What is a wallflower cat?

Jackson Galaxy uses the phrase “wallflower cat” in his book Total Cat Mojo. He also uses the phrase “the raw cat” a lot as it is fundamental to his ideas.

The two are linked. When you tap into a domestic cat’s mojo, they are more content and more confident. They behave more naturally because you are tapping into the raw cat. You are pushing the buttons which activate the raw cat inside. This is the opposite to a wallflower cat who is likely to be retiring, timid, lacking in confidence; a cat who is likely to spend more time than usual in hiding or keeping out of the way. Also, a cat who is less likely to be interactive and go forward towards events and new people.

If you tap into the wallflower cat’s raw cat within you can activate their mojo. When you do that the flower blooms.

Timid cat
Timid cat. A wallflower cat. Image in the public domain.
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This leads to the inevitable discussion about timidity and confidence in domestic cats. Confident cats are seen as friendly cats whereas sometimes timid cats are not. This is essentially incorrect because the reason why confident cats are seen as more friendly is because they come forward towards people with more confidence including strange people sometimes.

And they are more likely to interact when things are happening. This gives the impression that they are inherently more friendly. It is not quite true because there is no automatic connection between confidence and friendliness or timidity and unfriendliness. But, also, a kitten who has inherited his parents’ confidence will socialise themselves faster and more efficiently than a timid cat because they have the confidence to engage more. A better socialised cat is a more friendly cat.

To return to that wallflower cat, you can’t entirely make him/her a bold and confident one because a lot of it is inherited and so it is a character trait which is set in concrete but if you tap into the wallflower cat’s raw cat within you can activate their mojo. When you do that the flower blooms.

It’s all about the environment created by the caregiver. A considerable part of a cat’s behaviour is dictated to by the environment in which they live. The remainder is inherited and how their character was formed during the very early weeks of their lives. Specifically, the cat should (1) be able to move vertically and (2) be given the opportunity to do ‘substitute hunts’, meaning plenty of play.

Jackson Galaxy doesn’t believe that domestic cats really exist because the raw cat i.e. the wildcat within, is so near the surface that they behave really like modified wildcats. It’s important, Jackson Galaxy would say, that people recognise this. It’s about human expectation management. Sometimes people see their cat as a little human which is nice and indeed it can be useful to the relationship but cat caregivers should always remember that they are living with a top-line predator with every aspect of their anatomy designed through evolution to catch and kill animals.


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