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:
- All Animals Are Dogs: 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 McCoolname: Jackson Galaxy.
- Badass Beard: Jackson sports a stylized one of these.
- Bald of Awesome: Jackson without question.
- 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. One such owner was convinced that her cat was deliberately peeing outside his litter box and called him a "spiteful urinator." Jackson's reaction says it all. Turns out the cat 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.
- 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.
- Cross Over: Jackson appeared on Puppy Bowl IX providing Reaction Shot cameos and commentary.
- He's also appears on a couple of other Animal Planet series, such as America's Cutest Cat and Cats 101.
- Cute but Cacophonic: Noise complaints are a big reason people end up calling Jackson, such as in the case of one sphynx cat with an amazingly loud and grating meow.
- Cute Kitten: Once the cats' issues are sorted out, they're absolutely adorable.
- 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.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Applies, at least in the beginning. Most of the cats have normal names like Larry (who was a female cat). Special mention goes to one that was actually named Mr. Fluff.
- Follow the Leader: Has been followed up by My Tiny Terror in June 2014, wherein a Distaff Counterpart of Jackson specializes in unruly small dogs such as chihuahuas and pomeranians.
- Gentle Giant: Jackson himself. He's over six feet tall and built like a brick wall.
- 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 fiance's cat Marco, with heartwarming results.
- Jerkass: Derek, who constantly mocks Jackson, in addition to his Domestic Abuser attitude mentioned above.
- 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 mother admitted her mistake and was able to reconcile with her daughter.
- Non-Indicative Name: A variant on the show's name. While some cats who exhibit some violent behaviors qualify as cats from hell, some of them who are merely annoying don't fit the bill.
- Above example: Pump, the elderly orange cat who lives with a "vibrational therapist," and whose problem behaviors were limited to wanting to be in her workspace and nightly yowling which turned out to be caused by a thyroid problem. In several episodes (including Pump's case) Jackson full-on states that the cat is not the problem, the owners are.
- In a non-hellish example, one couple had a cat named Larry. Fine, until you're told the cat is a female. According to the owners, she just "had a 'Larry' personality."
- 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."
- Pop-Up Trivia: My Cat From Hell: Scratch Tracks - reruns of previous episodes with this trope added to them.
- 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).
- 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 in one episode when a client says he hopes Jackson has a Tommygun in there to deal with their cat.
- Spear Counterpart: Jackson can be seen as this to Victoria Stilwell of Its 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.
- Theme Naming: Pepper and Olive; Chompy and Bitten (ironically, in the latter case, Bitten was the aggressor who used Chompy as his Chew Toy).
- Bear and Monkey
- Tokyo and Godzilla
- Too Dumb to Live: Applies to more than one owner who insists on roughhousing with their cat when it's sending clear signals it doesn't want to be touched. Also, Khrys, who 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!"
- Also one client with a cat who bit and scratched her who was pregnant and 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 bit. As they're talking to Jackson she reaches over to pet the cat, something Jackson had literally just told her not to do, and guess what happens.
- Derek from the Macho Cat episode. On national TV, he proceeds to be an ass to his girlfriend and to Jackson Galaxy. You know idiot, if you want people to sympathize with you, it's better not to be such a Jerkass. Or abusive.
- In the episode Demon Cat in season 5, Vincent is a 6 year old male cat who is peeing on the floor and 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, and explains to Vincent's guardians how 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 (I'm assuming) having internet access he hasn't connected the dots.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Some owners think that cats can respond to punishment the way dogs do.