Cat Psychology: Stella’s Story

Attack CatLast night’s episode of My Cat From Hell (Animal Planet, 7 p.m. Central Time) featured Stella, a cat who was viciously attacking her owner several times a day, every day.

Stella’s owner had suffered through many life changes the past year:  several surgeries following treatment for breast cancer, a relationship break-up and the death of her longtime feline companion of 18 years.

Stella would walk across her owner’s desk as she was trying to work.  As an entrepreneur, Stella’s owner was finding it increasingly more difficult to get work done trying to navigate around Stella, hoping the cat would not attack again.

Her owner had grown to know the signs that an attack was imminent, but did not know what was behind the feline assaults.

As it turned out, Jackson Galaxy, the show’s star, applied some cat psychology and advised Stella’s owner to start setting aside 15-30 minutes a day for play time with Stella.  The play would burn energy that had been put into the attacks earlier.

Another suggestion Jackson had was for the owner to practice redirection with Stella.  When Stella started to climb up on the desk, she was to throw a crinkle ball toward the opposite end of the room.  This would get Stella moving in a different direction and keep her off the desk.

Finally, Jackson recommended the owner take care of her previous cat’s ashes (they were sitting in a canister in the room where she worked).  He observed that the owner still seemed tied to her cat that had passed away, so wasn’t entirely free to show Stella love and attention that she craved.

Jackson accompanied Stella’s owner as she scattered her cat’s ashes and said a last good-bye.  After doing this, she felt free to fully embrace Stella.

On his last visit, Jackson observed Stella and her owner playing and enjoying each other’s company.

When it comes down to it, Stella’s story isn’t so different from many of ours, she just wanted to be appreciated…and loved.


Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.