Friday, January 22, 2016

Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean, by Jackson Galaxy (author, narrator), Joel Derfner (author)

Tantor Audio, May 2012

Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet's My Cat From Hell, is an unlikely cat behaviorist; he looks like a biker gang member, and begins his story as a down-and-out rock musician with a drug problem. But during that period, he got a job at an animal shelter, to keep money coming in while leaving his mind free to write songs, and he unexpectedly connected, with the animals and with the work.

Galaxy tells his story, starting in Boulder, Colorado at what was undoubtedly an extremely low point in his life, with energy, unflinching honesty, and even humor. A big part of that story is a little grey-and-white shorthair cat named Benny, who comes into his life with a broken pelvis and labeled "unbondable" by his surrendering owner. Benny is his first experience in fostering, a formative experience in learning to understand and communicate with cats on their terms, and, of course, his first experience with what many people in animal rescue call "foster failure," i.e., the foster parent winds up adopting the foster pet. (Galaxy himself doesn't use that term in telling his story.)

In a relatively short book, there's a lot here about cat behavior, understanding your cat, and making life better for both of you. There's also a lot about simply learning to be a human being, about embracing life rather than shutting oneself off to avoid pain, learning to take responsibility for one's own choices, and at the same time letting go, not just recognizing but accepting that you can't control the world or the choices of others in it, and that's okay.

Galaxy reads his own book, and does so in a clear, expressive, compelling voice.

Recommended.

I bought this book.