Category Archives: Jackson Galaxy

Catification – Creating a Feline Friendly Environment

By Julia Williams

You won’t find the word “catification” in any printed dictionary, and it’s even too new to be found in online dictionaries. I’m not positive, but I believe the term was coined by Jackson Galaxy, noted cat behaviorist and star of the popular Animal Planet show, My Cat From Hell. If you watch that show, you’ve probably heard Jackson tell the clueless humans “you’ve got to catify your house!” Jackson has also had a Catification Column on his website for at least a year, so if he didn’t create the term – and the concept – he’s certainly had a hand in making sure cat owners everywhere are familiar with it.

So what is this catification thing, exactly? “Catification is about creating feline-friendly environments that cater to a cat’s natural instincts to climb, perch, rest, play, and own their space,” says Jackson. To catify your home means to provide adequate places that satisfy your kitty’s natural desires to either be up high if he’s a “tree dweller” or “down low” if he’s a bush dweller.

Jackson’s Catification Column is written by Kate Benjamin of hauspanther.com, an online magazine for design-conscious cat people. It includes lots of terrific examples from cat peeps who have created feline-friendly environments in their own home, like the ultra cool kitty staircase pictured at right.

Although catification might seem to be all about the cat, it actually provides benefits to the human occupants as well. A happy cat is less likely to engage in undesirable behaviors, like making mincemeat out of your couch or carpeting. Which means that you get to have nicer things in your home and don’t feel the need to apologize to guests for your ratty décor (unless you happen to love ratty décor, wherein you wouldn’t be apologetic anyway.)

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Behavior Problems: Is it the Cat or the Owner?

By Julia Williams

The second season of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell began a few weeks ago. Naturally, I’ve been watching. Even though I don’t have a “difficult” cat, I still like this show because it’s spreading some very important messages to pet owners – namely, that problem behaviors can be corrected, that there are reasons behind every cat’s demeanor and actions, and that even the meanest cat can become loving, happy, playful, friendly and well-adjusted. All it takes to turn a misbehaving cat into a model feline citizen are some very simple changes – but not from the cat, from the owner!

My Cat From Hell features Cat Behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, who shows desperate owners how to save their relationships with each other and their cat. Just by making a few changes in their own behavior and/or their living space, the cat owners can create harmony out of chaos, and keep the cat out of the shelter and in the family where it belongs. Jackson proves to the owners (and the viewers) that these cats are not mean, they’re just misunderstood.

To the casual observer, the name of this show implies that devilish behavior problems are the fault of a “hellish cat.” If you watch the show, however, you quickly learn that Jackson believes most bad behaviors stem from things the owners are either doing, or not doing. I wholeheartedly agree. It is true there are instances where the cat’s behavior is not a direct correlation to the owner’s behavior and/or the living environment, but this is usually a reaction to trauma or a negative association from its past. No cat is “bad to the bone” or incapable of rehabilitation. All it takes is a little knowledge and insight.

All creatures have needs, and cats are no exception. If their needs aren’t being met, they’ll let you know one way or another. It’s foolish to think you can just bring a cat into any living environment without considering what it needs to be happy, and expect life to be hunky dory. Responsible pet owners understand that the onus falls on them to provide the right living space and stimuli in order to have a happy cat. That may mean providing vertical spaces for a cat that likes to be up high, providing enough exercise and play sessions for a high-energy breed, giving a timid cat a safe place to retreat from the pesky family dog, or teaching the cat how to redirect its hunting instinct from your ankle to an interactive toy that mimics a bird. Each cat is different, and thus, each solution to problem behavior will be, too.

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