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Non-Fiction Review – Cat Daddy

Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life Love and Coming Clean

by Jackson Galaxy

 

Review by Mirah W. (mwelday)

 

I am a cat guardian for my kitty kid Tootie.  She’s a 13-year old tortoiseshell longhair who is a bundle of kitty love (and fur) and she makes me smile. Born with only one severely damaged eye, she is essentially blind but she has managed to adjust to her limitations and thrive.  I recently started watching Animal Planet’s ‘My Cat from Hell’ with cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy. I thought watching the show could teach me more about cats in general. While watching I’m thinking, ‘Thank God I got so lucky with my kitties’ because I’ve never experienced the extreme situations featured on the show.

Through the show I have learned a lot about cat language and started to better understand some of Tootie’s behaviors and how she communicates.  Like why she likes to pee and poop in the yard just beyond our back door, why she loves to carry around her favorite fishing pole toy and what she is saying when she ‘talks’ to us.  I’ll say this: the stuff Jackson says really makes sense.  I love his approach to living with animals.  When I found out he had an autobiography, I knew I had to read it.

It is a fair assessment, I think, to say Jackson’s life has been quite the roller coaster ride of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.  His life was chaotic and he was constantly searching for a place to fit.  He takes the reader on his journey, starting at a shelter where he, sadly, had to euthanize animals to his business today as a cat behaviorist.  Throughout his story he provides tips on how to be a better cat guardian and information on various topics like overcrowded shelters, spaying and neutering, feral populations, cat nutrition and the negative effects of declawing.

I think any dedicated cat guardian could gain insight from this book.  The guardians who want to have a deeper bond with their cats and want to learn more about their behaviors can find something to use here. I’ve been a cat guardian for 14 years and I have learned some tricks along the way (like how to better travel with cats) but reading Jackson’s book gave me better understanding into why these tricks work and ways to improve my methods.

On a deeper level, I was incredibly moved by Jackson’s telling of his final good-bye to Benny, the incorrigible cat from the title of the book. I had tears pouring down my face because I experienced some of the same emotions when I had to say good-bye to Sunny, my grey and white shorthair and first kitty kid.  And I know it’s ok that sometimes I still get doubled over by the pain and grief of his passing.  I’ll have a regular day and then I’ll see Sunny’s picture and a wave of sadness just overtakes me.  Being emotionally invested is just one aspect of being a cat guardian.  We want to be the best we can be for these animals and are willing to do what it takes to be the ones to save them because, on another level, these animals save us right back.  Our cats have the ability to make a bad day better, give us love and acceptance when we aren’t feeling it from the humans in our lives and melt our hearts with a contented purr.

Thank you, Jackson Galaxy, for imparting some wisdom on how to speak and understand the cat language and how to love our cats in the ways they can understand.

 

 

 

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