Jackson Galaxy, the man restoring cat mojo one household at a time, is known as the “cat daddy” by his “My Cat From Hell” fans, but the cat behaviorist/musician has gone to the dogs. Galaxy took some time out from filming his next project for Animal Planet, “Cat Meets Dog,” to talk about what happens when the fur flies. He even shared an exclusive clip – a sneak peek at Saturday’s episode, which airs at 9 p.m. ET.
Metro: Tell us about the new show.
Jackson Galaxy: It’s basically the same concept as [“My Cat From Hell”], which is that we go into homes that are falling to pieces [laughs] because of animal problems; this time, instead of just the problem being cats, it’s cats and dogs not getting along. I have a co-star, Zoe Stathis-Sandor, and she’s a dog trainer in San Diego, and the two of us go into houses and restore sanity … or just install sanity 'cause there never was any to begin with [laughs] but it’s pretty much what we’re doing. It’s great fun; six episodes, and we’ll see what happens!
The eighth season of “My Cat From Hell” started on April 29, and I heard you took a road trip with kittens this season.
Yeah, that’s coming up on June 3, I believe, and it's really kind of an amazing thing. There’s a lot of components to it that are really cool. One is that I’m pretty deeply involved with the rescue world, and I do a lot of work through the Jackson Galaxy Foundation with shelters and rescues all over the world, and in our backyard, in Los Angeles, we are in the midst of a cat crisis.
I mean, it’s funny the way it works – you’ll see on the show – I don’t want to give it all away, but to take 50 kittens that were red listed here in shelters – The Best Friend Animal Society, which has a shelter now in Los Angeles – they pulled the kittens from city shelters who were going to kill them. Best Friends has them and won’t kill them, but they need the kennel space, which is where I step in and take those 50 kittens and drive them to Boulder, Colorado, where I worked at the Boulder Valley Humane Society for 10 years, and they had said they could adopt those kittens out, so that’s where they went.
So, we drive to Colorado, me and Hannah Shaw, aka The Kitten Lady. The two of us take those cats and, yeah, we did it a couple times now – Operation Homeward Bound. It’s one of those moments in the history of the show I have to say I’m really, really proud of, and it's good TV. It’s gonna be great to watch.
Without giving too much away, what can cat mamas and daddys expect to see in this season of “My Cat from Hell”?
I definitely think as the show matures over the years, and we’ve been given creative latitude from the network, things just get bigger and better. This season, we got so much great response from our "My Cat’s From Heaven" piece, so now every episode, there’s one cat from heaven, and that’s great.
You got pretty beat up on last week’s episode with that beautiful black cat, May.
That episode is one I’m really proud of, and it’s funny; it’s a very subtle thing. I think it’s one of those cases where the cat was incredibly aggressive and one of those cases where I got incredibly beat up, but I think it gives insight into my process that I don’t think the audience has ever seen before.
Yes, I get beat up, but I’m asking for it. These aren’t cats from hell; this is Jackson attempting to break through a communicative wall and establish dialogue with the cat who clearly is, and I think with May, a cat that’s suffering mentally. This is the way cats express that suffering, and I’m trying to work through that wall.
Out of all the cases this season, I look back on that one. That’s the one. That moment where I really felt the breakthrough happen.
Between that and the Operation Homeward Bound episode, just those two alone make me feel like we’ve made it our best [season] yet.
Exclusive clip from this week’s upcoming episode of “My Cat from Hell” airing on Animal Planet.
You’re already a two-time New York Times best-selling author, and you have a new book coming out in October, correct?
"Total Cat Mojo"! "Total Cat Mojo" is pretty much everything I know about cats in one place, and everything I know about getting you through life with your cat [laughs] sanely and in a loving way, and it’s been a long time coming and it’s finally coming out.
We’ll be doing a tour around it through November, and I’m really excited about that one and I think it shows. It’s that thing that everyone has been asking for. I’m really stoked.
Is it a cat handbook?
You know, I want to not say it’s anything like, you know, “Cats for Dummies” or something like that. It’s from a standpoint from the relationship you have with your cat. When we talk about what cat mojo is, it is the essence of confidence. It is what it takes to get through this life in an absolutely confident way and what your role is in bringing out that mojo and elevating it, and that is what makes the problems not happen in the first place.
But, when the problems do happen, then we have sections in the book that are like a cookbook; these are recipes for fixing problems. It’s a little bit of everything. My goal is, sure, will it be a reference book for people to thumb through and say, “How do I stop my cat from peeing on my bed”? Sure. But if I haven’t written something that you can go cover-to-cover in and enjoy it and have it enhance your relationship with your cat, then I haven’t done my job. Hopefully, I’ve done my job.
I used to be afraid of cats, and now I have two.
That’s amazing! I gotta tell you, there’s so many people who call themselves dog people and say they hate cats, who can’t stand cats, and the root of it is fear. It’s a phobia and getting through that phobia is a big deal, and we actually have an episode about that in the upcoming season where I deal with a guy who – it’s crazy when you think about it – not only does he have a crippling fear of cats, but it’s generational.
His grandmother was the one who got scratched by a cat, and you fast forward, and not only grandmother passes it to mother, but mother passes it to her brothers and sisters, who then pass it to their children. Now, we’ve got a dozen people who are all terrified of cats but cloak it in, “I hate cats,” and I get the chance to interrupt that cycle and get this guy through that problem, and it’s refreshing how monumental that is to work through that.
Yeah, for me, it was understanding cat behavior. Like, when the tail starts flickin’, stop petting!
There ya go, man, that’s total cat mojo in a bottle! [laughs]
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Well, I would love for people to know about the Jackson Galaxy Foundation and Operation Homeward Bound – that you’re going to see this season along with the lights that we shine on foster parenting and volunteers and supporting local shelters, rescues, feral cat agencies, spay and neuter clinics – that’s what the Jackson Galaxy Foundation does, and we’re here to elevate the conversation about animal welfare but also to elevate the conversation about the people who give their lives for these animals, so I would love for people to take a look at JacksonGalaxyFoundation.org and think about helping us out.