Replace Gas Tax?, Homeless And Mentally Ill, Designing Cat-Friendly Spaces

Air Date:
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Problems with cat behavior often stem from an inadequately designed living space. We talk with the host of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell” about how to design cat-friendly spaces without destroying the look of your home. We also discuss the state’s gas tax and Governor Walker’s idea to shift away from it, and hear from a former state commissioner of mental health, who spent two years gathering stories from homeless people suffering from mental illness, and is now looking for ways to better help this population.

Featured in this Show

  • Animal Planet Host Talks Creating A Happy Home For Your Cat

    When a feline companion misbehaves or doesn’t do what its owner wants it to, the experience of cat ownership can sour quickly. While some owners might be quick to put the blame on the cat, often the underlying issue can be that the owner not providing a living space that meets the cat’s needs.

    That’s where Jackson Galaxy comes in.

    Galaxy is the host of the Animal Planet reality TV series, “My Cat From Hell,” and the author of the new book, “Catification,” which aims to help owners design spaces that work for both them and their cats — without having to sacrifice personal style.

    “First of all, it’s about making your cat happy,” said Galxy. “It is about giving cats access to the world they want to be a part of, specifically the vertical world. But, we have in the past associated that need and that desire on their part with having our house look like the crazy cat lady house.”

    With cats being more popular than ever, having a proper space for them has become increasingly important.

    “We have over 90 million cats in American homes right now, compared to about 60 million dogs,” Galaxy said. “They are the most popular companion animal we have, and yet they don’t get the kind of love and respect that dogs do.”

    That might be due to the fact that dogs are seemingly easier to understand and tend to display more human-like emotions. Cats, said Galaxy, require a bit more psychology. He said that owners really need to understand what makes cats tick — something he calls the “raw cat,” referring to cat’s natural desire to hunt.

    “The raw cat is the one who wakes up and says, ‘I gotta go kill things, that’s what I do. This is what I’m on the planet to do: hunt, catch, kill, eat, groom and sleep,’” said Galaxy.

    By understanding that behavior and designing safe and civilized ways to entertain that need, Galaxy said owners end up with a more vital, stable and present cat. One of the easiest ways to appease the raw cat is to put down what Jackson calls “scent soakers.” These can be anything from fleece beds to rugs to pieces of sisal matting, and they play to a cats’ desire to own their territory.

    “It can be anything where they can sit on it, their scent is transferred to it, and when they walk by it again, they say ‘Yeah, that’s mine,’” he said.

    Surrounding a cat with places to leave its scent will make the animal feel more secure, and make it less likely to mark their territory in other ways.

    Galaxy also said it’s important to provide to a spot where a cat can be passively engaged, something he calls ‘cat TV.’ One simple idea is to put a fleece bed in a windowsill, so a cat can spend the day taking in what’s going on outside. Even though the cat isn’t actively hunting, Galaxy said the raw cat is still at work.

    “They’re still watching birds. They’re still looking at the world with intent. If we double down on that, and give them scent soaking and cat TV, man, that’s a happy cat,” he said.

    Mostly importantly, Galaxy said closely observing a cat will give essential clues to what it needs. For instance, if a cat enters the room and immediately looks at the ceiling, chances are it wants to get up, and a simple cat tree could help immensely.

    “Cats are showing you what makes them confident,” Galaxy said. “All you have to do is cater to that just a little bit, and you’ll see the difference immediately.”

  • With Looming Transportation Budget Shortfall, Walker Suggests Replacing Gas Tax With A Sales Tax

    With a looming shortfall in the state’s transportation budget, Governor Walker has suggested possibly replacing the state’s gas tax with a sales tax on gas and alternative fuels. A reporter talks about this idea, and other possible proposals on the table to address the funding gap.

  • Giving A Voice To The Mentally Ill Homeless Population

    Many homeless people struggle with mental illness, and often get ignored by society. A psychiatrist spent two years on the streets, finding them and hearing their stories, and describes what their life is really like.

  • Creating A Happy And Safe Home For Your Cat

    Creating a cat-friendly living environment for your feline friend can lead to improved behavior and increased happiness. The star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell” talks about how to design a functional and stylish space for you and your cat.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Jackson Galaxy Guest
  • JR Ross Guest
  • Dr. Robert Okin Guest

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