Cat Daddy

What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love and Coming Clean

Written By: Jackson Galaxy with Joel Derfner

Published By: Penguin Group Incorporated

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            When I first saw Jackson Galaxy on the Animal Planet television series My Cat From Hell, I thought, this is a cat lover after my own heart.  I love all animals, but grew a special sort of affinity towards cats a couple of decades ago.  I have dealt with all sorts of cats and I have learned that, despite what some people will tell you, all cats are different, no cat does things out of spite and you shouldn’t take on the responsibility of a cat if you aren’t willing to go into it one hundred percent, possibly sacrificing some of your own comfort zone to make your cat more comfortable.  In the series, Galaxy teaches all of these tenets of life with cats to beleaguered cat families.  He really proves that he understands cats and I always wondered how he got to be such an expert in cat behavior.  So, when I heard that Jackson Galaxy had written a book about his experience with a cat that changed his life, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

            As it turns out, the man who would become known as Cat Daddy really came into his calling quite by accident.  We discover that Galaxy was actually a musician/actor with a drug and alcohol addiction that was spiraling out of control.  In an effort to support his habit, Galaxy was taking on just about any job out there, but when he applied for a job with an animal shelter and didn’t actually get hired, he realized that this was the first job he was actually hoping to land.  When the job opportunity came around again, Galaxy reapplied and put his all into it, climbing quickly up the ladder, despite his heavy addiction issues.

            He had adopted animals before, but one cat in particular would change Jackson Galaxy’s life forever, putting him in tune with those of the feline persuasion in ways he would never imagine.  It would be Benny, a shelter drop-off with a broken pelvis and some behavioral issues, that would ultimately save Jackson’s life.  As Jackson tells us the story of his relationship with a cat he original started out fostering and eventually adopted, we realize how much love and admiration Jackson truly felt for Benny.

            I really enjoyed reading about how Jackson Galaxy became a cat behaviorist.  His was a difficult path, but Jackson took all he learned and put it to good use, helping many “incorrigible” cats find and keep homes.  I also enjoyed the little sidebars featuring tips about everything from food to play to cat litter – the do’s and don’ts of being a cat companion.  Of course, reading this in regular format might be easier than reading it in digital format.  In digital format, the sidebars can be a bit confusing mixed in between the main story, sort of interrupting the story’s flow.

            Cat Daddy is much more than a story of one man’s journey through addiction and his realization of a calling he may never have discovered had he never met a seemingly unadoptable cat.  The book offers readers inspiration – to persevere in the face of extreme adversity and to fight for what you believe in.  It also offers up tips on how to handle cats who offer up a bit of a challenge for their humans.  After all, as I said, cats are not spiteful.  When they do things we consider bad, it’s not because they hate us.  Jackson Galaxy wants us to make every effort to understand our feline companions rather than giving up on them when they present us with problems.  After all, where would Jackson be if the world had given up on him?

            Be forewarned, Cat Daddy is not for the faint of heart – if you have issues reading about drug use, sexual situations or have an issue with profanity, this may not be the book for you.  Jackson is nothing but painfully honest and open, letting us see exactly who he is and what he is about.  If that means there’s a little profanity and a lot of harsh truths about his life, so be it.  Also, as you reach the end of the book, you will definitely want to have some tissues ready.  Through all of the emotional turmoil Jackson Galaxy goes through in this book, it is the very last chapter that is the tearjerker. 

            The writing is very straightforward and heartfelt.  And it's a fast read - I read Cat Daddy in just two days and probably would have finished it faster were it not for such pesky necessities as eating and sleeping.  Any fan of Jackson Galaxy and his television series should check this book out.  Cat Daddy tells everything in a no holds barred manner, giving you an idea of exactly what you may be getting into as a cat companion, thus making it a must read for anyone thinking of adopting or fostering a cat.


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