A quick word if you’re new here: Bugs was a semi-feral six-month-old kitten when he permitted this Bean to take him in. He had some contact with other beans before he came to this one — but not much. This blog is essentially about how Bugs is teaching Bean how to live with him — and Bugs is, my friends, a lot of man-cat.
Mr. Jackson Galaxy, of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell,” has come to our attention thanks to our friends in the blogosphere. Here is Bugs entering Jackson’s link into Teresa’s iPad the other day.
Yesterday we watched an episode of Jackson. A couple of things stood out. This morning it seems most fitting to talk about the aspect of Jackson that is:
I want to hasten to add, though, that gentleness is not the whole Jackson story. You’d have to have some steel in you, to do what Jackson does with the desperate felines lucky enough to get him. (This steeliness is most apparent when Jackson
gives orders to works with the humans involved.)
But when Jackson talks to the felines, he softens his eyes and he softens his voice. The guy’s called a cat whisperer, but to me he seems more like a cat singer.
So this morning Bugs and I went through the drill that’s a happening thing between us these days. Bugs starts his engines around 6:30. I persuade him away from the claw-launch maneuver. You who know what I’m talking about will be as glad as I am to hear me say:
We are making progress with this.
I’ve written about how that’s been going, and it’s still going in that direction — i.e., GOOD.
Today I want to announce a new development, born of Jackson’s wisdom and Jackson’s gentleness.
Jackson’s wisdom told us we needed to expand Bugs’s world into the third dimension. We complied; we installed shelves.
Jackson’s wisdom told us Bugs’s claw-launch maneuver was probably play-aggression, and that what we needed to do was work him out; let air out of the balloon. We complied; we play vigorously.
Here’s a shot of Bugs as we’re playing — up on one of our shelves. You can see: He’s still pretty intense at this stage of operations.
At this point, though, I’d had about enough of the crazypants gig. I felt tired and hot (friends, we are in the grip of historic shvitz down here in this July Arkansas. “Shvitz” meaning like Turkish bath, for you who don’t speak Yinglish). I then remembered Jackson’s gentleness.
I sat down and started to do a probably-somewhat-bizarre combination of t’ai chai, audible breathing, and chanting. (Kim, Max: I was doing “lift-hands.”)
Look what happened — in short order.
He’s still in that position.
And I’m in the room with the window-unit, doing what I want to do, which is writing this blog.
Oh my GOODNESS!! This is amazing!! I truly hope that everything is going well and you’re just not wanting to tell the bad stuff. Well, as a cat owner, I know bad stuff will still happen because cats are BAD sometimes, but I do hope that the good strongly outweighs the bad. And I hope this heatwave will go the hell away very soon. It’s starting to strongly affect my already shaky mental stability.
Truly: This is the real deal. FOR THE MOMENT. AND, at the SAME time — you are SO right. Cats are cats are cats. Just as soon as I finished the post (like he knew!!!) he woke up and started shouting at me to cheerlead, as he slaughtered the kind of roach you and I know about, being from around here . . . .
I, too, know of what you speak. JhaJha won’t touch those disgusting creatures, though. (I try to love everybody, but I’m not quite there yet.) Isn’t it cute how they want a cheerleader? I’d love some audio on Bugs.
Oh Typist — you are amazing for trying to love those things. And I do wish I could figure out the tek to be able to do audio here — readers would probably be amazed. I’m thinking of changing Bugs’s name to Bill O’Reilly.
Think of it as saving you money on cat food!
Maybe he did know! Not that you were done posting, but that some of that energy that needed quiet rather than action was gone.
That’s why I like cats – I’m not their boss and they aren.t mine. At times they can lend calmness to me and at other times I can do it for them. Its not a coincidence that cats tend to gather around you when you are watching TV or reading, just to feel what you feel.
HA! He calls those things hors d’oeuvres. A little “amuse bouche” before the main course. I like what you say about the conversation running both ways, calm running to and fro. I want more calm in my life, so I’m studying up on it with Mr. Bugs. Mr. Demento Crazypants. I think I might need another role model.
I think Jackson is amazing, and even though I do not have what I consider to be “problem kitties” I still learned things from watching the show. I’m so glad it has been renewed, as I think it can help lots of beans with their kitties.
Isn’t that the truth. Judging from the vast improvement in this household, the need must be huge. Go Jackson!
13 tails up for progress!! Scouty and CC were completely feral when they came in (were captured) at around 3-4 months old. Scouty, while very happy to live with us, requires absolutely NO touching. CC on the other hand, is quite the love bug, provided he approaches us. Neither were ever aggressive, other than the usual hissy spitty of little kits. I think Bugs has come a long way…taming a half feral cat is not easy! It’s wonderful that he’ll take cues from you.
Oh thank you, 13Tails! Given your vast and varied experience at the catio, your encouragement is fabulous to hear. Plus I’m glad to know that, about Scouty. No wonder he’s so scared of the stewpot.
Awwwwwww Bugs! Isn’t it funny how, just when you’re ready to tear your hair out by the roots, they do something unexpected and sweet!?! Go Bean!
So true. Yay, and thank you a million for the encouragement. Music to my ears, singing sista.
cool-io is right. I so enjoy reading your blog and rooting for you two on your journey 🙂
And I yours — I’m so happy we share like this.
Yay, it was great to see the pictures of Bugs coming off of the “predator-prey” high and relaxing!
And I totally agree about the gentleness. I was very taken with Jackson’s approach to these frankly terrifying cats, and saw his gentleness well, gentle them at least a little bit, long enough to let their people renovate and change the environment more to suit feline nature.
It’s refreshing to see someone willing to work WITH the cat, rather than trying to force the cat to conform to our expectations. Because as anyone who has ever had any experience with cats knows, they are nonconformists at best, perhaps jumping over the line into blatant anarchy on occasion!
Oh I was so amazed at seeing him turn on a dime like that. First time! And I am a total Jackson fan, for exactly the reasons you say.
I am sending Teddy right over. He drives us all crazy here.
I see that, over at your place. Monster. How’d that cute face look on the FBI Most Wanted posters? My sympathies.
I’m so pleased that it’s still going well for you. Inspired by you and Mr Galaxy, I brought up the subject of cat shelves/trees/jungle gyms with my husband and he didn’t flinch when I talked about attaching numerous things to the walls. So, the planning stage is underway!
I look forward to what you’re going to do with the greatest interest. Knowing you, it’ll be terrific.
My head is bursting with ideas but most would not be possible with the space I’ve got. I have thoughts of ramps, sisal covered climbing poles, ‘nest boxes’ over the doorways…but I think I have to be sensible and keep it to a few cleverly placed shelves and a wall mounted scratching board. If only I had space for a cattio like the Kapnip Lounge crew have got – Spock would adore that.
Eleanor, do check out that link in Oldcat’s comment. Food for thought. Your landlord might object to holes in the walls, however. And I have an idea that this is a never-ending path. Even Katnip Lounge longs for the steeply pitched bark-covered ramp she doesn’t have. Yet.
I’d seen mention of their book. I didn’t know they had a site with so many pictures! And, yep, that’s the sort of thing I’d love to do but on a MUCH smaller scale. The floor to ceiling climbing pole was something that I wanted to do + the zig-zag walkway would work great in our hall. There is no problem with landlords and wall holes here. As long as when you leave you put the place back to how it was it’s ok. You are expected to re-paint throughout when you leave a property anyway, so we’ll have to do that – it’s not much extra bother to fill in some holes first. It’s much more laid back than in the UK (I used to work in property rentals!).
You might want to look at http://www.thecatshouse.com/ for a view of a classic ‘insanely cat friendly’ house.
Yup. Deservedly famous. I love the color — and the complete devotion. Others call it insane. I call it normal.