Catching up with Jackson Galaxy
June 30, 2012 7 Comments
When you interview Jackson Galaxy, you never quite know the direction it will take. Cats and cat behavior, of course, his new book, cars… it’s really like a conversation with a friend.
The fame he is now experiencing can be described as serendipitous. Who, including Jackson himself, would have expected an imposing-looking, tattooed guy to calm ferocious felines with the blink of an eye and gain legions of fans in the process?
But Jackson is riding high – not exactly the high he describes in his new book, Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean. But one that validates his years of experience with problematic felines on the verge of disposal.
The third season of “My Cat From Hell” kicks off June 30 and no one is more amazed at its success than Jackson himself. At day 54 of taping the show, he describes himself as “a little fried.” The number one series on Animal Planet has been increased to 10 episodes from six last year.
His new-found fame has not gone to his head. He struggled for years earning a living as a musician and working in Boulder’s animal shelter. “I don’t feel that,” he says. “I’m working and haven’t stopped!” He adds that part of it is the “poverty mindset,” fearing that any given episode of the show is the last episode.
He’s still pursuing music and just prior to taping the new 10-part television series, was on tour promoting Cat Daddy. The book is an unabashed examination of his lifestyle and various events leading up to the realization that he indeed has a gift for looking into the soul of a cat and exorcizing its demons. At the center of Jackson’s journey is Benny, a cat who challenged him from the minute his owner dumped him at the shelter.
He’d like to be able to return to promoting the book. “I’m trying hard, but it’s such a commitment,” he says. “I love the immediacy and
feedback from the book signings, and visiting the shelters is great.”
Geographically, the show includes an episode shot in New York. “I had to push hard to travel the show and get out of Southern California,” Jackson says.
More often he plays relationship counselor. Couples may use the cats that are misbehaving as ammunition against each other. Such is the case this season in which a woman never developed a relationship with a 23-year-old cat because it represented her partner’s old girlfriend.
“In working with couples I get to call them out on national TV,” he says.
Then this season, there’s Zena, who was living in a busy household and suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome.
“I have a say over certain cases like Xena, who was a tough case,” Jackson says. He added that the selection process is “one step below choosing the Pope, minus the white smoke.”
Not only is he dealing with the humans and the cats in crisis, there’s also the camera crew and “the reality of reality TV in a home for 11 hours.” (We all know how much certain cats like strangers in their homes.)
Jackson says, “I tell them to enter like ballerinas.” But it doesn’t always work and the cats retreat, he adds. He compares it to taking your car to the mechanic with a problem that’s not evident when the mechanic looks at it.
And speaking of cars, the signature red ’64 Nova convertible has been replaced by a pink 1957 Lincoln Premiere.
“It’s the biggest freakin’ car I’ve driven,” Jackson says. “It’s one step short of an RV! I drive by older people and it’s like a flashback for them.”
He says the show’s producer, a car collector, selected it for him because the taillights reminded him of cats’ eyes. With a touch of reverence, Jackson adds, “It’s the car Jayne Mansfield died in.”
Along with soothing troubled felines, Jackson has added two new terms to our vocabulary: cat mojo – cats’ view of the world, through their eyes – and catification – the creation of a feline friendly environment. He’s partnered with Kate Benjamin of Moderncat in this effort. Among Jackson’s followers, the concepts have become part of everyday life with cats and cat behavior.
While immersed in the logistics of his new book and a hit television show, Jackson is never far from the felines who need him.
“There are so many cases I would love to work on,” he says. “I want to be able to just follow their stories.
“I brought cats out of the closet!”
That’s something for cat lovers everywhere to cheer about.