to all of you to help us find a home or rescue to take Miss Fluffy Pants so we could open up adequate space to take in a Feral Mama and some of her kittens (two of the five are still missing as of this writing). I'm glad to report that in LESS THAN ONE DAY we have some hope.

A special lady stepped forward to adopt Miss Fluffy Pants!!! She lives in the Atlanta area, but for some reason if that doesn't work out, MissFP has been accepted by the East Coast Maine Coon Rescue as a cat they will include as a courtesy post on their web site. They get a lot of adoptions and it's great exposure for our sweet girl! Thank you to Chris & Vicky at ECMCR! Check out one of the cats they're trying to save-a gorgeous Orange Maine Coon in New Jersey!

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©2012 Maria S. Miss Fluffy Pants caught the eye of one of our friends in Atlanta!

As for our Emergency Rescue last night, it's clear we waited too long to step in, but these cats belong to a resident of the same town Maria lives in so we couldn't just jump in without his permission.

I'd like to say some very angry words about the person who "owned" these cats. Things like, “you had a chance to get your cat spayed a year ago for FREE, why didn't you do it?”

Or how about asking why your “cat,” weighs TWO AND A HALF POUNDS!!!!! Are you even FEEDING HER?! Her kittens weigh between 8 and 10 OUNCES. Is it because they're YOUNG or because they're STARVING?

 

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©2012 Maria S. Our sad boy moments after rescue. I think he got a bit too excited to have real food to eat.

Thankfully Maria was able to get the Mom and the kittens set up in a two story ferret cage without too much trouble. It's not very spacious, but it's what we have until Miss FP finds a home. The Mama allowed Maria to wash the kitten's faces, carefully rinsing away the goop on their eyelids. They fussed as kittens do, but eventually she was able to tease their eyes back open.

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©2012 Maria S. It's a GIRL!

Once the kittens were clean, everyone got a huge helping of Halo cat food-thanks to the big donation they sent us! The kittens ate some of their food and wore the rest. Maria was able to tell that we have a Black male kitten, an Orange Tabby FEMALE! kitten and a FLAME POINT (our first!) female kitten. Mama is a Tortie to the max and full of “Tortie-tude.”

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©2012 Maria S. The little flame point female.

This morning, Maria took the day off work so she could take the family to the Vet! It's a good thing she didn't wait. Mama is severely underweight and the kittens are too small. They all have Coccidia, fleas and an eye infection. Had they gone on like this much longer, I have no doubt the kittens and probably the mama would have died. It wasn't so much that they couldn't fend off their infections or parasites, but between the combination of all these things, PLUS poor or no nutrition…they wouldn't have made it. The fleas would have caused anemia, the parasites would prevent them from absorbing nutrition-if they got any and the environment was not safe at all.

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©2012 Maria S. Mama getting ready to chow down, but very leary of what she's doing in a cage.

Mama went wild in the car on the way to the Vet and while she was at the Vet! She peed, screamed and gave the Vets a big scare when they tried to de-worm her. She did NOT want to be messed with. At least they did get her blood and she tested NEGATIVE for FIV+ and Feline Leukemia!

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©2012 Maria S. The little tykes after something to eat. They're already using their litter pan!

It's going to be awhile before these cats are healthy. Mama is going to need a lot of food. Maria tells me she can see the cat's spine she's so thin. What a horrible life these cats have led-all under the “watchful” eye of a human, who did nothing for them until Maria stepped in and fought to save them and give them the chance at a better life. I'm glad she could keep her cool and just get those cats into safety. I hope we'll be able to find the two kittens who are missing. It's a bitter pill to swallow, knowing we could have taken them in sooner and saved all five kittens, but were too worried about taking up what few resources we have.

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©2012 Maria S. Poor Mama. She's scared of humans, but the good news is…we MAY have a home for her, too! More on that when we have a confirmation.

 

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©2012 Maria S. Waiting for the Vet.

We did amazingly well with our fundraiser reaching just about the halfway mark of our goal, but because we had to take the cats to Vet and not the low cost clinic (because they are only open on Wednesdays), we already used up half of our funds to pay the first Vet bill. We urgently need to raise the remaining funds so we'll have that money ready when they need their vaccines, spay & neuter, and my fear-more medications and more emergency visits.

 

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©2012 Maria S. Nom-noms-a-rama!

If you didn't get a chance to help us last night, use the ChipIn Widget, below or this LINK to our fundraiser page on ChipIn. Every dollar adds up and no donation is too small.

 

The donation you provide to this Emergency Rescue is TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. The money will go to my 501©3 Non-Profit Cat Rescue: Kitten Associates.

If you'd prefer to send a check, please make it out to: Kitten Associates and please note on the check the funds should go to "Bright Eyes Fund" mail it to:

Kitten Associates
P.O. Box 354
Newtown, CT 06470-0354

Any funds not used for the care of this family will go into our General Fund.

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©2012 Maria S. Getting rescued WITH Mama…priceless.

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!

 

UPDATE: Connecticut Cats Left Behind After Owner Dies

Yesterday, I put out an urgent plea for help. Two adult cats were left behind when their Guardian took her life. The story touched me on many levels, but the biggest one is that I've lost two family members to suicide and I understand the impact very sincerely. What I could not have anticipated was the enormous number of people who came forward to offer to help these cats in whatever way they could; from offering donations, a foster home, a forever home as far away as Colorado! It's left me with a very full heart and the cats have a hopeful future. I clearly see-

There is nothing we cannot accomplish when we work together.

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Marmadlade. Hopefully will be looking much happier in the coming days.

I am VERY PROUD of the local rescue community. Everyone jumped in and got the word out and everyone pulled strings to find a way to fit in two more cats into their rescue or shelter. Janine from Friends of Felines took the lead on this rescue and is coordinating everything. I'm making her nuts by sending her everyone's offers to help. ROAR in Ridgefield, CT will be taking Marmalade. Any inquiries to adopt should be sent to them AFTER Thursday, April, 26th.

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Shadow. I'm still waiting to hear the final plans, but there are many offers to help this kitty.

Details on where Shadow is going are not finalized yet, but there are a few offers from rescues to help and some rescues have great adopters who may be able to provide these kitties a home. Kitty Angels of Coventry stepped up with an offer to take one or both cats, but it's not confirmed just yet. It will take some time to sort out, but it looks like these cats are safe and it looks like there are a great number of people who are dedicated to making sure their remaining days are happy, safe and full of love; no more sadness and heartbreak for them.

GREAT JOB EVERYONE!!!! WE ALL MADE THIS HAPPEN! Let's save some more lives!

The Making of a Fur-lebrity: Meet Angelina (Meow-y) Jolie

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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.

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©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.

With a $1000.00 donation to my favorite charity (Kitten Associates, YAY!) on the line as First Prize for the best entry, I knew I had to really kick some butt.

 

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©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.

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©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!

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©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.

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©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).

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©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.

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©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.

 

If we're one of the FIVE lucky FINALISTS---WAIT SCRATCH THAT! BREAKING NEWS: WE ARE ONE OF THE FINALISTS SO I HOPE YOU'LL GO TO the FURMINATOR FACEBOOK PAGE AND VOTE FOR US! We just took in a mama and six kittens so that money can go to providing for all their upcoming Vet care and we can help the other cats in our Program like King, Miss Fluffy Pants & Bobette!

 

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©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!

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©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.

We Love Mimi Ausland, Ellen DeGeneres, HALO® & FreeKibbleKat.com!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Just how much food is in that big truck?

This past December, my dear friend, Caroline Golon, mama of the famed, Romeo the Cat, asked me if I could help photograph the delivery of a huge donation of dog & cat food to a few very lucky local shelters. I was glad to help and was curious to see how much food was being donated. I grabbed my nephew, Ryan, who enjoys photography too, and we made our way to Greenwich, CT to wait for the truck to arrive.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Some shelter in the area is going to be VERY HAPPY soon!

When a semi truck arrives, you know this is going to be a big donation. Ryan and I were amazed at how many palettes of food came off the truck for the waiting rescues. I knew that every bag would help keep shelter animals going until they found their forever homes and help the rescues be able to use their funds to cover other things, like Vet bills, instead of having to worry about finding the resources to buy food.

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Mimi Ausland, who started FreeKibble.com at age 11!

As payment for my services, I was told I could donate 5,000 meals of kibble to MY favorite Non-Profit Animal Rescue or Shelter! Stunned at the thought of that much food, I asked if the donation could come to my own rescue, Kitten Associates.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Our shipment arrives-all 2500 cans!

As many of you know, KA is a tiny rescue (right now!), but we really go through the food because kittens eat non-stop. A case of 12 cans can last a day or two depending on how many kittens we have.

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Co-Owner of Halo, none other than the most supremely awesome animal lover,
Ms. Ellen DeGeneres

I asked the folks at FreeKibble.com and Halo if we could get canned food instead of kibble, but was a bit scared to know how big that shipment would be. It turns out we'd be getting---2500, 5.5 oz cans of cat food, which, depending on how many cats are in our program, could last us until NEXT YEAR.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Making friends with my new palette of cat food. Did I write, PALETTE OF CAT FOOD? YIPPIE!

If we really were getting almost 900 pounds of cat food, I knew that storing it in my garage would expose it to strong shifts in temperatures and possibly spoil the food. I decided it would be better to grant some of our donation to our friends at Animals in Distress as well as to ship some out to our foster homes in Georgia and to a few select local families-in-need. Even doing all that we'd still have plenty of food for our own foster cats.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My car is full of cat food! Woohoo!

There WAS a “little” hitch in our plans which made for an episode of “My Backache From Heck.” The truck wasn't suited to back down the driveway because it wasn't paved. We didn't want the truck to get stuck so we were faced with tearing down the palette, moving each case of food to the garage, then re-stacking the palette in it's new location! Oops!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Mine! ALL MINE! Okay, some of it is mine, the rest I'm sharing.

It took a few hours to get everything moved and I honestly would have moved it miles if I had to, I'm so very grateful to have this donation. It will mean we can use our funds to cover other costs related to rescuing cats and it will give us some breathing room and a little less to worry about. With adoptions down, donations hard to come by and more cats being surrendered and abandoned, it's very uplifting to know that there's a company out there who really CARES and wants to make a difference for cats and dogs across the country.

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Because of this amazing donation, this week we'll be rescuing a family of kitties-a mama and her FIVE, 1-week old kittens. Although the kittens are too young to enjoy Halo canned food, their mama will get as much as she wants. It'll help her stay strong, which will give her offspring the best chance at a healthy future. When her kittens are ready, they'll enjoy Halo, too.

-----------------------------

If you want to help feed shelter cats and dogs with a mouse-click, visit Freekibble.com and Freekibblekat.com

“Freekibble.com was launched in 2008, as the vision of then 11 year-old, Mimi Ausland. Mimi wanted to feed the hungry dogs and cats at her local shelter. "There are 10's of thousands of dogs and cats in animal shelters across the country, all needing to be fed a good meal." With this goal in mind, Freekibble was created.

Today, the Freekibble Network reaches over 500,000 passionate pet-lovers. This loyal community has helped us feed over 7 million meals to homeless dogs and cats in shelters, rescues and food-banks across the country.

Thanks to our Official Kibble Sponsor, Halo, Purely for Pets, we are able to donate the highest quality, all natural kibble, for happier, healthier pets while they wait for their forever homes.

All of us at Freekibble are committed to Mimi's original dream that "Every dog and cat deserves a decent dinner". And, we're dedicated to the primary mission of feeding nutritious food to as many shelter dogs and cats as we possibly can.”

Dining with The Cat Daddy, Jackson Galaxy. Part 3.

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.

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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!

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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.

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©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.

I pulled up in front of the hotel, killed the engine and got out. Jackson came over to me and we looked into each other’s eyes. Jackson removed his glasses and blinked slowly, making that soft eyes expression he uses to soothe naughty cats on his show. I responded to his gesture by taking off my glasses and giving him soft eyes in return. I felt a purring sensation begin to rise from the depths of my soul. What in the world was going on? Was this guy some sort of Svengali with women, too?

I lost control of my fingers. My glasses slipped to the ground with a “clink.” We fell into a passionate lip-lock, oblivious to the fact that it was [censored] cold outside. His beard tickled my neck as I got lost in his commanding embrace. My knees turned to jelly, but he held tightly onto me. Our bodies started to turn together, as if on a giant lazy-susan. There was no one else, no TV show or book tour to worry about, just us spinning in circles fading in and out of soft focus perfection…

…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.

---------TUESDAY 3/28/12-----------

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.

Then I realized how stupid I was. I should have said I too sleepy to drive home! “Oh Mr. Jackson, please pity me. I am so tired and weary and have nowhere to rest my porn-star-hairdood-head and I cannot afford to stay in this luxurious hotel and I am so far from my home. Oh, Mr. Jackson can you help me? I noticed there is a mighty big bed in your room.” Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Why aren’t I more conniving, or at least catty? [censored][censored][censored].

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.

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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.

That the “fun” was with the acme of Cat Behaviorists, as well as a TV star was almost more than I deserved, but my birthday is in a few days, so I gave myself a break from feeling guilty.

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.

It’s a delicious feeling to get swept away by the thrill of having a heart’s desire realized, but it’s also bittersweet when it has to come to an end.

At least we’ll always have CVS and peanut butter stuffed pretzels.

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©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.

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For every copy of CAT DADDY pre-ordered before May 10, Tarcher/Penguin will donate $1.00 to the cause of saving shelter cats. To make your preorder count, simply e-mail your receipt (or a photo/scan of your receipt) to: CatDaddyBook@gmail.com.

Dining with The Cat Daddy, Jackson Galaxy. Part 2.

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!

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“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.

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©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.

Jackson is a treasure, not only because of his kind heart, but because of what he has done and will continue to do, to keep cats in their homes.

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.”

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©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…

Dining with The Cat Daddy, Jackson Galaxy. Part 1.

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.

----------FRIDAY 3/23/12-----------

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.

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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???!!!!

Are you [censored] kidding me?!! YES!!!! “Of course,” I wrote. “I’d drive 500 miles to meet you for lunch.” I was playing it cool—FAIL!

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.

Are you [censored] kidding me??!! JACKSON G-G-GALAXY!!!

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.

-------SUNDAY 3/24/12----------

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?

-------MONDAY 3/25/12----------

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.

porn star hair sm.jpg
©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.

Once in a blue moon, I meet someone I just click with. I can say whatever I want and they will just fling it right back at me.

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...

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