Cat behaviorist and star of Animal Planet's hit television show My Cat from Hell, Jackson Galaxy, a.k.a. “Cat Daddy,” isn't what you might expect for a cat expert (as the New York Times noted, with his goatee and tattoos he “looks like a Hell's Angel”). Yet Galaxy's ability to connect with even the most troubled felines-not to mention the stressed-out humans living in their wake-is awe-inspiring. In this book, Galaxy tells the poignant story of his 13-year relationship with a petite gray-and-white short-haired cat named Benny, and gives singular advice for living with, caring for, and loving the feline in your home. When Benny arrived in his life, Galaxy was a down-and-out rock musician with not too much more going on than a part-time job at an animal shelter and a drug problem. Benny's previous owner brought the cat to the shelter in a cardboard box to give him up. Benny had seen better days-his pelvis had just been shattered by the wheels of a car-and his owner insisted he'd been “unbondable” from day one. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
An inspiring account of two broken beings who fixed each other, Cat Daddy is laced throughout with Galaxy's amazing “Cat Whisperer” advice for understanding what cats need most from us in order to live happier, healthier lives.
©2012 Jackson Galaxy (P)2012 Tantor
Okay, I admit it: I can’t get enough of Jackson Galaxy. This is one of those rare books I will listen to over again. He writes and reads this memoir straight from the heart and no other narrator could have done justice to his words. Jackson’s memoir recounts his beginnings and growth as a cat behaviorist while battling his many addictions. His story is humble, straightforward, and never wallows in self-pity. Here is a man who came face to face with the bottom, over and over again, and pulled himself out of it. While he was doing so, he discovered and nurtured his calling to help troubled cats and their guardians. His cat Benny was with him all the way, not only teaching him but becoming that rare animal with whom he established a lasting bond. I can relate: I had a cat who saw me through my “get my ‘stuff’ together” years and I, in turn, nursed him through several life-threatening illnesses. That cat will have a special place in my heart until I die. Even if you’ve never experienced that kind of relationship with an animal, you’ll appreciate this book, and even more so if you have.
This is Jackson's autobiographical account of what led him to his "cat whisperer" business. His story is gritty and his language is unfiltered. This isn't a book for the kiddies. That having been said, I would expect nothing but Jackson just being all out real and himself. He is sincere and seems to cut through the BS of his life. He admits weaknesses and leads you through his struggles.
If you're expecting a "How To" on how to keep Fluffy from scratching on the couch, you'll be disappointed. Although there is a small amount of information at the end, the real story is of the man himself and what he learned as he journeyed through the rockiness of life while caring for and learning from the animals around him.
I will tell you this....the grief he describes feeling for a pet, is as real a description of grief I've ever heard, whether it be for a 4 legged creature or 2 legged one.
Jackson Galaxy has written one of the most passionate and moving accounts that I have read in a very long time. His ability to connect his life lessons with the lessons he learned with the help of his cats, gave the story something extra. I so appreciated his willingness to share his journey so honestly.
Galaxy did a superb job of narrating the story, as well. I could feel his love for those animals. I didn't want it to end but it ended perfectly. There aren't many audiobooks that hold my attention as did this one.
This was totally inspiring and uplifting in it's straightforward "this is what it is" fashion. Although I originally expected a preachy kitty centric book, this was a good character development book that covered the gamut from psychology to philosophy with a core of love from unexpected sources thrown in. I have had some parallel experiences and recognized both the angst and the courage it takes to push through and go beyond to a place not imaginable before. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will keep it in my library for another read.
Jackson Galaxy starts out as a guy who is only in it for himself, but over time, and with the help of a feline, finds himself humbled enough to get clean and sober.
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
But seriously, this book is totally worth the profanity. Like, who the hell cares, right? People are who they are, and Jackson Galaxy rocks in my book. This is one incredibly messed up man who I can completely relate to, having made some pretty poor choices in my time. (It's hard out there! It's hard in here! It's hard!) He gives us, the reader/listener complete access to his life, no excuses, well, plenty of the excuses he made at the time, knowing how totally full of it he was (is that bravery, honesty, or what?), and let's us walk/stagger along in his shoes. It's quite a journey. Especially when we get to the two, what my husband and I call, God Moments:
He applies, and gets a job at an animal shelter.
He offers to foster, then adopts a horribly injured cat named Omni (OMNI, for gosh sakes! Whatthehell?!?)
The book up until Omni/Benny is pretty great. Because Galaxy's got the gift o' the gato. If you love cats, you'll be reassured of some of the things you've been using already, and you'll learn a few more things. I remember this one cat I worked with after Hurricane Katrina: It was so terrified in its cage, would NOT sleep. I crouched away from it, did the gentle blinking, softly stroked the blanket by the opening of its cage and whispered rhythmically until I could get it to fall asleep. Took 1hr. 15mins. and I stayed there so it could have 20 mins. REM sleep and I was in PAIN. But as Galaxy says (and demonstrates) over and over through this wonderful, marvelous book: Screw all that! They are SO worth it!
The real wonder of the book comes with the arrival of Benny because Benny is an eye opener, a game changer, the best damned cat ever.
Benny's the kind of cat that makes you swear you'll write a book about
Benny's the kind of cat that makes this an, oh-so worthy listen!
Enjoying life, sharing joy, and shaping compassion in each moment.
Jackson Galaxy takes a chance, the kind of chance usually reserved for the meetings of 12-step programs or therapist's offices, and reveals all the funky, sometimes extra-intellectual lessons he's learned in the process of becoming a successful human being. He reveals a chunk of his life, the turning point of a prospective low-level weirdo. The character exercised to become a person who uses his own weaknesses to become stronger. It's not unlike reading a mythological tale, such as the trials of Heracles.
Jackson, for the level of personal revelation urges me to a sense of familiarity, is the perfect reader for this book. It often feels like I'm sitting with him, next to or across from me, while we converse and this book has simply excerpted his part of the conversation. These stories are powerful personal reflections for him and his voice reflects that accurately. He offers his life's circuitous path as an opportunity for us, his listeners, to learn; here are insights presented in context, encouraging us to engage in some reflection and examination of of our relationships, especially those with our pets. He makes a specific effort to not anthropomorphise but, rather, looks at the behaviour of our pets, cats in particular in this book, hoping to help us to understand their stories and engage in healthy relationships with our pets. Jackson wants us to recognise our pets as sentient, not human, beings and, then, having developed an understanding of them as capable of feeling and thinking individuals, we treat them as partners in a relationship. Relationship, in this context, is an activity; it's something we enter into with respect and an expectation of compromise and change. Since most of us current relate to our pets as interesting possessions, as if we'd post YouTube videos of our hilarious couch, the book challenges us (the purveyors and consumers of untold numbers of pet-centric YouTube videos) to look at our pets' behaviour in a new light.
The book is the perfect length. The story reaches it's denouement at just the right time: there are just enough examples of struggle and surrender, increasing in intensity of significance. The stories are offered up as personal life lessons, the listener can take the stories as entertainment or as opportunities.
If you're a cat-lover, you're probably already aware of Jackson Galaxy and his persona through the pinhole view offered by his show or the YouTube excerpts from his show, you may also be a follower of his video blog in which he explores issues dealing with cat care and cat care politics. You probably feel like you know him. This book lets you get to know him on a whole new, deeper and richer, level.
I heartily recommend this book. Even if you're not an "animal person," this book has great stories and, potentially, lessons for you.
Likes: Cozy mysteries (cats a plus), personal memoirs,not too dark fantasy, books about the brain. Dislikes: Torture, animal cruelty.
Jackson Galaxy is of course a cat behaviorist and the star of the reality show My Cat from Hell which I really like. I LOVED this book. In fairness I don’t know if I would have felt quite the same if I just read it, because Galaxy narrates his own book and his performance is truly awesome. Ill risk sounding like a cheesy movie critic by admitting that, it both made me cry and laugh aloud. It follows a small part of Jackson’s life rather than the whole thing. It starts when he was an adult, living on his own, playing in a band, doing lame jobs and lots of drugs, and ending when he is making his living as a cat behaviorist but before his TV show and fame. Before the book, I had seen and enjoyed the show but I knew nothing about Jackson’s background. I just knew I believed the stuff he said about cats on TV and thought he seemed pretty cool.
I was amazed at what a loser he actually was at the start of the book (no offense Jackson! I'm a fan!). I also find memoirs of drug abusers amazing in that the sheer quantity of drugs someone can do without dying, and how he actually functioned in society during this crazy period. He always struck me as pretty intense on the show but I had no idea. It’s hard to explain really. He goes through drug addiction and recovery, food addiction and gastric bypass surgery and all sorts of animal related drama. His devotion to animals is powerful. He lives on a totally different plane of existence than I do. But I just wanted to listen to the whole book in one shot. I just thought it was great. It was weird really that all this happens in a small enough number of years that Jackson still has one of the cats who lived with him at the start of the book. Not the cat mentioned in the title, the book covers that cat’s life and death. But another cat. Jackson’s ability to be intense and yet be able to not take himself too seriously really helps make the book enjoyable – at least the audio version. 5 stars.
His aha moment with Benny
There was never a boring moment.
My emotions were all over the place.
I have never listened to a book that was so entertaining.
Jackson's Life Cats
The trials and tribulations of Jackson and his successes (and failures) in the pet industry. Also his tips at the very end I thought were very spot on and informative.
Probably when he met Benny
No. Very very few books are like that for me. Quite the contrary. I wanted this to go on and on and on and on and never end.
While this book is about animals and love, it is also a very adult story. Totally inappropriate for kids. It's also a real tear-jerker, so be prepared for that. The story is mostly about tragedy (even though Jackson chooses to sometimes spin it differently).
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