‘Embrace the Mystery’: Jackson Galaxy says cats are just misunderstood

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Cat behavior and wellness expert Jackson Galaxy says the success of his appearances stem from a “shared energy.”

“There are a lot of people who expect me to just step up to a lectern and start talking about cats,” Galaxy says via Zoom.

“There’s everything from puppets to music to audience interactions. If people aren’t careful, I’ll pull them onstage. A lot of the show is improvised and, yet, it takes you through the history of cats in order to get to you and your relationship with your cats. I talk about my relationship with my cats and how I got to know cats.”

Galaxy, of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell,” will make several Arizona appearances in the next few months. He’ll serve as the keynote speaker for Heidi’s Village’s inaugural fundraising gala, An Evening of Hope, on Saturday, February 19, at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa.

Then he’ll bring his tour “Total Cat Mojo Live!” to the Mesa Arts Center’s Piper Repertory Theater on Saturday, April 16, and to the Fox Tucson Theatre on Friday, April 15. He’ll share “Cat Mojo,” his philosophy that teaches cat guardians the skills to help their feline friends build confidence within their environment.

Whenever he gets the chance, “The Cat Daddy,” as he’s known, likes to dispel the myths that cats are boring, scary or have no personality.

“I think people are guilty of looking at cats through dog-colored glasses and experiencing them as failed dogs,” Galaxy says.

“Other than, you know, having four legs, they are apples and oranges. If you understand the journey of cats and what they’ve done to get to this point, it’s just so fascinating. It gives you this way of relating to them that you didn’t have before.”

He adds humans are “bad at relationships,” whether it’s with other humans or animals. With cats, humans have to meet them halfway, instead of expecting them to come when they’re called.

“It’s really hard, and we take it personally,” he says.

“I think if you can embrace the mystery, then the depth of the relationship is incredible — not to diss dogs. I have dogs sitting right here, and I adore them, and I get that energy from them. I get a different energy from cats. They work amazingly well together.”

Galaxy says many folks are misinformed about cats, even though Americans own more than 100 million cats.

“There are a lot of people who are scared to death of cats,” he says. “I love the opportunity to take what usually is childhood trauma of being scratched a bit or whatever and turn that around. I think there is a lot of opportunity out there.”

It’s that human connection that keeps Galaxy passionate about his work.

“It’s hard to do it in a vacuum,” he adds. “It’s hard to keep your passion up when you think that, from a rescue perspective, it’s just a hamster wheel. It never stops. When I premiere videos or have a live chat and I look at the numbers, knowing there are people out there I can talk to about these animals is amazing. That’s why I love it.”

His tour aside, Galaxy frequently makes appearances at charitable galas and fundraisers to bring awareness to rescues. He started his career working in shelters, and “it’s never left me.”

“It’s never escaped me for a second,” he says. “I owe everything I do with animals to my experience in rescue. Heidi’s Village is a great organization and the need for support, at this point, is across the board.

“I think a good part of the public loves animals. A big red flag went up at the beginning of the pandemic when everybody said, ‘Please foster. Please adopt.’ People responded, but they forgot that the shelters would just fill up again. We did good things, but good things need to still happen.”


“An Evening of Hope”
to Benefit Heidi’s Village

WHEN: 6 to 7 p.m. cocktail reception and silent and live auction, followed by 7 p.m. dinner and presentation Saturday, February 19

WHERE: JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, 5350 E. Marriott Drive, Phoenix

COST: $175; $75 for video recap including keynote speaker presentation sent out the week following; $15 valet parking; $10 self-parking

INFO: heidisvillage.org

Jackson Galaxy “Total Cat Mojo Live”

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, April 15

WHERE: Fox Tucson Theatre,
17 W. Congress Street, Tucson

COST: Tickets start at $24.75

INFO: foxtucson.com

Jackson Galaxy “Total Cat Mojo Live”

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 16

WHERE: Mesa Arts Center’s Piper Repertory Theater, 1 E. Main Street, Mesa

COST: Tickets start at $35

INFO: mesaartscenter.com

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