It’s all about territory. It’s one of the basic needs of cats.
In this post, Jackson talks about how the issue of territory came into play with the cases of Buddha and Dylan.
For more, check out this companion post where Jackson lets you in on the holistic remedies that he uses in situations like these.
Buddha – Getting a Cat Temple
Really, even though the “Buddha’s Temple” thing might seem kinda silly, the cool thing about it is that it’s not just a matter of asking your neighbors and your friends to approach Buddha in a different way. Remember, Buddha had beat up everybody on the block, pretty much. The way that you really had to push to the other side was not just get them to approach it neutrally, but let’s push it all the way to the other side. And that is to treat him like some kind of a god. And we bring humor into it that way, and by bringing humor into it you can sort of diffuse the situation. Not just for the neighbors and the friends but also for Hector, who was scared of the cat. This almost pokes fun at the fear itself, even though it was no joke, because as anybody remembers, Buddha put a hurting on me that I will not soon forget, as I honestly didn’t feel my hand for the rest of the day. But I was one of those people who actually, y’know, wound up putting an offering into the temple. I mean, for me, it’s never a problem to find that sort of empathetic side of the cat, but for everybody else I thought it worked really well.
Also I thought that Buddha’s episode was really important because it was the first time that we were really able to bring in, in a really profound way, the benefits of a bio-appropriate diet, and to have Rick and Hector embrace that raw food diet, and also, not just having him eat raw, but controlling how he wound snarf his food, changed his life. I mean that cat’s life changed immediately. In the course of the six weeks that we worked together, he lost a really nice amount of weight. I don’t remember how much it was but it was at least a couple of pounds, in a healthy way. We never starved him, we didn’t used that old model where you feed less, he ate what he wanted to eat but he ate what was right for his body and his body responded and changed in a really great way.
And also, I believe it changed his behavior as well. The lighter he got the less grumpy he was. The less grumpy he was, obviously, the less people got bit!
By the time I left Buddha, he was a really comfortable cat. That was really nice.
Tools of the Trade
Slow Feed Pet Bowl
Jackson had Buddha use a food bowl that forced him to slow down his eating. The Slow Feed Pet Bowl might seem odd, but slower eating also aids digestion and nutrient absorption.
Dylan – Learning Cat Territory
I think for Dylan, one of the things that was really important was the concept of the way we catified the house. The “open house.” And again, we used humor with Richard being a realtor and we brought in the “open house” thing just to be a little humorous about it, but the thing about it was we had to increase the ownership of the space. We’ve done that with many cats this season. And I can think of a couple off the top of my head: Capri being one of them, and also Tony being another, where we were trying to take the ‘safe space’ and the symbols of that safe territory and spread them throughout the house.
If you make their world “this big,” and when I say “this big,” I mean the size of my hand, well then they’re only going to feel confident in my hand. If you take those things and spread them throughout the rest of the house, they’ll feel confident in the rest of the house. And that was something that we learned with Dylan.
Another important thing, and again, we’ve seen it this season: Why is it that the dog always gets a free pass? Somehow, it’s never the dog’s fault when the cat acts up. Kiko was another example of a dog that just needed to learn how to not lunge for the cat in order for the cat to feel safe. Remember, we can show that cat that hey you own this space, but if the dog always goes after the cat, then that’s a check that we can’t cash. And in order to make that a check we can cash, we have got to train the dog to be able to sit, stay, and be near the cat without lunging. And somehow, not then blame the cat for all the mayhem that ensues.
It is our obligation to train our dogs. If we don’t do that, then we have to realize that the dominoes fall from there, not to there. The dominoes don’t start falling from the cat to the dog, it rarely happens that way. We’ve seen it before, but it rarely happens. It happens more when the dog lunges, eats the cat’s food, sticks their nose in the cat’s litter box, and we saw that again with Dylan and Kiko. And it was great to see Diane and Richard embrace training.
For more info on the cases on Buddha and Dylan, check out this Spirit Essences Report.
We regret that Jackson does not answer questions posted in the comments. This is due to his demanding schedule and the high volume of requests he receives. But most importantly, since he has not met your cat, it would be contrary to his approach for him to give specific personalized advice for your specific situation. That being said, general questions and issues are addressed throughout this blog, in his book CAT DADDY and of course, the show My Cat From Hell.