Catify to Satisfy, by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin

18 May

This review is for our very own, awesome, Queen Librarian of the Universe, SuperWendy’s TBR Challenge.

The theme for this month is Something Different, and boy, oh boy, this is different.

How different? Well, it’s somewhere between interior design and self-help, neither of which I ever read.

(Spoiler: if you enjoy either of these types of books, or the show, you’ll probably want to skip this review)

Catify to Satisfy, by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin

A dude at work often gets print ARCs directly from publishers, and every so often he goes around the office, handing them over to people according to what he knows of their interests. This is…a very hit and miss way of giving books away.

Because I rescued two kittens. back in the fall of 2015, he just knew I would love this book, and so he handed it to me, with an admonition to let him know my thoughts.

Seventeen months later…::crickets::

But where are my manners? Here, allow me to introduce you to our characters, via the blurb:

In this book, Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s hit show My Cat from Hell, and Kate Benjamin, cat design wizard, show cat guardians everywhere how to use home design tricks to effectively address cat care issues. Does your feline friend like to pee everywhere but in his or her litter box? Does your kitty have a thing for your furniture that has left your beloved couch in tatters? Catify to Satisfy will show you how simple DIY design projects and hacks can help bring harmony into your home. Featuring the amazing projects cat guardians from around the world have shared with Jackson and Kate–design strategies for solving even the most daunting kitty challenges–this book is the ultimate guide to creating a happy home for cat guardian and cat alike.

The book is divided in four main sections and a conclusion, and it’s full of little inserts explaining the authors’ philosophy, as well as lots of black and white photographs. Each section also includes contributions–little vignettes–from the show’s viewers, where they talk about their cats, their initial problems with them, and how the show inspired them to find solutions to co-exist happily with their pets.

As someone who doesn’t own a tv, and doesn’t watch any shows, this is not something I would have ever grabbed for myself. And, perhaps as a self-fulfilling prophecy, I didn’t care for it.

I’m all about accommodating our pets–it’s not as if they can choose the furnishings, or the floor plan; we adopt them, and they have no choice but to make the best of it. Therefore, it should fall on us to make sure they are as happy as can be. But the tone of the book, intentional or not, is of the, “your life must revolve around your pets’ needs, both tangible (food, toys, veterinary care, litter box needs) and psychological” variety, and that just gets on my nerves.

Call me crazy, but I didn’t like the implied “you are a bad pet owner who should be ashamed of herself because you don’t do (fill in the blank)” that reeks off the pages.

Kudos to pet owners who can afford some of the most expensive additions to their homes to accommodate real (and/or imaginary) cat needs; and hey, go you, if you want to spend every moment of your life thinking about your pets’ likes and dislikes, and letting those dictate everything from decor to entertainment.

But, honestly? I think most cats (and dogs) can be perfectly content with a lot less fuss, expense, and obsessing on the part of their owners.

Then again, who am I to talk? My cats’ food costs more than mine 😛

However, beyond the superior, self-satisfied, all-knowing-guru tone of the writing, one thing that bothers me a lot with this type of books is, how much of the material is actually someone else’s work? Most of the photographs, a large percentage of the little story inserts, the larger vignettes at the end of the sections: these are all provided by viewers of the show–and mostly women at that.

And while I’m sure they are thrilled to have their names in print, I’m also pretty sure they are not being compensated in any way. Whereas, the two people whose names are on the cover at the very least got an advance, plus the “I’m published with Penguin Random House” bragging rights.

So between the holier-than-thou voice, and unpaid female labor, this book was a fail for me.

Catify to Satisfy gets a 4.00 out of 10 from me–but as I said at the start, I’m not the intended audience, at all, so ymmv.

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4 Responses to “Catify to Satisfy, by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin”

  1. willaful 19/05/2017 at 2:47 AM #

    Good… grief.

    • azteclady 19/05/2017 at 8:15 AM #

      And this is their *second* book on the topic.

  2. Dorine 20/05/2017 at 4:18 PM #

    Yikes! And it sounded cute, initially, but I think I would be thinking the same thing. LOL Good review. 🙂 We cut the cord several years ago and haven’t regretted it. Yes, we have a TV, but we’re no longer owned by it or anyone who thinks we should pay for the privilege.

    • azteclady 20/05/2017 at 4:38 PM #

      “no longer owned by it”

      Exactly.

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