I used to watch Animal Planet a lot. Like, if I were to create an a la carte list of channels I couldn’t live without, it would have been on there.
But a few years ago they took a sharp turn toward some strange programming—a lot of this “when animals attack” type stuff, where survivors talk about how they shouldn’t be alive because they got mauled by a bear or bitten by a spider or a copperhead. And I am completely on board with those of us who prefer reptiles & insects to cats & dogs (and I guess fish & birds). But shows like that aren’t really for pet owners. It’s really sensationalist in tone and hearkens back to the really bottom-of-the-barrel programming Fox used to show in the late 80s / early 90s between airings of Married…With Children and The Simpsons and COPS. I sorta lost interest.
But Animal Planet has officially landed my ass back on the couch with My Cat From Hell featuring feline behaviorist Jackson Galaxy.
I guess if I was forced to draw a comparison, it’s sort of like a cat version of The Dog Whisperer or It’s Me Or The Dog. But the difference between those shows and Jackson’s is down to the fundamental differences between dogs & cats. Cesar Millan and Victoria Stilwel are all about establishing a clear hierarchy between dogs and their owners. Which is necessary with dogs; they’re pack animals, and are wired to respect the authority of the “alpha” in the house, whether it’s another dog or it’s human companion.
Jackson’s approach to cats is more about changing the behavior of the humans and the environment the cats interact with. Which is perfectly fitting for dealing with cats; there is no “forcing” a cat to do anything you want—it’s just about making them think that they’re in control, even though you’re pulling the strings out of sight by adding scratching posts and cat perches and adding more play time to their days. Jackson gets it, and that’s why I love his show. It also doesn’t hurt that his name is awesome, he’s clearly creative (he’s a musician and artist and has some beautiful body art), and what’s more, he’s a fan of Ex-Boyfriend; check out the video below and see who he’s wearing on his shirt at 1:45!
(Thanks to Kate Benjamin at ModernCat.net for the heads up! Catch Jackon’s show on Animal Planet Saturdays at 9pm)