Because of the recent publication of his awesome new book, Cat Daddy, My Cat From Hell star Jackson Galaxy has been doing lots of interviews with cat bloggers. But you know how it goes: the ones who are interviewing him are humans and they are asking him things from a human’s perspective. That is important — after all, they are the ones who need to know how to better communicate with us cats. But humans don’t always ask the most important questions, which is where I come in. There are things you kitties want to know about Jackson and it is up to me to ask them! Here is what Jackson had to say to me — I think you will find his answers enlightening:
Tell me for real, Jackson — even though you are called a “cat behaviorist,” the truth is you are really a human trainer for us cats. Wouldn’t you say that is closer to what you really do?
That’s right Sparkle, I am a human trainer for cats! Honestly it’s all about what I talk about, which is “cat mojo.” Humans have to understand why cats do what they do, why they need to occupy space, why they need to hunt, and catch and kill and eat, and when they do that, they’ll stop blaming them for all the other things that are going wrong in their lives!
Of course, to be able to translate that to humans, you had to have had the right trainers yourself. From reading your book, it is clear that Benny — your main feline trainer — had a lot to teach you. What would you say was his most valuable lesson?
The most important lesson that Benny taught me was, basically, patience. He taught me how to watch a situation from a detached perspective, to let the situation breathe as opposed to being reactive and getting angry, and taking his behavior as a slight, or taking it personally. Benny wasn’t trying to piss me off, Benny wasn’t trying to aggravate me, Benny was actually trying to communicate with me. But I had to learn his language, and it took me 13 years to do that.
That is so important for humans to understand, Jackson! They take things so personally when really, we are just trying to cope with situations in our own way. Do you think your creative endeavors have enabled you to be a better kitty communicator? I’ve noticed that creative, right-brained humans often have more of an affinity with us non-verbally oriented creatures.
You’re really perceptive Sparkle, because as a musician, as a songwriter, as an actor, as a performance artist, my whole life was based around observation, creating reality in a stranger, and then recreating that reality in myself. Just working with what I had. Cats give you so much and yet they don’t give you English. That to me is an advantage — it allows my imagination to work, and then I get to work with science as well. It’s the best of both worlds.
Why do you think so many humans have issues with their cats? What are they doing wrong?
Sparkle, I think that many humans have trouble with their cats because they try to put them in a box that’s non-cat. They try to define them in human terms or even in dog terms. They try to define cats in terms of a being that wants to do something for them. And Sparkle, you obviously don’t want to do anything for anybody besides yourself (just don’t tell [your human] about that). 🙂
Oh, she already knows! My biggest problem with her is she thinks she is part cat and, well… she is just not that cool! If a human could do just one thing to start having a better relationship with their cat, what would it be?
Again Sparkle, you know this, if you want your human to have a better relationship with you, the number one thing is [for her] to detach emotionally, and watch. Become a better “cat detective”; what do all of your body signals mean? What do you do at certain points of the day? When your cat walks in the room, where is he/she looking? Where does he/she want to get to? What does he/she want from you, and what does he/she want from the other animals in the house? These are the things that just by watching, and not from a human perspective, but using your “cat mojo,” you can have a much better, more fulfilling life with your cat.
Which is why I am so glad you are around, Jackson — you teach humans the gift of observation and forge a line of communication between us and humans. Our behavior is all so much clearer to them once you have explained it! Thanks so much for taking the time for my interview.