Literary

Phoenix Designer Kate Benjamin on Catification, Her New Book with Jackson Galaxy

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"You can 'catify,' as we say, and have it be absolutely gorgeous," Benjamin says. "It doesn't have to look like the crazy cat lady lives there, and everything doesn't have to be covered in ugly beige carpet."

The idea for this book started two and a half years ago when Benjamin and Galaxy first met. Benjamin says that Galaxy had been a fan of her feline-friendly design, previously at Modern Cat and now Hauspanther, even before his show, My Cat From Hell, had aired.

After finally connecting thanks to a mutual friend, Benjamin has been a guest on Galaxy's show about four times over its five seasons, helping cat owners redesign their homes to better fit the needs of both the homeowners and their cats.

And that is exactly what Catification aims to do.

Benjamin says that cats have gotten a bad rap because people just assume that every cat is aloof, will destroy furniture, and is basically self-sufficient. But often times those negative stereotypes are caused by cats lacking certain kinds of stimulation, places to feel comfortable in the home, or other requirements.

"You want to recognize what your cat prefers and do something that accommodates those needs," Benjamin says. "If you take the time to do what we're saying, you actually have a much richer relationship with that cat and an amazing companionship, and they'll be safer and healthier and probably better behaved if they have what they need and they're not fending for themselves."

For this reason, the first section of Catification is dedicated to helping owners understand the specific needs and instincts that their cat has by giving them the vocabulary and tools they need to identify certain behaviors. Benjamin, who owns eleven cats of her own, says the best way to do this is simply by observing the cat.

One key behavioral aspect to note is where your cat feels safe and comfortable. If your cat likes climbing up on high surfaces, it may be a "tree dweller," as Benjamin and Galaxy call it. Otherwise, your cat may be a "bush dweller," who likes to hide down low under pieces of furniture like tables, or a "beach dweller," who likes to rest in wide open spaces on the floor.



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Evie Carpenter is a visual journalist. Using photography, videography, design, and sometimes words, she tells stories she hopes make a bit of difference in the world, even if those stories are in list form and include GIFs.
Contact: Evie Carpenter