I was excited to get my copy of Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean by Jackson Galaxy. Released on May 10, 2012, it arrived in the mail a few days ago. I read it voraciously, letting the housework go, and giving the kitties the chance to lounge on my seldom-still form. And to quote Larry the Cucumber, “I laughed, I cried… it moved me, Bob.” Still, this was almost the review that wasn’t to be, because the book is so raw, it leaves its readers looking at their own vulnerability through the reflection of shared pain. At BaxterBoo, we try to keep things upbeat, so I wasn’t sure our readers would want to go there. Until, that is, someone commented on yesterday’s blog…
Yesterday’s blog was about a Yorkshire Terrier in a shelter that adopted five kittens at the Humane Society of Utah. I dutifully provided links to the shelter’s site and posted their video showing the kittens being nurtured by the beautiful Yorkie named Bridget. I apparently didn’t have the volume up enough to hear the comments of the shelter workers who saw this as a photo opportunity, perhaps even going against the vet’s orders of not putting the kittens with the Yorkie mom. I became aware of the situation from a reader’s thoughtful comments about the shelter exploiting the situation for publicity, and knew our readers were capable of scratching deeper.
What does this have to do with Cat Daddy Jackson Galaxy? Quite a lot, actually. See, Mr. Galaxy wrote a gritty, no-holds-barred memoir about his experiences trying to make it in the music industry, working dead-end jobs, struggling with addictions, and how he ended up working at a shelter, performing euthanasia, knowing he was very much living on the edge of life like these unwanted animals. He has very strong words for people who stand in their alabaster homes looking with judgement at shelters that kill unwanted pets. And his heart-wrenching experiences helped me to see and respond to the aforementioned situation with grace.
The Cat Daddy memoir is not for the faint of heart. Nor is Mr. Galaxy fainthearted as he bravely shares what most would keep close to the vest. Sex, drugs, rock and roll, and language that would make a good girl blush, this book lets us peek into the mind of one of the premier advocates for cats and shares the tale of how cats became his True North, saving him from a rather rambling, self-sabotaging path, time and time again. Though he sought to help one particularly broken cat, ultimately, they helped heal each other.
Mr. Galaxy’s songwriting roots have served him well. Poetry and verse wend their way through his observations as he struggles to find meaning in an often senseless world. Always it is the cats that keep him in the here and now, help him to see through his vain imaginations, keeping him grounded when dipping dangerously close to insanity, keeping him humble, yet also giving nuggets of truth from the larger universe that we can all chew on, pet lover or not: Though the road is rough, often because of our own choices, there are still so much to be grateful for and in awe of.
To be sure, there are tips about cats, but the book has much wider implications. This real-life account will have you identifying, thinking, and growing. As a person who resists growth (I’m only five feet tall on a good day) it is nice to know you’re not alone, and that God has given us animal and human friends to teach us and lighten the load of our shared journey. And this is precisely what Jackson Galaxy’s story does as he invites you on his personal sojourn.
Though he is dubbed as a cat behaviorist, Jackson Galaxy delves deeply into the human psyche as well with a bright light making this a brilliant read.
Photos and video courtesy of JacksonGalaxy.com.