Good news! Jackson Galaxy has said that he is going to Portland to speak up on behalf of this cat that has been branded violent. You may have read that Lux is currently in a shelter which, in itself, is cause for consternation amongst people who like cats.
This is actually better than good news, it is great news because there is no doubt in the minds of all cat lovers that Lux needs an advocate, especially an advocate who understands cat behaviour.
Jackson makes some good points. He says that every website about parenting criticises the cat and on every website about pets and cats, the parents are criticised. I would like to make a further point on that statement. The people commenting on sites about parenting are unlikely to understand, sufficiently, cat behaviour. However, the people commenting on pet and cat websites are likely to understand parenting and human behaviour and therefore I would suggest that what is stated on pet websites is more reliable. I don’t think that is a biased statement. I am just saying that, in general, people understand people better than they understand cats.
Jackson makes another good point which is that we need to step away from the hysteria of this story – the hysteria has been stoked up by the press – and start to get down to some cat behaviour basics and a bit of common sense. He makes the point to that we should not assume anything. What he is saying is that there needs to be a thoroughgoing analysis. Personally, I have a feeling that Jackson will be able to diagnose this problem quickly.
Jackson says that there are many reasons why a cat can turn aggressive. It is interesting that he says that he has known cats who acted in a similar way to Lux who were suffering from an abscessed tooth, brain tumour, hyperthyroidism or diabetes. In other words when a cat is ill and the illness is not necessarily apparent he or she may show signs of aggression which are misconstrued by the cat’s owner.
Jackson also says that parents should never leave a young child with a cat, unsupervised. I guess all cat lovers know that basic rule and all parents should know it as well.
Another point that this cat behaviourist makes is that a cat needs a place to retreat to, a place to hide when he is stressed. For example, a cat should be able to climb vertically to climb out of the situation. In the UK, Cats Protection, can supply a device that they call the Feline Fort®, which is both a place where a cat can hide and climb. When a cat has the ability to retreat to a hiding place it provides a period that Jackson describes as a “timeout”.
He says that he does not know at this stage what caused Lux to be aggressive but mentions a possible chemical imbalance (an illness) or a stressful environment or because he was kicked. He was concerned about Lux’s continued aggression (the assault on the bedroom or bathroom door behind which the family were hiding) even though the threat to the cat had gone. My gut feeling about that is this. The aggression continued because – and I’m guessing here – the environment was stressful and there may have been previous examples of this cat being, dare I say it, mistreated; although I’m not saying that the mistreatment was deliberate, it was probably due to a lack of sensitivity and knowledge. When a cat is under continued stress he becomes almost permanently defensively aggressive. This is what is what happened her, I sense.
That underlying stress in the environment meant that it did not take much for Lux to snap and become aggressive and when the child pulled the cat’s tail it was the last straw and that kicked off the retaliation by the owner when he kicked the cat.
Let’s hope that Jackson Galaxy can resolve this matter. A successful resolution would for Lux to find a new home as far as I am concerned. Note: there is probably an element of self-promotion by Jackson Galaxy here, which is understandable as this is a good opportunity to get some nationwide publicity.