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January 27, 2017

Philly cats to be trained by host of weirdest show on television

With so many opting solely for on-demand television services like Netflix, many cable cutters are missing out on the continued joy of channel surfing. Sometimes, choice is bad, and the best shows are stumbled upon by a combination of boredom and curiosity.

When it comes to "My Cat from Hell," I'm not sure "best" is the word I would use to describe the reality show, but boy oh boy is it something to behold. CBSPhilly reported Thursday that cats from two local animal shelters will be given "pawsitivity" training by the show's host, Jackson Galaxy, whose name is as outlandish and unbelievable as the show itself.

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I don't mean to undermine or belittle the important work Galaxy will be performing for The Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society. It's good stuff. Via CBSPhilly:

Two Philadelphia animal rescue groups have been chosen to take part in a special positive-reinforcement training program aimed at making shelter cats more adoptable.

Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell,” developed the program with a team of animal behavior experts.


Among the skills: helping shy cats come out of their shells, and teaching outgoing kitties to give high fives.

However, I do feel it's necessary to take this opportunity to point out the weirdest freaking show I've ever watched and urge you to check it out yourself.

The premise for "My Cat from Hell" is pretty simple, drawing from Cesar Millan's "Dog Whisperer": Owner has a bad cat, Galaxy comes in and works with said cat, cat's behavior improves.

But to get from point A to point C, viewers are treated to the most bizarre half hour of television around. First off, Galaxy (I will never write that name without chuckling) carries around his cat tools in what my roommate aptly described as a "guitar case full of non-guitar stuff."

And when the guitar case opens, his work begins. There was Whiskey, the pooping cat, whose excrement I witnessed Galaxy pick up with his bare hands and sniff. There was Littlez, the cat Galaxy willingly tested to see how many times it would bite or scratch him on the hand. And, of course, there was the recent holiday special, in which a cat pees on all of the Christmas presents — "He peed on my presents, NOT YOUR'S, MY PRESENTS."

But in these high-stress battle zones, Galaxy remains calm and collected. What else would you expect from someone who gave a how-to on telling your cats you love them for Valentine's Day? I won't lie, I wish I had as attentive a listener as Galaxy when talking about my problems. Just watch him work with a couple whose cat has OCD — which apparently is a real thing that happens.

The fact that Animal Planet can churn out so much melodrama — spouses sparring over their cat, Galaxy versus incompetent veterinarians, my eyes versus Galaxy's shirt selection — with a program about misbehaving cats is a testament to the reality show formula. I'm not a cat person, but I am a "My Cat from Hell" person.

That's mainly because Galaxy is easily the most intriguing host on television right now. There are so many unanswered questions. How did he become a cat whisperer? How does he get his facial hair like that? And seriously, why the &%$& does he use a guitar case for his cat tools? I could just read his bio, but I feel like he'd lose his mystique. 

Anyway, as odd and amusing as I find "My Cat from Hell," Galaxy (whose birth name is Richard Kirschner) will be doing good work for ACCT Philly and PAWS. You can find more information about his four-month program in Philly, which begins Feb. 2, here.