Famously violent cat ‘Lux’ may have been systematically abused by man living in the home

Lux the cat

The famously violent ‘Lux the Cat’ may have been systematically abused by the man of the house causing Lux to become irredeemably, defensively aggressive. In the words of Lux’s owner at the time, Teresa:

“It truly makes me wonder, looking back, if something else was going on when I wasn’t home; however I can’t attest to that because I wasn’t around….”


Click on this link if you’d like to read the full saga of Lux in several posts. It’s sad and dramatic. Then please come back to this page.

Lux became a celebrity in 2014. He’s a black-and-white cat and he was all over the news at the time because he terrorised his owners who locked themselves in the bathroom to escape him. It’s a long story, Jackson Galaxy got involved and eventually Lux was relinquished and adopted by a woman whose name I believe is Molly Hunt. This is Lux’s current home. Molly has a blog and on that blog is an interesting insight into what caused Lux to become so aggressive. She says that Lux has been fine with her in his new home but out of the blue he attacked her. He is mentally scared.

Jackson Galaxy with Lux the aggressive cat
Jackson Galaxy with Lux the aggressive cat. Photo Animal Planet

Lux was a good cat at one time

It should be said right away that Lux was not always aggressive. For the first four years of his life he was never aggressive and he was a great cat. He was a normal cat.

The family who were ‘victims’ of Lux’s aggression were Teresa Barker and Lee Palmer (the father of Teresa’s son). Teresa raised Lux from day one of his life. Lux’s mother gave birth to him in Teresa’s apartment. She cared for Lux and she still loves him. Lux was ‘great over the years’ and her best friend.

A year before Lux became aggressive Teresa looked after her grandma which meant she moved in with her. She’d return to her home where Lux lived every day. Teresa became pregnant and moved in with ‘my son’s dad’. I presume she is referring to Lee Palmer. Lux came with her.

She did not get on with her son’s father who was:

“…constantly yelling at me to get rid of Lux. He didn’t like him. I, of course, refused…Lux never acted like this [aggressively] until my son’s dad moved in, so I’m not exactly sure what all took place or what happened other than that day, but it makes me wonder if, when I wasn’t around, something else was going on. Needless to say my son’s dad and I are no longer together.”

Lux started to attack Teresa – the very person who raised him and who he had a close bond with. Very reluctantly she decided to give up Lux after Jackson Galaxy’s visit. It was painful for her but she felt it was the right thing to do.

Teresa now thinks of Lux every day. She says she named him Lux because it meant light.

“He was my best friend, and he is truly missed. Lux was my world. He was a great cat….I know I was a great owner, and he was a great cat.”


Reading between the lines Teresa Barker is saying loud and clear that she believes that the father of her son, Lee Palmer, was abusive towards Lux when she was out of the home or was not with Palmer. This is a credible assessment.

I think you can nearly always trace aggressive behaviour in domestic cats back to how they have been treated. Rarely is it a genuine medical issue. It’s often simply a matter of cause and effect. A person is violent towards a cat and the cat reacts by being violent towards his aggressor. It’s logical and to be expected. I believe this is what happened to Lux. I have always believed it.

If you’d like to read the source of this page, please click here.

19 thoughts on “Famously violent cat ‘Lux’ may have been systematically abused by man living in the home”

  1. Thom Hartmann of Thom Hartmann Show had a cat that had spent many months locked in a bathroom. Maybe it was being locked in that bathroom that made him attack bare legs.
    When he adopted him he would attack bare legs. He was okay if you had pants on but don’t let him catch you in a towel after a shower and don’t wear shorts. Thom and his wife kept him for the rest of his life until he passed away. Maybe you could ask him to write about him and let you post it here.

  2. I remember seeing Lux on TV news and how the cops were called because the owners were trapped in the bathroom. I knew Lux had to have been terrorized and abused. I’ve had 2 cats like Lux Momma Kitty and Scar Face. Both acted just like Lux. As long as I didn’t suddenly wake them up or pet to hard they were fine. Loud noises could set them off. I sent Momma to live with my mother and she never showed aggression again. Scar Face never had a family and people here had sicked their dogs on him, kids threw rocks at him etc. But when I moved into the neighborhood he found a friend and love and moved in with me. Scar Face just got old and settled in finally dying in his sleep at about 23 years old.

    • Sorry ME. I wish the same. I could change the software but it’ll present problems. I think the Facebook comments can be amended.

      • From my childhood to this day I flinch if a hand gets too close to my face.
        The kind of aggression Lux showed to the people in his home to me is an animal lashing out because the last straw has been broken. He may have been defending his territory, his owner in a very ineffective way or simply lost it.
        Stress does not always rise to the surface during the worst encounters but builds up and can be triggered by something that seemed very unimportant at the time. The other suggestion is a traumatic brain injury from abuse that the woman was unaware of happening.
        Like many victims of abuse if this is the case with Lux he may need to be medicated for life or eventually put down. I haven’t been able to find any current info on him. Lux’s original owner does give unintended insight. Hand raised kittens are often a handful and become very attached to their human mama’s. I am a human cat mama and I know this. Between possible abuse another baby and moving things that will stress any cat something tripped the wire.

        • Today is Nay 28, 2021. I adopted Lux from my former employer, Bestfriends Animal Sanctuary in Dec 2018. I had been his primary caregiver at the sanctuary for four years. At home he had a few minor outbursts the first few months. For the past two years however, his mind has healed and he behaves like a pretty typical , intelligent and funny cat. We are thrilled that he is our wonderful boy.

          • The episode of My Cat From Hell that told Lux’s story reran this morning on Animal Planet. After watching it I read through Molly’s blog and then this entry, running across your comment. It is wonderful to know this happy news! Good luck to you, Dale, and Lux and your loved ones!

            • Hi Cassandra,
              I’m happy to let you know that Lux is still doing beautifully in our home. He is a happy, healthy, lazy guy living the good life. We have two other cats among whom Lux is the youngest at 11 years of age. He has not had any sort of “episode” since early in 2019. Thank you for your interest in our boy.

    • WOW! That is the exact conclusion I came to when I read about Lux: PTSD.

      We had a cat like that when I was a teenager. It was very sad and heartbreaking to experience. The slightest thing would trigger his attacks. I hope that Lux will recover into the loving cat he was made to be.

      • I always thought this was the cause i.e. someone terrorising the cat. I am sure thousands of others had the same thought. I am pleased it has come out.

      • I’ve dealt with a lot of severely abused horses. While they can be steady mounts and trustworthy they should only be in the hands of experienced horse people. They are always at risk of having an episode by being accidentally triggered.
        I have also found that people rush forming new bonds of trust with an abused animal. It’s usually 2 steps forward and then dive off the cliff and then start again. I am not at all surprised that Lux was acting out even though he was in expert hands. Real experts understand the process and are braced for the roller coaster ride. Just becasue he was placed in a stable home doesn’t mean his aggression and fear and over-response to stimulus will shut off. You may dial the volume back and he may become more stable but it’s not a quick process. It is extremely important for the human in these relationships to learn to be non reactive and quite within themselves part of the cats or horses objectionable behavior is based on an expected response. You have to become their rock in the storm.

  3. Interesting read. I wondered at the time what triggered the so called neurological disease in Lux. so little is really understood about feline hypersthesia it’s within the realm of possibility that mental stress could result in an actual physical manifestation. Extreme daily stress due to abuse. Especially to a very human bonded cat. Micheal you published another piece about stress in the family home a while back. There is also the more likely possibility that Lux always had feline hypersthesia and the stress of being in a home where he was now being abused brought the symptoms to the forefront. Whatever guardians need to be careful in who they allow into their home constant conflict with a resident pet should be a warning flag. It is a form of domestic abuse to demand someone get rid of a companion pet that was there before them. The words love me love my cat have a much deeper meaning. Respect. As we see on My Cat(guardian)From Hell most of the behavior issues are human based and or a cat reacting to stress in the home. Cats are domestic but retain many of the primal instincts and behaviors of their wild relatives. Unlike canines that have been bred to be human submissive cats seem prone to react like wild animals when pushed to their limits. Nanny cams are incredibly sophisticated and reasonably priced. Every cat guardian should use them when introducing new housemates or significant others or with pet sitters. Maybe not nice but you have a right to know what’s going on. It’s also about establishing rules in your home for anyone there. We do not use yelling or any physical punishment. Our cats are redirected when necessary. I’d say for Lux and the comments of his former guardian he has PTSD.

    • I’d be willing to bet that the boyfriend was the original conditioner with that last kick being the straw that broke the camel’s back.

      • Well said. It all points to that. It was always the common sense cause. I surprised Jackson Galaxy did not mention it. Perhaps it was too sensitive a subject to mention on his show.

        • Lux may indeed have FH. However it’s a manageable conditions so someone abusing him would exasperate even a mild case. Stress management is one of the treatments.
          In almost all cases unless cornered or completely overwhelmed a cat will flee. Some house cats will become territorial.
          I would not be surprised if J Galaxy has holes punched in his walls dealing in a civilized manner for a TV and getting the owners to participate. I couldn’t do it. I’d just say I’m taking your cat and I’m going home!

          • Yes, good point. Nearly all cat behavior problems are in fact human problems which can make it very tricky to address them on television without the cat’s owner becoming aggressive and upset. He has to criticise the owners delicately. I think Galaxy is a skilled people communicator. In fact he has more skills in dealing with people than with cats.


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