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.”
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.