The “cat daddy” Jackson Galaxy spills on how to share a small NYC space with your feline friends.
He may be the only cat behaviorist with a cult following. Jackson Galaxy, host of My Cat from Hell, has made a career of being a real-life kitty whisperer. We caught up with him at New York’s Cat Camp, the first feline-focused symposium that addresses all things whiskered and furry. There, we asked him the burning question that every New York cat lover has: What’s the best way to cohabitate in a tiny NYC apartment with your fluffy feline friends? Read on to find out.
Are there cat breeds that are best for small apartment living? JACKSON GALAXY: Not to my knowledge—but to be clear, I'm not known to work breeds specifically, anyway. I prefer to stay in the general world of cat.
What kind of cat furniture or beds do you recommend for small apartments? JG: I designed a line of cat furniture, including beds, that address the needs of individual cats. Beyond that, the brand is much less important than variety—have a little bit of everything from cat trees to combos to beds to mats—it will increase your cat's confidence exponentially. We go into this in additional detail in my two last books: Catification and Catify to Satisfy.
What are the tricks to having a happy multi-cat household in a small space? JG: Think vertical: cats instinctively want to own territory but they perceive that territory in a 360-degree way, which humans don't. You can catify from floor to ceiling and your cat will thank you—especially if you have more than one.
Also, and especially in a city like New York, where most cat guardians live in apartments, your window is your best friend. I call it Cat TV—make sure every window has a place for your cat to sit. Then, just watching the “ant people” down on the street can be an exercise filled with fascination and engagement for your cat.
What do you think of cat strollers or cat backpacks? JG: The most important component to this question is that you should ask your cat, not me. If it stresses your cat out to be in either a stroller or backpack—which you can tell very easily by their body language—then don't take them out. If your cats are freaked out by the noise of the city and easily overwhelmed, don't take them out. However, if your cat is naturally inquisitive, adventurous, and social, by all means, give it a try.