This is my review of Jackson Galaxy’s book Total Cat Mojo. I admire the man. He has a very profound understanding of cat behavior through years of problem solving for clients. He has even developed his own idiosyncratic language to describe and explain it. That’s the first problem, I think. His language is interesting but it is perhaps unwise to use language which gets in the way of clarity.
The book has another problem. I have a feeling that he discussed with his collaborators the concept behind the book and was drawn away from his personal preferences. There are a myriad ways to explain cat behavior and how to look after a domestic cat in a book and I think he chose the wrong way – for him.
Lacks clarity and is soggy and opaque
The book should have been about half the length and it should have been written exclusively by Galaxy. I think he could have cut out some of the Galaxy cat language. It should have been more straightforward and less technical while retaining the nuances and depth of information. It is about explaining with clarity. And the history of domestic cats and other ancillary information could (should) have been left out. It is out of place. It was an attempt to make the book more of a manual but that is not Galaxy’s style.
I don’t think working with Mikel Delgado PhD improved the book. Actually, it made it worse. This is not to criticise Mikel Delgado PhD who clearly is very wise and knowledgeable. I just think the extra bits detract from the book; less would have been more.
I’ll be blunt, the collaboration between Delgado and Galaxy is a failure. She is far too cerebral. She writes scientific studies which are massively engineered technical documents. Her contribution clutters the book and makes it less focused, which is already tricky to read because of Galaxy’s idiosyncratic way of explaining things.
What it could have looked like
The kind of book I think he should have written would have been about 150 pages in length and more along the lines of Dr Desmond Morris’s Catwatching The Essential Guide To Feline Behavior which is probably the best book on cat behavior ever written despite being published 36 years ago (at 2023).
That book is much easier to read. In short, as mentioned, I believe Total Cat Mojo lacks clarity. It might have helped if there were a few pages at the beginning explaining his phrases such as, for example, the “raw cat” and “scent soakers”.
Average cat owner needs plain English
I have learned that it’s important to write in straightforward English when writing for cat owners. Authors about cat behavior need to speak to the lowest common denominator, the person who’s concerned about cat welfare but who lacks a good education.
I use the book as a reference sometimes but I am reluctant to open it for the above reasons. Although it is nice to know what Jackson thinks on cat behavior and problem solving.
The book has an index but I don’t think it works that well. This is because indexes work best with books that present hard facts in a concise way. This book isn’t well organised. A modern cat reference book which is well organised is Dr Bruce Fogle’s Complete Cat Care. Super clear. Clarity is everything.
These are my personal thoughts.
P.S. It might look as if I am deliberately criticising Mr Galaxy. I am not. These are my genuine thoughts and I am happy for people to disagree with me.
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