Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that a memoir by Jackson Galaxy, America’s favorite “cat daddy,” went on sale today.
In Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love and Coming Clean, Jackson is brutally honest about his struggles with addiction — and his simultaneous struggles to figure out the behavior of his cat, Benny, whom he sometimes refers to as the original cat from hell.
I was fortunate to get an advance review copy of the book. As soon as I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. Jackson does a lot more than tell his story: he paints a picture of life in the world of animal shelters and how his work at a Boulder, Colorado, shelter was the beginning of his evolution from a wounded and (as he confessed) impatient and childish person to the man he is today: clean, sober, and an angel for troubled cats all over the country.
That may sound pretty “woo-woo” to some of you, but even if you’re the most logical and rational person in the world, I bet you’ve sensed the energy of an environment or person and reacted to it.
“I was actually doing an interview with someone who was highly skeptical about my approach and he said something like, ‘I kind of live in the world of science. What is this energy thing you’re talking about?'” Jackson told me. “But energy is the basis of science. Do you ever walk into a room and say, ‘You could cut [the atmosphere] with a knife?'” Yeah, that’s energy. Or vibes. Or whatever you want to call it.
Cats mirror our emotions and the general atmosphere of their environment. Their behavior is a reaction to the energy they sense. I’ve even seen cats develop physical illnesses that happen to “just coincidentally” follow their caretakers’ problems.
It happened in my own life. My cats, Sinéad and Siouxsie pretty much saved my life when I was going through a months-long bout of severe depression. No matter how crappy or suicidal I felt, I couldn’t bring myself to traumatize them by ending my own life. Besides, my energy level was so low that if thy were sitting on me, I wouldn’t even be able to get out of my chair.
Shortly after I recovered, Sinéad developed hepatitis. There was no reason why it should have happened; even my vet was mystified. But I had an idea why. And I learned a very important lesson about the need to be responsible for my emotional well-being and recognize when I was on a downward spiral before I got that sick again.
“Your job is to loosen the noose on your cat and appreciate what she’s trying to bring to your life. If they are trying to heal you; let them.” ~ Jackson Galaxy
I told Jackson that the book seemed to me to be a story about Benny serving as a mirror for his caretaker’s problems. This “mirror syndrome” also seems painfully obvious when you watch Jackson work with troubled cats on his show, My Cat From Hell (which, by the way, has been renewed for a third season).
“All that stuff about Benny’s behavior mirroring me didn’t even occur to me until I was writing the book,” he told me. But “from that point on when you recognize the depth of the mirror and you recognize you have this responsibility, you can’t just let them be a witness to your crisis.”
“Lots of people don’t want to cop to having that level of responsibility for their own energetic output — but when they see the difference, it’s amazing.”
Cats really are amazing creatures: teachers, healers, and little cuddly bundles of purring love all at once. When we respect our cats as individuals and realize the gifts they bring to us, the results can be amazing.
Pick up a copy of Cat Daddy today. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed! Not only will the story of Jackson and Benny’s life together touch you, but you’ll get tips on how to deal with various behavior issues and a wonderful discussion about the importance of the no-kill movement.
The Cat Daddy Book Tour launches today in Los Angeles, California. Tour dates so far include stops at independent bookstores in New Jersey, Arizona, Colorado and Oregon. More dates are being booked, too. For more information, go to Jackson’s website or keep up to date with Jackson on Facebook and Twitter.
Better yet, the Who’s Your Cat Daddy Book Launch Festival Contest is going to be unleashed (ahem) soon. Check here for more details.
My Rating: Four Paws Up
Full disclosure: I received a free advance review copy of “Cat Daddy,” but I received no other compensation. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.