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'My Cat From Hell' host to tame Portland 911 cat

'My Cat From Hell' Host to Tame Portland 911 Cat

LOS ANGELES - The large cat that attacked a baby and trapped an Oregon family in a bedroom touched off an Internet uproar that worries Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet's "My Cat from Hell."

Cats don't become ferocious felines that turn on their families for no reason, says the cat behavior expert, who is heading to Portland soon to work with the 4-year-old part-Himalayan pet named Lux. Galaxy will film the visit for his show's fifth season, which kicks off April 26.

"Every parental site on the Internet blames the cat for this confrontation. Every pet site blames the family," he said, adding that something is wrong if the cat is acting out. "We need to step away from the hysteria. There is a story behind all this. Don't assume anything."

Lux became a worldwide phenomenon after owner Lee Palmer called 911 and said the cat had cornered him, his girlfriend, their baby and the family dog inside a room.

Palmer says his 7-month-old pulled Lux's tail, and he kicked the animal after it scratched the child. Then, the cat "just went off over the edge," Palmer told an emergency dispatcher after the family barricaded themselves. "He's charging us," Palmer said, as the cat was heard screeching in the background. Officers arrived and caught Lux with a dog snare.

Palmer said the cat had a history of violence, but the family kept Lux until Monday, when they turned him over to a Portland-area shelter. But the family assured Animal Planet they were going to keep the cat and agreed to therapy with Galaxy.

Palmer didn't return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment Tuesday.

There are many reasons a cat can turn aggressive, and there is no universal way to deal with it, Galaxy said. But the star feline behaviorist provided five ways to tame out-of-control cats:

- Never leave a young child unsupervised with a cat.

- Take it to a vet at least once a year. If a cat is acting suspiciously, the owner needs to pay attention. "Know what suspicious looks like," Galaxy said. "If they're not feeling well, cats will socially withdraw themselves, or they will lose weight, or they will gain weight, or they'll be howling in the middle of the night when they never did before.

"I've known cats who acted out similarly to Lux because of an abscessed tooth, a brain tumor, hyperthyroidism or diabetes."

- Make sure cats can literally climb out of a situation. Having a space up high, like a cat condo, to get away from children and other pets is crucial, Galaxy said. "Make sure the cat can make the choice to get away from the kid," he said.

- Timeouts are good things. "We associate timeouts with punishment, but in the world of cats, timeout is not a punishment." They can go to a designated place where they can settle down, come back to a peaceful moment or ground themselves, he said.

- Stop fights between felines with "timeout drills." With simple pieces of cardboard, left strategically around the house, you can stop a fight between two cats. Put the cardboard between them, blocking their vision and providing a moment of disorientation when you can lead them to their timeout spot. It's especially important to have the drills with aggressive cats.

Galaxy said he was going to Portland to act as Lux's advocate and find out what's wrong.

"I have no idea what made Lux aggressive," he said. It could be a chemical imbalance, a history of stressful environments or because he was kicked.

"If you want a blanket statement on how to deal with aggression, how about, 'Don't set the cat up for failure,'" he said.

The behaviorist, who has worked with tens of thousands of cats, said the thing that bothered him most about Lux was his continued aggression the day Palmer called 911, including the animal's ongoing assault on the door even though the threat was gone.

But the word "attack" doesn't sit well with Galaxy because 75 percent of the time, it's tied to a grouchy mood or a warning, he said.

"If I have a headache, I won't be the nicest guy in the world. I may snap at you," he said. "This may have been Lux's way of snapping. Hypothetically speaking, someone pulling his tail may have been the last straw."

Check out a video from the 'My Cat From Hell' series:

'My Cat from Hell': Feistiest Felines

Join the discussion

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xraybrain March 21 2014 at 6:39 PM

the cat was just "standing his ground"

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MELISSA March 21 2014 at 5:42 PM

If someone pulled my tail and then another kicked me in the ass, I'd go crazy too! Don't blame the cat...he was defending himself

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dr scott kanner March 21 2014 at 5:40 PM

I suggest euthanizing....the owners

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1 reply
janet2derek dr scott kanner March 21 2014 at 6:31 PM

best idea yet dr scott kanner

Flag Reply +3 rate up
gailgradof March 21 2014 at 5:36 PM

Amen whiskaz454....animals cannot communicate like adults. Parents use your head and monitor your kiddies with any kind of animal. The baby doesn't know any better NOT to pull a tail and the CAT did not know any better to NOT scratch the baby. Kicking an animal is not the thing to do. Every behavior from an animal is gut reaction and instinct. The real problem is the adult here. Animals do flip out now and again..but there is reason. Use your common sense with animals.

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JEFFERSODA March 21 2014 at 5:33 PM

Let's see. The baby pulled the cat's tail so the baby scratched it. Then Dad kicked the cat and the cat went off on the family. They should have kept "Baby Cockie" away from the cat.

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nijidiana March 21 2014 at 5:29 PM

It's pretty clear that the cat acted out because the kid and the father abused it. I hope they don't give the cat back to that horrid family. I have cats myself, and they do not act out unless they are provoked. Yes, when they are ill and don't want to be touched, they will act like that, but there is always a reason. It's not that they are a bad cat.

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1 reply
Paul nijidiana March 21 2014 at 5:53 PM

There are no bad cats only bad people, they are also the best mouse trap humans can have

Flag Reply +4 rate up
elaineclip March 21 2014 at 5:24 PM

I have a friend that just recently was given a femal, spayed cat. She kep howling and crying during the day and night. They took her to a vet and found out when she was spayed, they left one overy. They operated on her and now she is just the perfect cat. Perhaps this is the cause of the cat that became wild. It is worth trying.

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jmc March 21 2014 at 5:21 PM


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mbutler204 March 21 2014 at 4:52 PM

How many times would you let someone pull your tail and kick you before you put your foot down! I'll take that cat in a minute

Flag Reply +12 rate up
yoroidengi March 21 2014 at 4:52 PM

Jackson Galaxy can do wonders for this cat, and the people as well. If one watches "My Cat From Hell", it is obvious that he works as much to repair the behavior of the cat's owners as he does the cats themselves. It is a two-way strret. Animals are very reactionary to threats (or percieved threats).... humans can be the same way. Children must be taught to respect and have consideration for pets, the same way they should treat people. The father showed a poor example to the child by kicking the cat. An animal learns nothing by being struck, except fear. Kitty would probably benefit most by being re-homed. He needs a family that has a little more empathy and, just maybe, no small children. Lux probably doesn't have a positive view of little kids following this incident. I hope the dog isn't smacked around when he does something wrong. Same for the kid! Hope these parents will control their anger in the future. Maybe Lux's tirade will be the wake-up call they need.

Anyway, good luck, folks and critters alike.

Rebecca and Jack ( He's the black kitten who is sleeping on the computer desk, forcing me to put the keyboard in my lap.... Jack knows who's in charge)

Flag Reply +12 rate up
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