Film and TV

My Cat from Hell's Jackson Galaxy Charms the Pants off Changing Hands Crowd

The celebrity of tatted-up rockstar-style cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, who hosts Animal Planet's My Cat from Hell (with new episodes premièring June 30), has helped make it possible to be perceived as a hipster and a crazy cat person, and for that, the rest of us crazy cat people are oh, so grateful. (The Valley's Kate Benjamin of is a big help on the accessories side, as well.)

Galaxy is touring with his lovely new book, Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean, and he visited Changing Hands Bookstore last night for a jam-packed chat, mini-reading, Q&A, and signing.

I'm pretty sure most people would have needed a Benadryl just to walk through the room, which was cat-free but not cat-hair-free, if you get my drift.

Benjamin was there, too, to introduce Galaxy and show off ModernCat stuff, and except for the understandable fact that we couldn't stay all night and hug Galaxy and talk his ear off about our cats, it was a swell time.

In particular, the book is a personal story of Galaxy's experience with Benny, the first cat he fostered. They wound up staying together for 13 years, the rest of Benny's life. Benny was not, Galaxy says, an easy pet, but Galaxy was not an easy human at that time either -- working at an animal shelter, toiling at a fledgling music career, and actively abusing substances, he was in a destructive spiral, he told fans at the bookstore.

Shelter co-workers kept nudging him to foster an animal, but he was busy "playing guitar and getting loaded -- but that was important! It took a lot out of me." But Benny came into his life and taught him many important lessons. So there's also plenty of good cat behavior advice in the book, which is only one of the reasons that Galaxy begins Q&As by asking that none of the audience's questions begin with "I have a cat who . . ."

I've only seen about an episode and a half of My Cat from Hell, but many in the crowd know the show's cat clients by name and had interesting questions about them, such as who's been most difficult, scariest, etc. Galaxy loves helping people and their companion animals get along, making sure that everyone has a happy home with the best possible match.

One fan asked about how individual households get chosen to be on the program. As you might expect, because it's TV, a lot of factors go into it.

"If we get renewed for another season after this one," Galaxy says, "I'm really gonna push hard for traveling even more -- because right now we're at a point where the stories that come in are heartbreaking, and they're coming from everywhere, not just Los Angeles or New York, and I want to be able to go out there and work on cases that really need it, not just because 'Oh, my boyfriend won't marry me' -- fucking [unintelligible]." (Because I was laughing so hard -- and for all I know, that's what he was cursing about.)

So get those pets spayed and neutered, adopt rescue animals (you can get purebreds that way, so you have no excuse), and take good care of them, with some help from Jackson and Kate if necessary, so that human beings can also stand you. Because really, dude.

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Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson