Series / My Cat From Hell

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My Cat From Hell
I'm Jackson Galaxy. I'm a musician by night and a cat behaviorist by day. I've met cats with all kinds of problems, but I've never met one I couldn't help.

A series on Animal Planet featuring Jackson Galaxy, "musician by night, cat behaviorist by day," taking on cases from clients whose pets are out of control. Each episode features two cases, and follows Jackson as he meets the clients and their cats, inspects the animals' accommodations, observes and assesses the cats' behavior, and instructs the family on how to address their pets' issues. Jackson prefers a holistic approach to his treatments, and typically suggests activities such as restructuring of the cats' physical environments; adjusting the animals' daily schedules to fit the "hunt-feed-sleep" routine observed by cats in the wild; meeting the cats' requirements for physical and mental stimulation; and educating owners on how to interact with their pets in a healthy manner.

See It's Me or the Dog for the canine equivalent.


This series contains examples of:

  • Ad-Break Double-Take: It's very common for the very last thing that was shown going to break to be repeated coming back afterwards. This can be somewhat distracting when watching from a digital episode without commercials.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Deconstructed. One issue that Jackson is obliged to address in several cases is when people attempt to treat their cat like they would a dog, both in playing with them and in their attempts to discipline them. Since cats behave very differently from dogs, trying to treat one like a dog only exacerbates problems and doesn't help anything.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Jackson Galaxy.note 
  • Badass Beard: Jackson sports a stylized one of these.
  • Bald of Awesome: Jackson without question.
  • Berserk Button: Jackson really doesn't like it when people don't do their homework despite him clearly spelling out that that's the only way their cat can improve.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The hour-long episode featuring Lux, the cat who was so aggressive that the owners had to call 911 when he attacked their seven-month-old child and trapped them in a room, resulted in him being rehomed (a rare outcome for the show). It turned out that Lux, an otherwise calm cat, had a condition causing him to feel pain on random occasions, triggering his violent behavior. Both Lux's owners and Jackson agreed that rehoming was the best choice for Lux and the family. The ending is "sweeter" for Lux in light of the owners' admission that they'd allowed their child to play rough with the cat, the husband had in fact kicked him, and evidence and allegations of neglect/abuse. The family later tried to get him back, but were blocked.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Jackson often ends up pointing out that frustrated humans try to apply their own senses of morality and behavior onto cats, who really don't have such concepts in the first place, so most of the time it's just the humans projecting their own issues. Oscar's owner, for example, was convinced that the cat was deliberately peeing outside his litter box and called him a "spiteful urinator." Jackson's reaction says it all. Turns out Oscar was doing it because he was declawed (something that Jackson and most cat experts will agree is a cruel thing to do in the first place since it's the equivalent of cutting off the tips of a human's fingers) and the litter they were using hurt his feet so much that he didn't feel comfortable going in the litter box, and as soon as they switched to another litter that didn't hurt him, it stopped.
  • Cats Are Magic: Played with in the case of Pump, an elderly orange tom whom Jackson suggested was drawn to the healing properties of the room where his owner practiced her energy medicine. A large part of Jackson's solution for the owner was helping her realize that his presence in the room while she was doing it not only didn't bother her customers, but might actually help them. He accomplished this in part by persuading her to give Pump a session himself and see how much the cat clearly enjoyed it.
  • Cats Are Mean: Played straight in the series title (and taken Up to Eleven with the new logo, in which the snarling black cat is given devil horns and a forked tail while flames swirl behind it), but Jackson makes it clear that the cats' behavior is due to health issues, psychological imbalances, or problems with their living environment, not spite or malice. And the trope is fully averted by the end of each segment, with Jackson helping cats and humans to understand each other and live peaceably.
    • Averted with some of the cats, who merely have annoying behavioral problems (like Avery, the Sphynx cat constantly getting into everything, Lulu, the attention-seeking cat who woke her owner's boyfriend up at night trying to get into the bedroom, and Sulley, the overly-shy cat) and are otherwise quite friendly kitties.
    • Also averted in the recurring segment "My Cat From Heaven," in which Jackson showcases cats working in altruistic roles such as therapy or service animals to do good in the community. One rescue cat wound up saving a baby's life from a fire.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: While usually Downplayed because this is Real Life, Jackson has come across some loons over the course of the series. Dressing pets in ridiculous clothes, treating them like children, and even having kitty weddings between their pets. Naturally, this kind of behavior is one of the first things Jackson has the owner attempt to cut out as part of their 'homework'.
  • Cool Car: Jackson's classic Cadillac convertible.
  • Cool Shades: Jackson often sports these, and occasionally uses them as part of his evaluation session with the cats, placing them on the floor near them to let them get his scent. A few clients have these as well.
  • Crossover:
    • Jackson appeared on Puppy Bowl IX providing Reaction Shot cameos and commentary.
    • Jackson also appears on other Animal Planet series such as America's Cutest Cat and Cats 101.
    • Albert, the Season 6 cat who kept licking people, later appeared on America's Next Cat Star (with the much-less-annoying gimmick of wearing baby clothes and doing other babyish things for photos).
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Noise complaints are a big reason people end up calling Jackson, such as in the case of Oscar, a sphynx cat with an amazingly loud and grating meow. Oscar's owners actually had got an official noise complaint from their neighbors, and Jackson lampshades Oscar's amazing lung capacity several times.
  • Cute Kitten: Once the cats' issues are sorted out, they're absolutely adorable.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": A cat named Kitty, in one case.
  • Domestic Abuser: In the episode Macho Cat, Buddy mirrors his owner's dominating and bullying nature to such a point, you can't help but see Derek as a Domestic Abuser to both his girlfriend and her cat. It gets so bad that Ryann, the girlfriend, moved out with her cat.
  • Driven to Suicide: Doesn't happen during the episode, but one reason Burberry's owner was so attached to her and determined to save her was because Burberry had been one of the reasons she didn't kill herself when she was in a particularly depressed state of mind. This caused Jackson to reveal that he too had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts and been saved by a cat as well.
  • Edutainment: Yeah, it's a really fun show to watch, but it's also packed full of information on cat behavior.
  • Female Feline, Male Mutt: Inverted with Marco (male cat) and Yuki (female dog).
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Applies, at least in the beginning. Most of the cats have normal names like Larry (who was a female cat) and Marco. Special mention goes to one named Fifi and one that was actually named Mr. Fluff.
    • In another sense, some of the cats that Jackson works with are longhaired breeds — Mr. Fluff was named that because he was a Maine Coon, a breed known for its very long and fluffy coat.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Larry and Mufasa both have male names, but are female cats.
  • Gentle Giant: Jackson himself. He's over six feet tall and built like a brick wall.
    • Averted with some of the cats before Jackson steps in — they include Marco, a cat so big and aggressive that his owners feared for their small dog's life, and Mr. Fluff, who's about 20 pounds. It's usually played straight after Jackson's done helping them.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: While Jackson doesn't like cats being dressed up in clothes in general, his expression is almost always a Flat "What." at some of the more interesting things owners dress their pets up as. Not only will Jackson point out how ridiculous it is, he'll also point out how it could possibly be harmful to them as well, and one of the major things he has the owners quit doing as homework.
  • I've Never Seen Anything Like This Before: This is Jackson's basic reaction in "Feral Shop Cat" from Season 9 in which he encounters a couple with a cat they named after him for whom they actually moved to a new home in order to have a second floor to keep him on because he couldn't be with their other cats that he kept attacking.
  • Jerkass: Derek, who constantly mocks Jackson, in addition to his Domestic Abuser attitude mentioned above.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Jackson, of course, and many of the cats' owners qualify as well. Special mention goes to In-Hae, who went to great lengths to get along with her fiancé's cat Marco, with heartwarming results.
  • Lohengrin and Mendelssohn: In the episode featuring Bombadil, his owners decided to stage a wedding for him and another cat. One of his owners played Lohengrin on a piano, and everyone meowed to the tune.
  • Manly Tears: You will know when Jackson is especially moved by one of his clients.
  • Mercy Kill: The mother of one client was convinced that her daughter's cat Burberry, who was blind, had such a reduced quality of life that this was the best option. The daughter was understandably pissed off by this, especially when Jackson found out that the cat was only mostly blind and they were able to increase her quality of life dramatically thanks to his help, and at the end of the episode the mother admitted her mistake and was able to reconcile with her daughter.
  • Mexican Standoff: Jackson mentions the trope by name in the premiere of Season 6, when dealing with Sebastian, a cat so aggressive he didn't even respond to Jackson at first and was in imminent danger of euthanasia.
  • Mr. Muffykins: Yuki is a downplayed example. She is very tiny and has a cute name (it means snow), but her bad behavior was limited to provoking Marco, the house cat, and she was quick to learn how to live peacefully with him. Indeed, her owner was more worried that Marco (a fairly large cat) would hurt her.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • While the show does feature some "hellish" cats exhibiting violent behaviors, Jackson also deals with cats whose problem behaviors are merely annoying, e.g., excessive yowling or getting into areas where they're not allowed. In several episodes, Jackson full-on states that the cat is not the problem, the owners are.
    • One couple had a cat named Larry... a female cat named Larry. According to the owners, she just "had a 'Larry' personality."
    • Also on the list of 'girl cats with male names' is Mufasa.
  • Oh, Crap!: Jackson's usual reaction when he realizes a problem household includes a Bengal cat or Savannah cat — energetic domestic/wild cat hybrids who can overwhelm inexperienced owners with their need for a lot of exercise and extra attention to keep them from misbehaving out of boredom.
  • Once per Episode: "And now, it's time for a Kitty Bit." Beginning in the seventh season, "My Cat From Heaven," a special segment highlighting cats not related to the main focuses of the episode that have done special things for their owners.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: It's very rare for Jackson to encourage emotion-stabilizing medication, but that's what he did for Penny Lane, a cat so unpredictable that he was straight-up scared of her (the medication did do wonders for that).
  • Pop-Up Trivia: My Cat From Hell: Scratch Tracks — reruns of previous episodes with this trope added to them.
  • Pounds Are Animal Prisons: In the final episode of the eighth season, "A Brave New Cat World," Jackson gives an extreme makeover to a cat shelter that very much gives off this vibe.
  • Product Placement: At least one of the seventh season episodes included a litterbox given to a family by Jackson Galaxy from PetCo, with the owner specifically mentioning that it came from PetCo.
  • Psycho Strings: They are used in at least one promo for the show.
  • Real Men Wear Pink:
    • One of Jackson's outfits is a pink bowling shirt.
    • His Cadillac convertible is pink as well.
    • On a broader level, if you passed him on the street your first guess at his occupation would almost certainly not be "Cat Therapist" and probably more like "Rockstar" (which is partially true, he does also play in a band).
  • Rhymes on a Dime: City the Kitty, an orange Bengal/Manx mix.
  • Right Behind Me: Said word for word in an episode where they were trying to catch "Mama Cat", a feral female cat who had a number of litters. While talking to the camera about how trap-savvy Mama Cat was, the cat walked behind the woman trying to help in trapping the cat. "She's right behind me, isn't she?"
  • Senseless Violins: A non-weaponized example; Jackson has a guitar case (with cat eyes painted on the outside) that he carries an assortment of cat toys and other tools of his trade in. Lampshaded when a client says he hopes Jackson has a Tommygun in there to deal with their cat.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: None of the cats have actually been in war, but one of Xena's problems was that she suffered from PTSD.
  • Something Completely Different
    • A Season 6 episode, instead of having Jackson deal with any number of troublemaking house cats, instead has him dealing with a feral cat colony (and mainly trying to trap one of the cats, since she was the only one who still needed to be fixed). The family who called him over did have a cat in their house, but she wasn't really misbehaving, just acting rather skittish because of all the cats in the surrounding area (including the family's garage).
    • This came up again in "Gotham Feral Cats," which premiered in May 2016. A father and son, Scott and Terry, were trying to help a large group of feral cats all on their own and struggling.
  • Spear Counterpart: Jackson can be seen as this to Victoria Stilwell of It's Me or the Dog, though the usual Female Feline, Male Mutt trope is inverted with the host's gender.
  • Stock Sound Effects: video footage is often "enhanced" with generic crashes, bangs, and cat screeches.
  • Survival Mantra: In "My Cat Ruined My Wedding," after being badly scratched by Pink, Jackson Galaxy has to remind himself "I love my job, I love my job, I love my job."
  • Tempting Fate: One of Jackson Galaxy's methods is testing a cat's "challenge line" — pushing a skittish cat to see how closely it can be approached before it will scratch or bite. Of course, if you do this, then sooner or later you're going to get scratched or bit.
  • Theme Naming: Some of the clients coordinate the names of their multiple pets. E.g., Pepper and Olive; Chompy and Bitten (ironically, Bitten was the aggressor who used Chompy as his Chew Toy); Bear and Monkey; Tokyo and Godzilla; Bombadil, Bliss, and Bowie.
  • Title Theme Tune: Beginning in the eighth season, during the intro, a guy can be heard singing in the background "My Cat From Hell! / My Cat From Hell!"
  • Too Dumb to Live: In many cases, the owner is the source of the problem, often due to major ignorance or lack of common sense in dealing with the cat.
    • Multiple owners have insisted on roughhousing with a cat when it's sending clear signals it doesn't want to be touched.
    • Khrys claims to be the owner of her cat Kitty, but leaves it to her boyfriend to clean the cat's litterbox and chase Kitty down when he escapes out the front door, because "That's men's work!"
    • One pregnant client has a cat who bit and scratched her. She had been explicitly told by her doctor that they could not give her antibiotics if she got an infection, so Jackson told her that her job was to make sure she didn't get bitten. As they're talking, she reaches over to pet the cat, something Jackson had literally just told her not to do... Guess what happens.
    • Derek from the Macho Cat episode proceeds to be an ass to his girlfriend and to Jackson Galaxy on national TV. You know, idiot, if you want people to sympathize with you, it's better not to be such a Jerkass. Or abusive.
    • In the season 5 episode Demon Cat, Vincent is a 6-year-old male cat who pees on the floor, tears open window and door screens, chews window blinds, and claws the wall trying to get outside where he routinely gets into fights with other cats. Vincent isn't neutered. When Jackson learns this fact and explains to Vincent's guardians that this is the reason for the behaviour problems, the dad can't imagine how that would change anything. Meaning, in 6 years of his male cat acting like any gonad-possessing male animal in any wildlife documentary, and (presumably) having internet access, he hasn't connected the dots.
    • In the "Vibrational Therapist" episode, there is nothing wrong with Pump or his behavior aside from his painful thyroid (which causes him to yowl loudly at night). Jackson even points out that there is an almost scary level of projection from the girlfriend of Pump's owner.
  • What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?:
    • This is basically Jackson's reaction to a Season 6 cat named Darkness. Darkness' female owner Laura was convinced the cat was demon-possessed and would freak out if he so much as moved toward her. Jackson's argument was that calling the cat Darkness, plus expecting him to act aggressively, wasn't helping anything. As such, one of Jackson's first homework assignments was having them change Darkness' name; they ended up changing it to Jedi.
    • Similarly, one episode has Jackson dealing with a cat that is actually named Spike, but is almost never called that anymore, called "Bastard" instead by the owner because of biting/scratching behavior. One of the first things Jackson does is to nix the "Bastard" because if that's what the owner expects, that's probably what she's going to get.
    Jackson: If I walked up to you and called you idiot, then that might affect our relationship. Just because a cat doesn't understand English doesn't mean they don't understand.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Some owners think that cats can respond to punishment the way dogs do.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/MyCatFromHell