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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.

Benny at Jacksons House.J.Hovfe.jpg
©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.

Benny at jacksons.jpg
©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.


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.

Cricket with Book R.Olson.jpg
©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.

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.


I've never ever had a cat before. We took in a stray on April 6th. She has taught me that EVERYONE has attitudes once in a while and just give them some space. LOL.


I knew from the moment I pulled him from the side of the highway that my Smeagol would be special. We don't know what's wrong exactly, but he is highly intelligent, seemingly healthy, and tries desperately to communicate with us. I hope to have many years with him, but even in our short journey together so far, he has taught me love; love that is without condition. He can chew on my feet, attack my head, rip up everything in sight (curtains, tp, throw rugs, magazines); somehow I think it's just funny and love him all the more for it. If I can love this much, how much more is God capable of loving me, no matter my mistakes, temper tantrums and bad moods? I'd like to have some techniques to use to help my Smeagol, but I'm not willing to hit or spray him. I just want him to understand that his is loved without reason, without condition, without limits.

My cats have taught me about unconditional love. They sense when I am having a hard time and they make no demands. They are just there for me. I love them with all my heart.

And can't wait to read the book.  He's doing such a wonderful thing for the world...what a wonderful person!  

And, I hope the book has some advice on how to get my former-ferals to stop piddling on our beds and in the laundry. I guess I should be flattered that they want to join their scent with ours so much... ;)

Thank you for such a great review! :)

Patience!!  Life is much less stressful when you take your time and stay in the moment.  Today, I had to get one of my former ferals into the carrier for a vet visit.  I was braced for a battle, but instead, I turned it into a nice long petting session and let "being late" just drift out of me.  After a good 10 minutes of deep breathing (and deep purring) she climbed off my lap. I put the towel into the carrier, and...she went in, turned around and sat down. My jaw hit the floor! She just blinked at me as I closed the carrier - no door-charge or anything.  It was like she was saying 'Thank you...I know what we have to do now. No problem.'

What a great review.  I got my copy Thursday and finished reading it Friday night.  Loved it ... you are so right ... must have tissue handy - I cried reading the dedication page and cried is an understatement when it came to the end.  Passed my copy onto a good friend who I think can benefit from reading about overcoming the many obstacles & perseverance.

I heard about a woman who had found a cat and her litter under a parked car near her house. All of them needed homes. My husband and I were not in the market for a third cat at the time, but we thought about the plight of these animals and decided to adopt one. We named him Cody, and it wasn't long before we learned that he was the most wonderful cat we'd ever had. He is as devoted as any dog, intelligent enough to learn to jump through a hoop, and all around adorable. Since then we've both become active at our local shelter and have started fostering cats. Cody taught us to do all we can to help homeless kitties find loving homes like ours!

Our cat is a cat that I sometimes really wish we could have featured on MCFH. I have learned a lot from watching Jackson, its really unbelievable that a show would teach me more than the research on the interwebs, but I am so glad I decided to watch them!!

With that said, I think the most important lesson that I have learned from my cat is to not ignore what your body is trying to tell you. He was acting out even more than usual, peeing on our clothes, and randomly (so we thought) crying out. I realized, after checking symptoms with my good pal Google, the poor guy probably had a bladder infection. Sure enough, we had caught it early enough that a change in diet and antibiotics fixed him up. He will have to be on special food the rest of his life (luckily, he loves it) but because we listened to him, we thankfully were able to avoid surgery, or death

I volunteer at a local shelter with cats and field a lot of cat behavior questions, when I'm not cleaning up after cats that is. I've ended up with several cats who weren't adoptable over the years. I've learned that giving them plenty of time to adjust, just letting them be cats and respecting their needs has made all the difference in the world. Each cat gone from being a "fraidy cat" to the most loving, enjoyable, fun cats, I've ever owned. And never underestimate what a handicapped cat can do, they always exceed my expectations!


Unconditional love & patience is what cats have taught me.  Patience in trapping them & the unconditional love they give you when you can turn a feral into a friend.

I ADORED this book!!!  I'm so glad you were able to get pictures of Benny!  I was so happy to see him :)  


I would love to enter the contest for the book!  I already have a copy on my Kindle, but I'd love an autographed physical copy for my book collection! :)


I think the most important thing I learned from my cat was how to love and be loved.  I adopted her as a bandaid for my heard during a rough time in my life.  She fulfilled that role and then some.  She taught me so much about unconditional love, and she healed my heart enough for me to love other people and eventually find my wonderful husband.  Who knows where I'd be if it weren't for her.  On my worst days, she's the reason I'm able to get out of bed in the morning.  She also inspired me to volunteer at a local shelter and help the cats there find great homes.  I want them all to be loved the way she is loved.



I have learned many things from my cats but the biggest thing I ever learned was from a stray cat at work was trust.  When I started here a year ago, one of the strays I call MoMo wouldn't get within 3 yards of me.  I began feeding all the strays and talking to them.  I come up to work on the weekends just to make sure they have food.  Finally Mo began rubbing on my legs, then letting me pet her.  MoMo became in the family way and every morning she would chat with me and rub on me.  I came in one Monday and MoMo was a skinny mini again so I started asking here where her babies were.  Tuesday morning when I came to work I was talking to her and she disappeared while I was putting their food out.  In just a few minutes she brought me her baby.  Laid the little tyke at my feet and pushed him toward me and looked up at me a meowed.  I sat down and patted her and the little one.  Once I was done, she took the little guy back to her hide away.  I felt so priveliged to have gained her trust so much that she let me pat her 2 day old kitten.  Love that MoMo.

I've learned so much to choose one is difficult!  I think paying attention and watching for cues as to how you are being recieved. In other words.. if you pet the cat.. and the tail   switches quickly from side to side.. STOP! You have pushed the "getting annoyed" button!  All cats have signals.. some are just more subtle than others! Dari is VERY subtle.. but I'm learning! :)

My cat Flash has been a real blessing from God. He has been there thru my many heartaches over the men I had in my life. I' m thankful out of one of those heartaches I rescue Flash from Ohio. He does cat shows with me and he enjoys it. I finally found his true calling in life. That is he is doing pet therapy. We visit nursing homes and the people love to see him. He is so calm and just loves all the attention. God has brought him into my life to be able to serve others. He helps me get over my shyness around people and helps break the ice. He is one awesome cat and I thank God every day for him.

I look forward to reading the book!  I'm always telling people to watch the show.

The most important thing I learned from my cat is that how I act and feel affects my kitties so I need to find a peaceful place to be in order for them to share that with me.

Murphy was a feral kitty that I adopted from the local Humane Society.  My friend Diane Giblin literally drug me there as she had seen Murphy during a prior visit and felt that we needed one another.  About three months prior, my mellow kitty Kara had passed away from cancer and at the time I wasn't sure that I was ready for another cat.

I knew from the get-go that Murphy would be a handful.  He immediately gave me the hairy eyeball which told me that he was determined to go home with me.  We left together that day.  And 4 years later he can still be a force to reckon with.......but I love him. 

That same day I saw another kitty who resembled a tortie that my sister once had, which had been mauled by a neighbor's dog.  My sister drove 30 miles to a different shelter to adopt Francesca.  

I LOVE CATS!  And Jackson's show rocks!  I can't wait to read his book.

Is the important lesson I've learned from a sweet little stray who wandered into our yard about a month ago.  We've seen her occasionally for the last year.  She always looked well cared for and you could never get close to her.  We hadn't seen her for awhile until one day she showed up in our yard all wobbly and thin trying to get a drink from the garden hose.  Needless to say, food was put out for her.  The next morning after putting out food for her, I sat down in a chair and she proceeded to jump into my lap rubbing the side of her mouth on my nose.  My heart melted for her and since then she's had to make several vet trips for a bad abcess and a complete round of shots.   How could I not do that for her?  Someone's throwaway has become very precious to us, and even if our wallets are emptier, our hearts are fuller because of her.  I'm not sure if she'll ever be able to be a member of our indoor cat family, but we'll do whatever it takes to care for her and keep her safe as long as she chooses to grace us with her presence.

Besides what my cats do to help my clinical depression, they've converted my husband into a cat person. I had a tiny, undersized cat, a rumpy Manx, who was the most hilarious, ridiculous creature that lived. Because she was so small she was skittish, but even the most daunting person could bring her around with the cat brush. When it was time to have her put down, since she had so much trouble breathing because her lungs were full of tumors, my husband volunteered to take her in. He admitted he bawled like a baby.

Here's part of my blog tribute to the most special cat who ever lived, Casey:

The biggest impact Casey had on my life was in 1988.  That was the year that South Korea hosted the Summer Olympics.  At that time ABC was the official U.S. network to televise the Olympic Games.  As a lead up to the games, ABC ran a special about Korea.  I was so disturbed as they showed the markets where cats and dogs were sold as food.  Live dogs and cats were shown with wires tying their legs behind their backs.  The dogs had empty aluminum cans fitted over their muzzles, likely to keep them from crying, barking or biting the vendors.  I could not believe that anyone would eat “pets.”  I was enraged, especially when the narrator told that cats were boiled alive.  Cats?  The most wonderful animals on the planet?  That someone could possibly do something like that to my Casey, to any cat?  I was enraged.  It was the first time in my life that I felt hatred for an entire group of people.  But, hatred just wasn’t in me.  What came next to mind was an epiphany for me.
The Korean culture views dogs and cats as food.  That certainly was foreign to me as an American.  We shared our homes, our beds, our lives with these beings.  We loved them.  They were family, friends.   Our culture, on the other hand, viewed cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, lambs, fish, even rabbits as food.  How could I, in good conscience, object to the culture of another country without examining our culture.  In that moment, I became a vegetarian.  To be able to criticize the customs of one culture without being a hypocrite I would have to reject our culture of eating the flesh of any animal.  The thought of anyone eating Casey or any of his relatives appalled me.  But weren’t the lives of cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, lambs, fish and rabbits just as valuable?  Of course they were and are.  Casey and the love that I had for him opened my eyes and changed my view of the world and transformed my lifetime love of animals into a respect for the lives of all non-human animals. 
On January 10, 2012, Casey will have been gone for 22 years.  I have lost numerous cats and dogs since that time.  Both of my parents are gone, as is my older brother.  Despite that, the loss of my beloved Casey was the greatest loss I have ever suffered.  I miss him as much today as I did the day that I had to euthanize him.  He was 18 ½ years old.  Not only did I stop eating the flesh of animals, but I have rescued many, many cats and dogs since 1990.  Casey helped me realize just how precious each life is and every animal deserves to live in an optimal environment and to realize the full potential of their own individual personality.  Each of them has a distinct personality, no different from each human.  They deserve a chance to experience joy and share joy with another who loves them, someone who will care for them, will protect them and make them a part of their life.  Although Casey is gone, he remains a part of me and I am forever grateful to have had him in my life.  I am a better person because of his love. 

Thank you for the opportunity. I have 14 cats. All indoors. Yes I am a crazy cat lady and I have a crazy cat man. Recently I had someone come up to me and ask me to give them one of my cats??? O.O I was flabberghasted! These are my babies. They are all spayed and nuetered. My vet sees them at least once a year for check ups. And my husbands response when I told  him someone thought that since I have so many cats that I would want to give one away, WAS PRICELESS!!! He says "These are our children! We are not trying to find homes for anyone. Did you tell them to buzz off?" That was all said in a manly gasp. We don't have kids. We are very well off for a couple that doesn't have bills and decent jobs. Our cats eat well, they see the vet any time they need to. Some of my cats are rescues. 4 I bought. Two siamese that are brothers and then a brother and sister pair of Bengals. We have our occassional squabble and it's mostly over who is going to sleep on a certain branch of everyone's favorite cat tree...LOL! I adore my cats. People ask me at least once a week to take in a cat because they figure I have 14 what is one more. I can't though. I can't because I would then be over my limit. Right now, an emergency could happen with any of my cats, dogs or horses and I can afford it. But all it takes is one animal that isn't planned, to take our carefully choreographed family over the brink. I also only have 1 king sized bed and with 14 cats, 1 5lb chihuahua and a 80lb GSD, there isn't much room. I might not rescue cats or dogs as a rescue itself but I feel I am doing my part by keeping my own family loved and happy. And yes, I have nice furniture too if anyone is wondering and a shop vac is my friend along with a furminator. My two indoor dogs shed way more than 14 cats ever could. I don't know how that is possible but it is. 
Thank you for the opportunity to win a book. A cat book makes it even better but the fact that it's a cat book written by Jackson Galaxy makes it AWESOME!!!

I currently have 6 cats (and at one point 16 with all the fosters n' kittens), each and every one totally different than the other but they have all managed to teach me that it's ok to relax and chill (as only a cat can do :)

Both of my kitties are some form of rescue or another-- but both have taught me that unconditional love can come from the most unlikely of places.

One of my cats, my not-so-little-anymore girl was adopted from a shelter that was not no-kill.  She was 6 months old... still a kitten, but past being fluffy and cute and soso skinny.  She was in a cage at the VERY TOP far end of the cat room... children had no chance of seeing her and it was almost as though she'd given up-- where in many of the other cages you would see paws flailing and hear each occupant speaking up-- not from this cage.  She laid in the back of her cage, calm and quiet.  I fell in love-- when I picked her up she curled into me and did nothing but purr.  I did not put her down until the adoption papers were signed.  Good thing too-- a volunteer told me that she had been there for 5 weeks with only a few people even looking her way... and was scheduled to be put down the following day.  I can't image life without her!

This little girl that 5 weeks worth of potential adopters overlooked melted my heart and has taught me that a match exists for everyone--- you only have to open your eyes and not overlook those who may be sick, or grown up, or small, or quiet.  Often times, they are the best friends of all if you only open your life up to them.

I'm relatively new to discovering cats (have always had dogs in my life), and have come to realize that they're just as complex as dogs, and they have their own set of life philosophies and behaviors that make the species so unique and fabulous! I'd love to get a copy of this book for a lady (co-worker) who loves her cats to bits but doesn't have the funds to purchase this book...she'd be over the moon! God bless you, Jackson, for waking us up to the potential cats, and other animals, have always had but never been able to "voice"!

Be Here Now. Buddy, Bella, Blanca, Serena, Tiny Lynxy, and Pip, they accomplish this so beautifully, effortlessly. Observe and Learn.

I learned that when life is so stressful filled with a whirlwind of family, work deadlines, friends, and everyday demands to weigh down your soul....go find a quiet room or outside to sit and relax in a sunbeam. Nothing calms the soul than to take some inner peace moments for yourself. The best thing is when your cat comes to enjoy the inner peace with you.

I found the show completely by accident and fell in love with it and Jackson Galaxy. I have lived in homes with cats all my life and couldn't imagine not having at least one. They are the most mysterious and wonderful creatures I have met.
I worked in an animal shelter and know what you are saying. There are too many and they keep coming in because people take animals and get tired of them or try to treat them like different humans. The shelter I worked in was Dogs only, and we got dogs that were let out on their own. Some were hit by cars, and I had to call the owners when we could identify who that was and explain what happened. That was not easy. Then there were the dogs we picked up alive, and the owners were mad that we did.
People have to learn that pets are not small human children. They need a different kind of care.

My cat taught me that if I listen to her and do what she asks like a good servant girl, life will be smooth, but if not it will be Hell:) I guess she has taught me humility and patience and how very much I love her<3

Puddy actually came to us by accident, as most things that change our lives do. My ex husband found this skinny deaf cat playing with a leaf in the middle of a street.  Picked him up, asked around, posted signs, checked shelters. No one claimed him. He gave him to my daughter who named him Miracle. Well, with 2 German Shepards who didn't like cats, he got locked in my daughter's room 24/7 and started tearing up the carpet, walls, spraying. My ex had him neutered and declawed. That weekend Miracle came to my house to recover.  My new husband hated cats.  I mean HATED them. That first night, Miracle came up on my lap while we were sitting watching a movie.  Within a few minutes, he was on my husband's lap, who was unsure what to do with this cat on his lap. As soon as he started petting the cat, he started purring.  My husband fell in love. At the end of the weekend, I took him back to my ex's house with my daughters. Monday night when my husband came home from work, he said, 'where's my Puddy Tat?' not realizing he was gone. I called my ex and we drove over and got the cat.  His name became Puddy.  He is the gentlest soul. After a year, we decided to get him a companion. We ended up with two kittens from a local rescue. They became Puddy's babies. The three of them always playing or cuddling together. Now we foster for another local cat rescue and have a never ending supply of kittens (don't get me started on why don't people get their pets fixed??!!).   All the kittens end up being Puddy's babies, snuggling into his bed and climbing on him.

It's funny, even though he's deaf, he's always the first one at the door to greet me when I come home from work.  At the door meowing before I even reach the porch. Living by a highway in a busy developement, I don't know how he could possibly discern my car from anyone else's. He loves to go out for walks on his leash.  Well, walk and plops we call them.  As soon as he sees his harness, he starts circling your legs meowing.  So there is my 6'4", long haired, tattooed husband who previously hated cats, taking Puddy to Petco or PetSmart to buy food or treats and climb on the cat furniture.

I just adopted my first cat ever three months ago and my life will never be the same.  The biggest thing Fiona has taught me is that I can actually do this!  I am forty years old and have never had a pet besides a parakeet when I was nine.  I love cats but my biggest fear was that I was not going to be able to do anything right.  I finally jumped in after my family encouraged me for Christmas with a cat tree, litter box, and help with adoption fees.  I looked at many shelters and when I met Fiona it was almost instant connection.  I held her a little, petted her on a cat tree, and when she rolled over for a belly rub my heart melted!  After I got her home I quickly learned that she would teach me everything I needed to know and she is also very forgiving.  After giving her eye drops for a lingering inflamation (which was more stressful for me than her) She licked my hand as if to say that even though it was not pleasant for her she still forgave me.  Since then I have been amazed at how real a relationship there is between us.  I was prepared for affection and mutual need but there is a real communication that I did not know was going to happen.  She is smart and funny and playful and has never lashed out at me.  I discovered Jackson on "My cat from hell" soon after I brought her home and I have learned a lot especially the regular play and food times.  I find myself agreeing with everything he points out about cats and how to treat them and I am trying so hard to do things right from the start.  I look forward to reading his book and will definately get a copy even if I don't win one here. Thanks for listening. 

I've had many feline family members over the years, beginning with a Siamese my mother acquired around my 3rd or 4th birthday, I think.  It's my earliest memory of having a cat.  I loved them instantly and every one since.  They all hold a special place in my heart, including our current 9-yr-old littermates, Hobbz and Spitz.  When you look past their haughty exteriors, cats have a great capacity for loyalty, companionship, affection, and empathy.  And yes, they can be leash-trained and taught tricks and how to play fetch!  I've always said, a house is not a home until it has plants and pets.  There's just something about that warm cat curled up on my lap, while I sit in my favorite chair, enjoying a latte' or a cocoa, while I read a book.  Sometimes the other cat lays on the hassock by my feet.  It's pure bliss!

Oh, and I adore every episode of your show I manage to catch in my busy schedule!

Trust. That's what I learned from my first two brother kitties. They were handraised, indoor kitties with the most mellow personalities. I come from a decent family, but these cats taught me things I never understood growing up. They accepted me as I am, and they trusted me to never hurt them. I guess it's the unconditional love they provide. But they opened a door to a new world, and I will always have cats, no matter their personalities, in honor of those two beautiful boys that changed my life.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I have been looking forward to this book! I have 5 kitties here, all rescues. The dynamics in a multi-cat household, even with a small population is ever changing. I so look forward to reading this and getting a little insight as to how someone else approaches the things we deal with on a daily basis. Jackson's track record speaks solidly for itself in my opinion, he has made a difference in so very many lives - and surely countless lives have in turn been saved as a direct result. Would love to win a copy, but if someone else does - I am heading off to the local bookstore as soon as I can scrape up some spare "kibble" money :)

Thanks for the great review as well Robin - enjoyed reading it, and also absolutely loved when you recapped your encounter with the man himself!

In January this year, Hazel was jumping my back fence and pooping in my garden. I chased her off numerous times. She ran scared, but returned. After asking around the neighbors, I found that Hazel was a stray and had no home. So petite, I had thought she was an adolescent, she was an adult with the tell tale notched ears that I found out later, meant she had been spayed at a low cost clinic. I didn't even LIKE cats. Knew nothing about them. One day while working in the yard, Hazel came walking the fence again. Suddenly, we had a Jackson/Benny eye to eye moment. It was that dramatic. I realized she had no one and nothing. Hazel was thin, hungry, and needed someone...I fought it mentally and finally, surrendered. She needed ME. 

It took much patience to even let me touch her, but it's been now almost 6 months and as I write this, Hazel is sleeping happily on the Lazy Boy, much chubbier, healthy looking, and no longer homeless. No longer unloved. She needed me, and I was so surprised to learn from her that I needed Hazel!

 Who won the book?

Fifteen years ago I had two cats that I had named Benny and Anni for two of the members of ABBA.  When they were about two years old, I was struck with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, which I still have to this day.  By the end of that year (it began in January), I had lost a good, well-paid job, the beautiful apartment I had been living in, and all but the most important of my personal belongings, and this was only due to the efforts of a friend with a large panel truck and an empty garage.  Worst of all, I lost Benny and Anni; I was headed for an SRO and there was no quesiton of bringing them with me even though just having them on my lap eased my pain and made me feel better (I am convinced that there are few things more therapeutic than a purring cat).  I cried for days.

Fast forward two years:  I was in the process of applying for Social Security Disablity and living on Welfare and Food Stamps when I met the man who would become my husband in just eight short months from our first meeting.

John had a cat named Rajah; a grey shorthair that looked like a miniature panther (and no dounbt thought of himself that way lol).  We took to each other immediately, and when Rajah developed kidney failure, John and I did everything we could to keep him with us, giving him subcutaneous fluids (which he did not like) and feeding him a special diet (which he hated so we gave him his regular food every other day as a compromise to keep him from starving).  Alas, eventually we had to do what was necessary; Rajah just was not enjoying life any more and the day we took him to the vet he was already leaving.  But we cried anyway.

Six months later I convinced John that we were cat persons and that an empty apartment was not enough.  So we went to the local shelter, and found a pair of brothers (though you would not know it; one was a perfect tuxedo and the other a gray tiger) that were pair bonded and whom the shelter would not adopt out separately.  So we came home with two cats.  I immediately named the tuxedo boy Damon because it sounded classy, and his brother we called Jake (I don't remember exactly how we arrived at that one; possibly because he seemed so offhand about everything).

Five years later, Jake died suddenly one night of an embolism (think stroke).  The emergency vet we rushed him to assured us that putting him to sleep was the most loving thing we could do as there were few treatments, he would always be in pain, and would never be cured.  Didn't make it hurt any less, but at least we did not feel guilty.

We drove home in a daze of grief.  But in a couple of days, we discovered that there was someone else in the house who was just about paralyzed with grief:  Damon.  This was a cat who had never known a world without another cat in it.  He wandered around the house, calling for Jake, looking for him under every piece of furniture.  Then he stopped eating and started hiding, and I flew into a panic and we did the only thing we could think of:  we went off to the shelter to find a new friend for our boy.

And there he was.  A little tuxedo kitten sitting quietly in his cage with a "take me home today" look on his face.  I reached in and picked him up; he was purring so loudly it was making him vibrate and as I petted him he began licking my fingers.  That was it; he was my cat.  I handed him to my husband and a few seconds later he, too, lost his heart.

Now, Damon.

We brought the kitten home (he was a bit of a scamp and I decided the name "Andy" suited him).  Damon did a little bit of "who is this strange cat you have brought into MY house?" but within two days they were sleeping cuddled up together, grooming each other, eating together, and chasing each other around the house (Damon was showing a new energy we had not seen lately).

That kitten saved the life of our beloved Damon and to this day they remain BFFs.  

Therapy Cats:  All of the cats named in this story have been therapy cats for me.  I eventually got my disablity, and I have my good days and my bad days, and the cats know it (their ESP astounds me).  My life will forever be richer for having them in it.

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