There's normal cat aggression (the kind that can be explained and addressed using cat mojo) and then there's abnormal cat aggression that stems from even deeper issues.
The cases of Pink and Zoey are terrific examples of both types.
Here's Jackson on the cases of Pink and Zoey.
Pink - (formerly) aggressive towards all, deeper issues
Pink was a very aggressive cat.
It was really interesting to me to see the lengths that somebody will go to when they say "I commit for the rest of this animal's life that I will have them with me." Katie went so far as to basically pay rent on an extra apartment so Pink could live there, because Katie and Aimee didn't live there. What she wound up doing with this sorta band-aid approach was alienating the cat socially even more, so she (Pink) was that much more freaked out when people showed up, including both Katie and Aimee.
It's one of those things that I see way too often, which is: we slap a band-aid on the problem and the band-aid begets another band-aid, begets another band-aid, and we have a house full of band-aids, which cannot stand.
In order to deal with these problems, you have to get to the root.
With Pink, there was a dual-headed monster at play. One was the fact that she was unpredictable, for sure, and that Katie felt that she could no longer trust Pink to the point where she wouldn't even wear shorts in the house. She always had to wear jeans. Katie sacrificed a lot for Pink but in the process lost her bond with the cat.
One thing that wasn't shown on the show that I feel is really important is that Pink required medication.
Without that medication, there wasn't even a chance of me being able to work with her, because she saw -- as many animals and people do who need mood-balancing drugs -- that the sky is falling. They always see the sky falling. And if you're seeing the sky falling, how could you ever find positive elements in day to day life? So that's one thing that's a little more in-depth about Pink.
But the other part that we just began to explore in the show was being able to trust that cat enough that you could put your hand out, close your eyes, and visualize a good outcome. It was something that was really hard for Katie, that was hard for me, but I had to show her that I could do it as well.
Zoey - normal cat aggression
Zoey's case was really interesting because Michelle wasn't calling Animal Control just because 'she didn't trust Zoey' - that was a given - the other thing was Jon didn't believe that Zoey could inflict that kind of damage. He would come home and the cat was loving and wonderful and perfect. He would leave and she would complain about being viciously attacked.
So basically she was looking to Animal Control to prove to him that the attacks were that vicious.
In the meantime, what she was also doing was slowly signing Zoey's death warrant because it was only going to take a couple of more calls when they would've said, well, this cat is a threat to the people living here, and they could've confiscated him.
So I'm glad we were able to step in when we did.
But it does go to show you that a simple lack of communicative skills between humans can play out in disastrous ways to the animal.
Zoey was a very straightforward case.
Zoey was bored, she was overstimulatable, Michelle did nothing with her all day long while Michelle worked at home, and Zoey was simply looking for an outlet.
Also Michelle acted like a prey animal and Zoey played into that as well.
They just established a really vicious cycle in their relationship that unfortunately, Michelle bore the brunt of.
There are very few cases I've worked on where the cat was almost as big as the human. And I'm not saying that lightly. I mean, Zoey was a big cat and Michelle, if she was 4'10", that would've been a miracle. So y'know, the first time I saw Michelle pick up Zoey, and to see Zoey sorta spilling out over the sides of her arms, and get agitated at the same time…and also to see that Michelle had no knowledge of what her cat needed, y'know in terms of stimulation and overstimulation.... Those were the things that bothered me the most to see.
So Zoey's case was equal parts teaching about cat mojo - teaching about cat body language - and also, getting the couple to communicate more clearly because that almost caused that cat his life.