Lux the Cat: Jackson Galaxy Updates The Kitty’s Progress

According to an article in the Seattle Times about Lux, the Portland, Oregon “Attack cat” (aka the 911 kitty), Cat Daddy Jackson Galaxy said;

“I can say without hesitation that Lux is the most complicated character I think I’ve ever dealt with.”

LUX the aggressive kittie
LUX the aggressive kittie – Photo credit: Lux The Cat Facebook Page
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Following its international media release last March, Lux’s story went viral. I suspect that most cat lovers would find it difficult to forget the hair-raising account of the close to 22 pound black and white kitty who, due to his aggressive behavior and “vicious” attack on their seven-month old toddler, drove his guardians, Portlanders Lee Palmer and Teresa Barker to lock themselves and their son and dog in their bedroom and call 911 for help and rescue.

Since Palmer admitted that he kicked the cat after he witnessed Lux attacking his son, the fur started flying around the internet. Some people angrily accused Palmer of animal cruelty while others were worried about what might ultimately happen to the distraught kitty

Although the production of the current season of “My Cat from Hell” had ended, fortunately for all concerned, after Jackson learned about the disastrous and dangerous situation, he became committed to find a way that would allow both the apparently combative cat and his terrified human companions to live in peace.

During Jackson’s first home visit encounter with Lux, he joined the kitty in a bedroom where his guardians had him locked away. Lux peeked up at him from a box in which he was hiding. The cat’s pupils were dilated; he growled and was obviously distressed. But after Jackson spoke softly to him and made eye contact, offering him some treats, Jackson was easily able to pick him up and put him in his lap. Jackson remarked,

“I do not see a vicious cat. I do not see a killer.”

After thoroughly evaluating the kittys behavior, Jackson suspected it was possible that Lux had an underlying medical condition causing his aggressive behavior. As part of their homework, Jackson asked the couple to have Lux evaluated by a veterinarian. The veterinarian found nothing wrong with Lux, but Jackson remained unconvinced and saught a second opinion.

Finally, Jackson was able to convince Lux’s guardians to allow their cat to be fostered by Mollie and Jim, a couple with no children or other pets living in their home. The couple fell in love with Lux and all went well for a few days. But once again Lux became extremely aggressive; attacking his foster parents.

However, another veterinarian finally diagnosed Lux with feline hyperesthesia syndrome which can trigger violent behavior. This painful neurological condition generally causes cats to attack themselves, but with Lux, his behavior was targeted at humans. To control his violent outbursts, Lux was put on anti-seizure and antidepressant medications.

Unfortunately, Jackson’s recent update is one that leaves us hanging. Due to Lux’s aggression, Mollie and Jim were not able to consistently give him the medication, or institute Jackson’s behavioral plans. While they loved him deeply, they too became extremely fearful of the kitty.

As a result Jackson felt that for the sake of all concerned it was time to put some short-range plans into effect. Jackson got Lux under the care of what he referred to as an “amazing cat hospital” where he could live temporarily, receive his medications and get the attention to start working on the behavioral plan Jackson had assigned to Mollie and Jim.

Jackson remains optimistic that once Lux’s condition is stabilized he will be able to resume his adoptive life. But for now, Lux is being housed at a very unique open veterinary space which is as similar to a home situation as possible. Under the care of this veterinary hospital, Lux is doing very well. He is responding to the medication and socialization project.

At the same time however, the Cat Daddy remains cautious since after making certain assumptions he has on occasions been fooled. But throughout all of these ups and downs, Jackson is remaining totally committed to this rather remarkable cat, as he is too all the cats with whom he works.

Mollie and Jim continue to participate in Lux’s life and his “journey to wellness”. All of Lux’s connections hope and believe that this battle can be won.

What makes Lux’s story so compelling to this writer, is that it illustrates how crucial it is not to jump to snap decisions when working with a fractious cat. We who greatly love and admire felines must be ready to commit to dig deeply and creatively when trying to solve difficult and mystifying feline behavior. Jackson Galaxy is a powerful exemplar of someone who is truly committed to helping cats. We all have much to learn from him.

How did you react to Lux’s story when you first heard about him? Have your opinions changed? Tell us in a comment.


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95 thoughts on “Lux the Cat: Jackson Galaxy Updates The Kitty’s Progress”

  1. I’m not a vet either. However, I tend to believe that Lux suffers from some sort of seizure disorder that is triggered at times. It could be triggered because of past abuse or something environmental. But, I believe that he is extremely fearful of something. Brain scans and EEG’s aren’t always 100% reliable.

    I wish I could foster Lux. I’m not intimidated by an aggressive cat. I believe that he has a disability; and, there is nothing that would make me turn my back on him.

    • What would be good, but nearly impossible, is a brain scan during one of his outbreaks, to see which part of his brain is hyper-reacting.

        • I see a great deal of commitment to find out what is wrong with Lux. The challenge is he can’t talk and tell us what is going on. I trust the people who are taking care of Lux now. I keep hearing “I am not a Vet”… They are, and if I know Jackson he picked a good one. We should not put our own emotion on what is going on with Lux. We should really stop saying he was abused when we truly don’t know that. My 5 cats were around an active toddler and they survived. This is a high profile case and the blame is flying. We should wait to see how Lux does on the meds which it sounds like they are working.

  2. PS: My friend lives in another country so couldn’t apply to Jackson for help but yes, she did try many behaviorists and cat communicators as well as medical specialists and vets and had the MRI and other expensive tests done, with the same kind of results Lux had–nobody could identify the problem. But neurological problems in humans are pretty hard to diagnose and treat sometimes too. Good luck, Lux, and I hope if good comes out of your situation it will be publicizing this situation enough (through Jackson’s show) that some research vet will find a cure for it.

  3. Jo, I have a friend who had a cat who behaved similarly to Lux in one of his hissy-fits increasingly often as she grew older, attacking my friend and her littermate brother quite viciously and without any aggressive behavior or other provocation on the part of either human or co-cat. My friend loved this cat so dearly and tried everything she could think of to find out what was wrong and cure the kitty, whether the problem was behavioral or medical, over a period of years. But it did not end well for anyone. My friend still is heart-broken and guilty over the eventual outcome although I think anyone else I know, including me, would have given up on the cat long long ago. I guessed when we were discussing it that it sounded like a seizure condition, possibly one in which the cat experienced quite a lot of pain, which is how Jackson and the vet described this condition and really fits the behavior of this other kitty as well as Lux, but, as with Lux, this condition began when the cat had already been with the human for many years, which made it even harder and sadder. I hope Lux can survive but I hope even more than someone can find an actual cure for this disease instead of debilitating drugs that rob the cat and his humans of the normal behavior that is present the majority of the time. If only the cat just did this at the full of the moon, like a werewolf, and could be locked up at just this time and he and his humans enjoy each other’s companionship except for the occasional lapses! But I know from my friend’s situation that this is not behavior arising from extra stress or lack of love or abuse or failure to care enough, and how hard it is to love someone so much and be terrified of them at the same time. It’s like the worst case of domestic abuse ever except that the abuser is totally incapable of controlling him or her self and doesn’t seem to realize what happened afterward. It’s one of the most tragic things I’ve ever known to happen to a kitty and a cat/guardian relationship. Poor Lux and I feel so badly for the people who love Good Lux but can’t live with the threat of his unwitting and unwilling violence.

    • What about a mild stroke that caused mild brain damage which in turn changed his character. Cats can have mild strokes without it being noticed. Long shot. I suppose the vets have covered all the angles.

  4. I am so glad Jackson stepped in to help Lux!!! I scour his website looking for updates 🙂 Getting him stabilized and then finding a family willing to continue treatment will be difficult at best! Awesome article Jo!!!!

  5. Donna,

    I would imagine that Lux is receiving a Prozac-type medication, along with phenobarbitol to control seizures. According to Dr Dodman, serotonin (the happiness hormone)helps to promote a feeling of well-being, and it has something to do with muscle contraction.

    The cat did have an MRI (under sedation) of course, and full xrays. I wish I knew more about all of the medical/psychological findings, but apparently what he is receiving now is doing a really good job at controlling seizures and helping him to feel more at ease.

  6. I’d like to know what meds the cat is on. Wheez has been on amitryptiline for a bladder problem, but it also had calming effects on her. In the pharmacy, we’ve seen kitties on prozac and even valium, which in the correct doses shouldn’t cause excessive sleepiness or laziness. I for one would not be against medicating the cat versus putting him to sleep. First he would have to be stabilized though, perhaps via injections in the vets office before anyone tried to orally medicate him. Or, injections might be the way to go…a lot of people give their cats daily insulin for diabetes…any route of giving medication would be acceptable to euthansia.

    I’d also like to know if the kitty has some sort of constant pain that may not have been discovered yet…have they exrayed his back/tail to rule out a disk problem that could be causing excruciating pain?

    The tail should also be checked for a possible dislocation/nerve impingment.


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