I perked up big-time when our excellent neighbors Fuzzy and Zoe dropped a line the other day to say: “There is this new show ‘My Cat From Hell’ on Animal Planet . . . . This guy [Jackson Galaxy] is incredible. I learned a lot about a cat’s behavior and needs, and I’ve had cats my entire life.”
Anything that comes our way from our pals Fuzzy and Zoe, we are so on it.
I’m glad for their tip.
Recall my description of what Bugs was doing to hurt and scare the *&)$#@!! out of me. See the past couple of posts around this one, plus:
Some of you suggest Bugs is trying to establish dominance. Another factor might be his foraging instincts on warp overdrive. Recall that I was excited about the results I got yesterday when I applied, to Bugs, what I could grasp from Cesar Millan’s approach to dogs.
Well, Jackson Galaxy has me rethinking the squirt-bottle, and the Cesar, strategies.
Now, before I say why, a few things need clearing up. One, forget the apparently funky stuff inside the bottle. The contents are plain clear water. It’s just the bottle itself that’s weird. In any case never mind the contents. Just me reaching for the bottle is enough. Water has actually come out of it maybe once, only, and Bugs is so fast, very little if any hit him anyway.
It’s true he flinches at the sound of it, or the mere sight of it in my hand – but on the other hand, recall that Bugs has also bent the bottle to his will, and it’s even money who won that throwdown.
In any case, this morning I didn’t need the bottle. The finger-point strategy alone worked to save my hide. And the intensity-level was legions lower. I didn’t even need the SHH. All it took was to hold myself a certain way, put a certain look in my eye, and point at him. He quit right away. (Well, after several tries on his part, that is.)
Jackson Galaxy has some clips on his website (I can’t get but clips from Animal Planet), and one of these is about – the Squirt-Bottle!
Jackson does not approve.
I hope you can find seven minutes to watch Jackson’s website clip and see for yourself why F&Z and I think this guy is so worth paying attention to. I just love his whole deal. (No teeth-whiteners for Jackson. I’m just guessing here.)
Jackson says that behind every “no” there has to be a “yes.”
(What, does this guy know Nonviolent Communication? This is so Marshall Rosenberg! This is so – well, Fuzzy and Zoe, so – POSITIVE!)
Jackson means a “yes” from the cat’s point of view. Based on understanding. He actually uses the word “compassion.” A “compassionate way of seeing their world.” (Jackson must know Nonviolent Communication.)
That’s to say, the world of cats. Which is, to state the blindingly obvious, not a dog’s world – so I’m seeing that Cesar’s teachings ought not apply so readily to Bugs after all.
Jackson says squirt-bottles make your cat scared of you. You’re eroding the bond with your cat, and you haven’t done what you set out to do in the first place. Which is to “train” or “teach” him –
Or, to put it differently, to find a solution that works for everybody.
And that would be, by Jackson (and so much by me, too) not to bend cats to our will. The way that works is to see things from the cat’s perspective. To find strategies to get what you want, while still letting the cat think he owns the territory.
So Jackson talks about specific strategies to keep cats away from kitchen counter-tops. These sound easy and smart to me. (You want to use an electric-eye air-puffer device make the counter-top, not you, consistently the bad guy. This is the “no.” And then, for the “yes,” to provide other alternatives that get the kids up off the kitchen floor.)
Unfortunately in my case, it’s my person that’s the counter-top – and I want to find a way to make my person the good guy here.
I know Jackson will know what to do.
I know that because – as you’d know if you’ve seen the shock-horror clips on the Animal Planet link – his show is called “My Cat From Hell” for a reason. The cats on Jackson’s show make Bugs look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms. Bugs doesn’t come close to these felines – let’s just evaluate them “troubled” or “dysfunctional.” Or, as NVC Marshall Rosenberg would say, they’re expressing their needs in a suicidal way that’s sure not to work out for them in the longer term. (Humans, by the way, invented this strategy. Who says cats can’t learn.)
Anyway, I know the problem with Bugs is bigger than just this early-morning thing. Bugs’s energy is, at the moment and in general, just more than I can comfortably handle. (And, Jackson FYI, Bugs is of common or garden stray stock. He’s not some insane tiger-scorpion hybrid.)
Jackson says he’s up for a vigorous debate about the squirt-bottle issue. So, calling Jackson Galaxy:
Until I can put together the $$ for a distance-consult with you (and believe me I mean to, but it’ll be a spell; see The Well of Despair a/k/a The Old Car) –
Where it isn’t the counter-top that can be turned into the bad guy, it’s the person herself?
When that person has knocked herself out spending many hours and the national debt to provide as much vigorous work-out and mental stimulation for the (confined in(small)doors)
tiger-scorpion cat as possible –
tiger-scorpion cat is still a monster on steroids? Even minus his late-lamented ‘nads?
If you need to be brought up to speed on how much energy this cat truly has, check out: http://catself.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/bugs-aims-high/