Jackson Galaxy, TV’s feline expert, has a new book

Leanne Italie
The Associated Press

Jackson Galaxy, the cat fixer of Animal Planet fame, is out with a new book that urges humans to meet their felines halfway.

The host of “My Cat from Hell” and co-host of a new show, “Cat vs. Dog,” Galaxy offers up the A-to-Z of what it takes to truly understand the cat-human relationship in “Total Cat Mojo: The Ultimate Guide to Life with Your Cat.”

So what, exactly, is cat mojo, and how can their humans help out with that?

“It’s that inner confidence thing,” Galaxy told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “You don’t have a cat. You are in a relationship with an animal. That’s important to remember.”

The book covers how cat owners can establish routines and rituals, track patterns of behavior and act accordingly, such as how many and where to place litter boxes, and how to help cats get their mojo back when things go wrong.

A good place to start, Galaxy said, is with the biggest mistake he sees among cat owners, the idea that cats aren’t cats at all.

“It’s the concept of looking at cats through dog-colored glasses,” Galaxy explained. “It’s the concept that you want cats to act like dogs, to come and seek your approval, to treat you like you’re the moon and the stars. That’s not who cats are. If we expect certain things from cats we’re going to be disappointed. If we look at them on their own terms we won’t be.”

Those terms, he said, involve recognizing the “raw” in your cat.

“The key is to see them as what they are, which is a prey animal, an animal that is conditioned to kill or be killed, to always be on guard of possible friend or foe,” Galaxy said. “You have to present yourself as a non-threat.”

Among his tricks is the slow blink, which is pretty much how it sounds.

“Watching them return that gaze to you is that Rosetta Stone, it’s that in, that way of saying wait a minute, we can speak together,” he said.

And then there’s what Galaxy calls “the Michelangelo,” which is extending your finger with the rest of the digits on the hand semi-extended, a la the Sistine Chapel. That, he said, the best way is to allow a cat “to then pet you, to just rub up against you.”

Taking such things on the animal’s terms, he said, “really goes a long way.”

Remember, Galaxy said, be patient and “know that you’re learning a brand-new language.”

Galaxy is a strong advocate of animal adoption. He urges cat owners to consider two over just one.

“I don’t even think you should be allowed to adopt a single,” he said. “They learn so much from each other. I think folks think that it’s twice the work when I think it’s half. They take care of themselves, they play together, they teach each other, like what are appropriate body languages, especially around humans. I think so many of the behavioral confidence issues we see later on in life these kittens aren’t going to have because they have each other.”

‘Total Cat Mojo’

by Jackson Galaxy with Mikel Delgado

Penguin group