Jackson Galaxy

New Partnership with Spirit Essences

Spirit Essences flower essences holistic remedies for pets

I previously introduced you to Spirit Essences, the line of flower essences owned by nationally known feline behaviorist and star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell,” Jackson Galaxy. The company was founded in 1995 by Dr. Jean Hofve, a holistic veteriarian.

One of the many things that drew me to Spirit Essences was the fact that the spring water used in the essences is enhanced with Reiki energy. Both flower essences and Reiki are vibrational healing modalities, and as such, the two compliment each other perfectly. When Reiki energy is channeled into a vibrational remedy, it provides a balancing energy that further enhances and optimizes the specific energies within the remedy.

I am honored to announce that I have been asked to provide the Reiki that goes into the spring water used in the essences.

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Cat to Cat Introductions

cat-to-cat-introductions

Guest post by Jackson Galaxy

The common wisdom in introducing a newly adopted cat to a resident one in the past was to open the carrying case and “let them work it out.” We most definitely have a new way of looking at things; from the cat’s perspective. Cats are, after all, about territory. Bring a new, utterly alien scent of the same species into the house, and more times than not, we’re asking for chaos. Of course everyone has a story about introducing two cats that went smoothly doing the old fashioned technique. The point to stress is, if it goes poorly, this one meeting is the association that these two cats will hold onto for quite a long time and make a peaceable kingdom a difficult task. It is, ultimately, better to be safe than sorry.

Base camp for the newcomer

A slow and steady introduction starts with the establishment of a base camp for the newcomer. Once you’ve set up his or her space, you’re ready to start letting the cats make positive associations between one another. This is key, and will be repeated ad infinitum; all associations between the cats during this critical period have to be as pleasing as possible to reduce possible friction when they finally have free access.

Use food as a motivator

Let’s start with one of the most pleasing motivators-food! Feeding time will happen at the door of base camp until introduction is complete. If the resident cat is not on a scheduled feeding diet, it might be best to put him or her on one for now. Or, if you leave dry food out and supplement with wet food, greatly decrease the amount of dry so that wet feeding time is looked forward to more. Remember that the only time either cat gets wet food is during these “meet and greets” at the base camp door, which can be divided into two daily sessions. Place food bowls on either side of the door with a couple of feet of breathing room for each cat. Ideally, there should be a family member on either side of the door to praise each cat as they eat. The idea is that they are rewarded with food for being so close to the scent of the unfamiliar cat, and also rewarded by you with praise for eating. At this initial point, the door should be closed; the cats can smell one another just fine. If they don’t devour their food at first, that’s okay. They will eventually eat. Don’t give in and move the food.

First eye contact

The next step is to open the door just a tiny crack, giving the cats limited visual access to each other. How soon do you move on to this step? As with all steps in introduction, pay attention to the cats; let their body language tell you when they are comfortable enough to move on. Remember that proceeding too quickly will force you to jump backwards by anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Slow and steady definitely wins this race. We need to remain safe, so use rubber doorstops on either side of the introduction door to prevent any more than visual accessibility. If the door is too high off the ground to use stops, or if one or both cats are muscling the door open, try using a hook and eye setup. Instead of using it to lock a door shut, you would employ it backwards, to give us just a couple of inches of cracked space between the door and the jamb.

Again, the time required in moving from step to step is determined by your observation and the cats’ level of comfort. Keep cracking the door further until each cat could, if they wished, bat at one another-first up to the elbow joint then all the way to the shoulder, just making sure not to leave enough room to let a head get through. The object of “the game” is to give them enough rope to succeed. If they fail, just go back to the previous step.

Scent and site swapping

Other tricks to use during the introduction period are “scent swapping” and “site swapping.” In scent swapping, we take a washcloth per cat and rub them down with it, making sure to go across their cheeks, head, sides, and around the base of the tail. Then, present the other cat with the scent of the washcloth in a conspicuous part of their territory, perhaps near a favored sleeping spot or near (but respecting the space of) their food or water. This will start getting them accustomed to the new facts of life; their space will have to be shared with one another, and better to have this fact introduced by scent than sight.

Site swapping relies on more paws–on physical exploration of one another’s space. Once a day, switch the two cats. The new cat gets to explore the house while the resident cat is base camp to freely explore the scent of new arrival without the fear of retribution. This process is best done with a human partner just to make sure the cats don’t inadvertently get in each other’s way while trading places; but if you don’t have help, try putting the resident in, say, a bedroom. When the new cat heads for the kitchen or other area out of sight, move the resident cat into base camp. Both cats should get the praise and encouragement they need/deserve in bravely going where they have not gone before!

Play therapy

Don’t forget, during this entire process, to play with the cats! This may seem elementary, but remember, they are just energetic balloons naturally, and even more so during these intense times of stress. Of course, you will have separate play sessions during the introduction phase. Once they’ve met and cohabitated for a bit, group playtime will be another wonderful way of diverting aggression they might have towards one another into a positive route. Refer to our article on play therapy to learn the ins and outs of keeping them both as happy as possible during the period of adjustment.

Flower essences

Additionally, consider flower essences to help both (or all) cats get through the initial introduction period with the least amount of stress and anxiety. Spirit Essences has many formulas to choose from, depending on the personalities involved, including “Peacemaker” and “New Beginnings.”

Supervise initial interactions

When you think it’s time to let them be in the territory together at the same time, take precautions. If a fight breaks out, do not try to break it up with your hands! Unfortunately, this is most of the time our first instinct. You are almost sure to be clawed and bitten, and it will not be pretty. In the heat of the moment, the cats will not be able to distinguish between your arm and each other, and they will have no inhibition about attacking whatever is handy, even if it’s you. Instead, have an immediate barrier like a couple of large, thick towels or blankets at the ready. You can toss them over the cats to disorient them, and immediately relocate them by scooping them up inside the towel (to protect yourself). There is no need to follow this up with a scolding. That will not do anything except increase the cats’ agitation, which is just what you don’t need! Let the event pass with each cat in their own “time–out”, and start again fresh tomorrow–at the very beginning. Also make sure that when the two cats meet, they have escape routes from one another. Getting cornered is a sure recipe for a fight in the mind of a defense–minded animal like a cat. Keep a close eye on all interactions for the first week or so, not letting the cats have free access to one another when nobody is home.

Litterboxes: 1 box per cat + 1

Finally, keep the food and litter setup established in the base camp room, at least for the next while. The accepted “recipe” is three litterboxes for two cats (to be precise, 1 box per cat + 1), so bear that in mind. Also bear in mind escape routes from the boxes, as the last place we want a skirmish to erupt is while one of the cats is having a “private moment.” They should be able to see as much of the room around them as possible when in the litterbox, which is why uncovered boxes would be highly recommended.

This should pretty well cover the bases for the initial introduction between your cats. Of course there are always variables, but the broken record theme should get you going; do it slow–there’s always tomorrow to make another positive impression. They can, over time, learn that every time they view or smell the other, something good will happen. Do it too quickly and that negative first impression might very well be the one that lasts.

Jackson Galaxy, cat behaviorist and host of Animal Planet’s new show, My Cat From Hell, has been reading about, writing about and working hands-on with cats for 15 years. For more information, please visit Jackson’s website.

An Introduction to Spirit Essences

Spirit Essences flower essences holistic remedies for pets

I have previously written about the gentle healing power of flower essences. Flower essences provide vibrational healing for body, mind and spirit. The most widely-known flower essence is probably Rescue Remedy, a blend of several Bach Flower Essences. Rescue Remedy helps with stressful situations, for both pets and people.

I’ve used flower essences for quite some time, both for my cats and for myself, with good success. I’ve found the essences to be particularly helpful with emotional and behavioral issues.

When Allegra first came to me, I used Green Hope Farm Essences to help with her play aggression and her fear of loud noises. I also used traditional behavior modification techniques and play therapy. I don’t believe that we would have made progress as quickly as we did with just the traditional therapies alone.

A couple of months ago, I was introduced to Spirit Essences. Spirit Essences is owned by nationally known feline behaviorist and star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell,” Jackson Galaxy. The company was founded in 1995 by Dr. Jean Hofve, a holistic veteriarian. Spirit Essences are the only veterinarian-formulated essences in the world.  Dr. Hofve  has more than a dozen years’ experience working with essences in a wide variety of species and settings. Jackson Galaxy has helped develop and refine the remedies based on his experience and the needs of his own clients.

Spirit Essences use only pure Eldorado Natural Spring Water from a cold-water artesian spring in Eldorado Canyon near Boulder, Colorado. This water is then enhanced with Full Color Spectrum Light, Reiki Energy (something that, as a Reiki Master Practitioner, appeals to me), and gem enhanced base water. They continuously review and update all their remedies as they add new essences to their inventory of over 300 essences. They also constantly fine-tune these formulas based on feedback from clients as well as clinical and personal experience.

Spirit Essences for cats Safe Space for Cats

I’ve used two of Spirit Essences’ formulas for Allegra over the past two months, and the results have been far more dramatic than any other essence line I’ve used.

Allegra came to me with a strong fear of outside noises – whether it was a trash truck going by, a neighbor mowing the lawn, heavy rain, or anything unusual and odd sounding outside. These sounds would send her into hiding into either her safe space in the downstairs shower stall, or inside the kitchen cabinets. When I started using Spirit Essences’s Safe Space for Cats for her, she became noticeably more confident. About a week after I started her on the remedy, she no longer ran to one of her hiding places when the trash trucks went by. In fact, she actually ran to the window to watch what! She hasn’t been inside the kitchen cabinets once since I started her on this remedy.

We’re still dealing with her fear of storms, especially those accompanied by heavy rain. For some reason, the sound of the rain hitting the house seems to scare her far more than the sound of thunder. For those times, I use Stress Stopper, Spirit Essences’ equivalent to Rescue Remedy. I’ve found it more effective for her than Rescue Remedy. She still hides during storms, but she comes out much quicker once the storm has passed, and she doesn’t look nearly as terrified as she used to.

Have you used flower essences for your cats? Please share your experience!

For more information about Spirit Essences, and to order, please visit SpiritEssences.com.

FTC full disclosure: I am an affiliate partner of Spirit Essences.

You may also enjoy reading:

Flower power for your cat: gentle healing from flower essences

Book review: The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care by Celeste Yarnall and Jean Hofve, DVM

Up close and purrsonal with Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell”

Feline Behavior Advice from Jackson Galaxy

Jackson-Galaxy

Updated April 2018
This post contains affiliate links*

Please note that Jackson Galaxy no longer works with private clients, and he will not answer questions left in comments on this post.

You can find a wealth of information about all aspects of caring for cats on his website and in his newest book, Total Cat Mojo: The Ultimate Guide to Life With Your Cat.

Total-Cat-Mojo-Jackson-Galaxy

Read my review here.

Feline Behaviorist Recommendation

If you are looking to work with a feline behaviorist, I highly recommend Mikel Delgado http://www.felineminds.com/ and Daniel Quagliozzi https://gocatgosf.com/ Both offer remote consultations.

*The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon and affiliated sites. The Conscious Cat is an affiliate partner of Jackson Galaxy. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves.

Feline casting call: your cat could be on TV!

My Cat from Hell Animal Planet Jackson Galaxy

The news cat lovers have been waiting for broke yesterday afternoon: Animal Planet has renewed “My Cat from Hell” for a second season! The show features cat behaviorist extraordinaire Jackson Galaxy, who’s tough on the outside but sensitive on the inside – especially when it comes to cats and their owners. Jackson helps frustrated cat owners improve their relationships with their behaviorally challenged cat.

Cat behaviorist by day and musician by night, Jackson comes to the the rescue with a guitar case filled with cat toys and training aides. Jackson trains the humans as much as he trains the cats, since the majority of feline behavior problems are caused by humans not understanding cats’ natural behaviors. What may seem a problem to humans is perfectly natural and instinctual behavior for a cat. Jackson helps cat guardians understand the reasons why these cats are causing their owners headaches, and then works with the owners and their cats to find solutions.

Animal Planet is currently looking for “behaviorally challenged” cats to be featured in the six episodes for the 2nd season, which will begin shooting in August. If your cat’s behavior is driving you or others crazy, if you need help getting your cat to behave, or if your spouse or boyfriend has threatened that it’s him or the cat, you and your cat might have a chance to be on the show.

For more information, please visit Jackson’s website. You must live in or around Los Angeles to be considered.

For more information, please read my exclusive interview with Jackson for The Conscious Cat.

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Flower power for your cat: gentle healing from flower essences

flower essences for cats

Flower essences have been used since ancient times to provide vibrational healing for mind, body and spirit for people. Hildegard von Bingen (12th century) and Paracelsus (15th century) both wrote about the use of flowering plants to treat health imbalances. The healing method became better know in the 1930’s when Dr. Edward Bach, a British practitioner of homeopathy and bacteriology, developed his range of 38 essences known as the Bach Flower Remedies. The most well-known of his remedies is probably Rescue Remedy®.

As interest in holistic modalities for animals increases, flower essences are being used as a gentle, yet effective tool to enhance and improve their overall well-being.

Cats seem to be particularly responsive to these essences. They can help with a wide range of feline problems, from stress to litter box aversion to territorial issues.

What are flower essences?

Flower essences are obtained by extracting the vibrational healing properties of the blossoms after leaving them in sunlight and pure water for several hours. The resulting essence is then diluted out even more, and preserved with alcohol, usually brandy. Some flower essence manufacturers use alternate preservatives such as vinegar. The preservatives do not alter the vibrational quality of the essence.*

How do flower essences work?

Emotional and mental imbalances, if left untreated, will eventually manifest as physical illness. This is no different for cats than it is for people. Flower essences are vibrational medicine. They work in the energy field, similar to homeopathic remedies. They are safe to use, and, unlike some herbal treatments, do not interfere with allopathic drug treatments.

What types of problems can flower essences help with?

Flower essences are particularly effective for behavioral problems and stressful situations, whether it’s a move, trip to the vet, or a new cat in the household. I’ve used Rescue Remedy® for may years for my cats prior to visits to the vet, or during thunderstorms. (I also use it for myself during stressful situations.) I’ve been using flower essences to help with some of the behavior challenges Allegra was dealing with when I first adopted her, and I credit the progress we’ve made in no small amount to the essences.

How are flower essences administered?

Flower essences can be given orally, mixed with food or water, rubbed on the inside of the ear, or rubbed into the fur at the top of the head or base of the tail. Since they’re energy medicine, the only thing that matters is that they get into the cat’s energy field – how that is achieved is of secondary importance.

The Bach Flower Essences are widely available in health food stores, including national chains like Whole Foods. There are many other lines of essences available. I use the Green Hope Farm essences for Allegra.

I’ve recently become interested in Spirit Essences, the only line of flower essences developed by a holistic veterinarian, Dr. Jean Hofve. Spirit Essences is owned by nationally known feline behaviorist and star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell,” Jackson Galaxy. During my interview with Jackson for The Conscious Cat, he graciously offered to send me a couple of his essences for Allegra. I’ll let you know how she does with them.

If you haven’t used flower essences for your cat, I’d encourage you to give them a try. If you have used them, I’d love to hear your experience with them.

*Please note that flower essences are not to be confused with aromatherapy or essential oils. Essential oils are generally not safe to use around cats. This has become a hotly debated topic in holistic circles. Even though some practitioners or suppliers of essential oils will claim that their products or techniques are completely safe for cats, the fact remains that cats have a unique physiology and process these oils differently from other species. Some oils can even be deadly to cats. I do not recommend the use of any essential oils around cats.

Photo: morguefile.com

Help feed shelter cats with Jackson Galaxy and the Pet Postcard Project

Jackson Galaxy and Caroline

Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell and cat listener extraordinaire, teamed up with The Pet Postcard Project for the months of June and July to provide 15,000 free meals to two cat rescue organizations Jackson has purrsonally selected, Cat House on the Kings in California, and Blind Cat Rescue in North Carolina.

For this campaign, Freekibble.com has generously pledged 15,000 meals of Halo Spot’s Stew for Cats to the two organizations in conjunction with Halo Purely For Pets.
Each rescue has 2 months to bring in 1000 cards each and they will earn 5000 meals each for their shelter. The rescue who brings in the most cards by the end of July will get an additional 5000 meals.

The Pet Postcard Project was created by Nikki Moustaki, who started the project as a way to help raise awareness and funds/food for rescue animals.

Here’s how you can help, and it won’t cost you a cent. All it takes is a little creativity. Simply create a postcard with a cat theme – it can be from photos, or hand drawn, or a collage.  Let your imagination go wild!

Mail your finished work of art to:

The Pet Postcard Project
678 Ninth Avenue, #321
New York, NY 10036

Watch Nikki Moustafi explain the project:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9NJdZwycR4

You may also enjoy reading:

Up close and purrsonal with Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell”

Up close and Purrsonal with Jackson Galaxy, Star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell”

If you haven’t watched Animal Planet’s new show “My Cat from Hell,” you don’t know what you’re missing. Jackson Galaxy, the star of the show, knows cats like no other. Cat behaviorist by day, musician by night, bald, bearded and covered in cat tattoos, he’s anything but your typical cat guy.

I had the opportunity to chat with Jackson yesterday while he was in between media appearances (since the launch of the show, Jackson has appeared on Access Hollywood, Fox and Friends, and taped a segment for The Daily Show, among others). It only took a few minutes of talking to him to realize that appearances are, indeed, deceiving: underneath the hip surface lies a sensitive, caring guy who genuinely loves cats.

Jackson is a cat behaviorist who has been called anything from a cat whisperer to a cat shrink to a cat trainer. He actually prefers to be called a “cat listener.” He doesn’t like the term cat whisperer, because, he says “it conotates exclusivity. It says I can do something you can’t.” His goal is to make everyone believe that they can do what he does. According to Jackson, what it really comes down to is a case of “slowing your head down long enough to listen to cats.”

Jackson’s mission is to reduce the number of cats in shelters. Based on Jackson’s experience, most behavior problems in shelter cats are not that tough to solve. He’s found that frequently, an hour spent with the cat and her human guardians can take care of the problem and prevent the cat from being returned to the shelter.

Jackson worked in shelters for many years, and later partnered with Dr. Jean Hofve, a holistic veterinarian. They called their business Big Little Cat, honoring domestic cats’ wild origins, and offered in-home mind body consults.

Jackson solves common and not so common behavior problems. He works with cats either during in-home consultations (in the Los Angeles area) or remotely. Consultations involve taking a detailed history, meeting the cat and her family, and watching the cat  interact with everyone and everything in her territory. For remote consultations, Jackson requests that the client provide a video showing the cat’s home, feeding station, and litter box locations. He says this way, he can pick up details that a client might not even think to provide by just filling out an intake form, no matter how detailed the questions may be.

He employs a variety of techniques, some traditional, some holistic, and some, according to Jackson “I’ve been told are completely off the wall.” His approach is all about giving the human guardians a deeper understanding of why cats act the way they do. “I always come down on the side of the cat,” says Jackson. Most feline behavior problems have very little to do with the cat, and everything to do with the fact that as humans, we ask cats to co-exist with us in environments that don’t always support their natural instincts.

“My Cat from Hell” features what most cat owners would consider hard core behavior issues. From spastic cats that threaten to break up relationships to aggressive felines that leave their owners bruised and bloody, these cats are not your average housecats. Each episode features two cases, showing the problem, Jackson’s initial visit with the cat and her guardians, and a follow up visit two weeks later. I asked Jackson whether it was really true that these cases are resolved in what seems like such a short period of time, or whether there was some artistic license to adapt what he does to fit the format of an hour long show. “The improvements really happened that fast,” said Jackson. He credits this to the fact that the cats’ guardians really did the homework he recommended after the initial session. Jackson has no doubt that being on TV provided added incentive for the cats’ guardians: “when you know you’re going to be on TV, you don’t want to look stupid!” In his real life cases, he usually tells clients that improvements may take 4-6 weeks, but much of that timeframe depends on how much the human guardians are willing to follow his recommendations.

Jackson also owns Spirit Esssences, a line of flower essences he developed with holistic veterinarian Dr. Jean Hofve. Flower essences are dilute extracts of  flowers and plants that work on the body’s energy system to create emotional, spiritual and physical balance. He uses the essences in every case he works with.

If you’re not already watching the show, tune in tomorrow night. Jackson told me that one of the two cases that will be featured in tomorrow’s episode was the most dramatic he’s ever worked with: a completely feral cat who was adopted out by the shelter under false pretenses. The cat’s new guardians  were told the cat was 70% domesticated. You’ll have to watch to see what Jackson calls “miraculous results.”

For more information about Jackson Galaxy, please visit his website. You can also find Jackson on Facebook and Twitter