Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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March 22, 2014

Cat whisperer heading to Oregon after attack

Cat that attacked baby sparked Internet uproar.

(Continued)

— Never leave a young child unsupervised with a cat.

— Take it to a vet at least once a year. If a cat is acting suspiciously, the owner needs to pay attention. "Know what suspicious looks like," Galaxy said. "If they're not feeling well, cats will socially withdraw themselves, or they will lose weight, or they will gain weight, or they'll be howling in the middle of the night when they never did before.

"I've known cats who acted out similarly to Lux because of an abscessed tooth, a brain tumor, hyperthyroidism or diabetes."

— Make sure cats can literally climb out of a situation. Having a space up high, like a cat condo, to get away from children and other pets is crucial, Galaxy said. "Make sure the cat can make the choice to get away from the kid," he said.

— Timeouts are good things. "We associate timeouts with punishment, but in the world of cats, timeout is not a punishment." They can go to a designated place where they can settle down, come back to a peaceful moment or ground themselves, he said.

— Stop fights between felines with "timeout drills." With simple pieces of cardboard, left strategically around the house, you can stop a fight between two cats. Put the cardboard between them, blocking their vision and providing a moment of disorientation when you can lead them to their timeout spot. It's especially important to have the drills with aggressive cats.

Galaxy said he was going to Portland to act as Lux's advocate and find out what's wrong.

"I have no idea what made Lux aggressive," he said. It could be a chemical imbalance, a history of stressful environments or because he was kicked.

"If you want a blanket statement on how to deal with aggression, how about, 'Don't set the cat up for failure,'" he said.

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