The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

June 19, 2014

Fierce feline who terrorized family stumps TV host

PORTLAND, Ore. — In what truly epitomized the title of his TV show, "My Cat From Hell," feline behaviorist Jackson Galaxy is calling his attempt to tame the Portland cat notorious for attacking a baby and boxing his panicked owners into a bedroom "the hardest case I have ever worked."

It got more difficult after the happy ending for the cat named Lux soon unraveled.

In the reality show that aired last weekend, Galaxy persuades another Portland couple to take Lux while the cat is treated with antidepressants and anti-seizure medication. A veterinarian diagnosed Lux with feline hyperesthesia syndrome, which can trigger violent behavior.

But after the episode's taping, Lux attacked his new guardians and they gave him up for their own safety.

"It was the worst letdown," Galaxy told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "I don't think I've ever had a bigger shock. This is the hardest case I have ever worked."

But take heart, Lux supporters.

The 4-year-old cat has become Galaxy's buddy, and the reality star says he hasn't given up. He's placed Lux in a veterinary clinic where the cat receives medication while undergoing treatment to try to identify what turns this feline Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde.

Lux became one of the most notorious cats in pet history after his owner called 911 on March 9 as the cat terrorized his family. Lee Palmer told dispatchers Lux had scratched his son's head and was out of control. The family barricaded themselves in a bedroom, and Lux could be heard screeching menacingly in the background.

Galaxy set up a series of meetings with Lux and his owners, who did not return messages seeking comment. The episode shown Saturday demonstrated the difficulty in solving the puzzle that is Lux.

In their first encounter, Galaxy walks into a bedroom where the cat's fearful owners have sequestered him. Galaxy sees Lux peeking out from behind a box. The cat's eyes are dilated, a sign of distress. He growls.

After making eye contact at the cat's level and offering treats, Galaxy is able to pick up Lux and put him on his lap. The cat returns Galaxy's affection as the tattooed TV host pets him.

"I do not see a vicious cat," Galaxy says. "I do not see a killer."

In the show, Galaxy temporarily puts Lux in the care of another couple to see whether the cat would be violent in a different home. Lux attacked one of its new owners. A Portland veterinarian suggests Lux be medicated, and the new owners agree to take Lux back.

At first, it went well. But after the show wrapped, the couple called Galaxy to say the cat had several violent episodes.

Galaxy said the cat was a danger to them and he understands why they couldn't keep him.

Despite the outbursts, everyone seems to fall for Lux, a long-haired cat with a sweet face. That's the case for Galaxy, who has dealt with thousands of difficult cats.

"I fell in love with him the second I met him," Galaxy said. "He's the sweetest boy in the world."

The reality star has made saving Lux from euthanasia his personal crusade.

The cat is at a clinic — Galaxy won't divulge the location — where specialists are trying to better understand the complicated feline. Galaxy works with them on treatment, and it's going well so far.

The medication is starting to work. Staff members at the clinic put Lux in different social situations to see how he responds. Galaxy hopes they can modify Lux's behavior so the cat can someday find a home.

"I'm going to keep working with this cat," Galaxy said. "I've got to be sure I give him the best shot."

 

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