Ranking Pets

Does what it says on the tin.

7. Rabbits
Names: Thumper and Cottontail

Rabbits are the worst. 

My sisters and I were suckered in by the fact they look cute and are traditionally portrayed well, like Bugs Bunny, Bucky O’Hare and Buster, Arthur’s mate.

But when we got them we realised they are awful pets. 

They didn’t like being held, they didn’t do much and they lived in the garden, taking up space I had previously used as a stand in for Wembley stadium. 

We had the long eared pains for a couple of years but the novelty wore off pretty quick. Our only real interaction with them came as we chased them around the garden after their many escape attempts. It would have probably been better for all if we’d just let them take their chances on their own.

After a while my mum took over looking after them as we got bored of the twitchy nosed tools. It’s a sign of how much we’d gone off them that Thumper, the last bunny standing, was dead for a few days before us kids realised, my mum curious as to how long it would take (note: Mum had disposed of his body compassionately, just didn’t tell us of his untimely demise).

6. Pet Rock

Name: Forgotten as changed often.

I got these as a gift. They were basically some rocks with faces on. They sat on my shelf.

So, how are these better than rabbits?

  1. They took up less room
  2. None of my pet rocks ever bit me
  3. I never used a rabbit to squish a giant spider

Yeah, so Rocks > Rabbits. Unless you’re making a stew.

5. Tamagotchi

Names: Gwyneth, Willow and more that I forget.

For those who don’t remember, Tamagotchi were a big deal in the late ’90s. These pocket sized electronic pets were everywhere and kids were obsessed with them. One such kid was my youngest sister.

Unfortunately, the kids were so invested in keeping the crudely animated blobs alive that they weren’t focusing in class. And so, my sister’s school banned them. But I was in big school and so took on the responsibility as our teachers were more worried about stopping their students smoking or getting pregnant.

I renamed the thing Gwyneth after Miss Paltrow, which makes no sense as I wasn’t a fan of hers. But I must have had a reason.

At first I kept her alive to help my sister, but soon she’d lost interest and I was obsessed with keeping it going. Gwyneth lived quite a long time before she bought the farm and I replaced her with Willow. Willow didn’t live as long and after that, jaded by the losses, there were a few others who didn’t last long.

4. Hamster

Name: Pablo

I inherited Pablo after my second attempt at uni. He was our flat pet and originally belonged to my flatmate Phil. However, I took custody and he lived with me for a while.

Hamsters are odd pets. They’re quite shy and dislike being held, which limits their fun factor. However, they are very cute and at least do stuff like running on their wheel.

I spent a lot of time talking to Pablo, jabbering away to him when I was alone. It was company while everyone else went about their lives and I stayed in, hunting jobs.

He put in a good innings by hamster standards but sadly went to play on the big wheel in the sky.

3. Goldfish

Names: Squishy and Fang.

I expected Squishy to die from the moment I got him. 

I won him at a funfair, and he was tiny. I gave it a couple of weeks before I had to flush him.

But the little guy surprised me. He grew quickly and seemed in good health. He even survived a fire in our halls. And the drive home from Lampeter. 

In fact, Squishy would live for another seven years, joined in 2006 by Fang, who is still going. 

They might not be the most entertaining of pets but I loved Squishy for his survivor attitude and the connection to my uni days. They’re also quite calming to watch and, like hamsters, easy to talk to.

2. Dogs

Name: Carrie.

Honourable mentions: Phoebe, Millie, basically every other dog I’ve met.

My little sister really wanted a dog. After years of pleading and promises my parents relented. Unfortunately, the dog we got was Carrie.

Part Jack Russell, part English Bull Terrier, part unspecified dog and part hellhound, a family new to dogs couldn’t have picked worse.

We had her a few years during which she moved from cute puppy to raging bitch. She’d lunge for other dogs, for cyclists, for pretty much anything that walked or crawled. She would drag our cat about by the scruff of his neck, the cat too soft and dim to run away.

Finally, she bit all three of my sisters. My mum realised my little sister, driving force of Team Dog, was scared of the white ball of rage. Carrie was rehomed and the Page family chalked up dogs as a failed experiment. 

Two of my sisters are now firmly on Team Cat. But me? While I love felines, I still want a canine buddy.

This is because every other dog I’ve met has been tidy. I’ve dog sat for friends and I love dogs. I mean, cleaning up their shit is a drag.

But I genuinely love dogs. MWF’s mum has a Jack Russell who is amazing. All my mates’ dogs are ace too.

And so I would really like a dog in future, with my preference being for a French Bulldog.

1. Cats
Names: Tom, Jerry, Tiger, Yoga, Tad, Llew, Midnight and Pumpkin. 

As the above list shows, cats are the most consistent pet I’ve had. There were cats when my mum brought me back from the hospital, and there has been at least one cat in the Page house since then.

MWF is a crazy cat lady waiting to happen, and so early on we knew that we would always have cats. 

Enter Midnight, our wonky eyed cat who was followed by Pumpkin, a manic ball of energy who speeds around the house like a white and orange Tasmanian Devil. Sadly, Midge and Pumps didn’t get on, so Midnight has returned to MWF’s mum’s house while Pumpkin is now the boss here.

Pumpkin recharging for his next assault

Cats tick a lot of boxes. They are cute and like attention, without being needy about it. They have distinct personalities, and are entertaining to watch, there’s a reason cats dominate the internet. You can play with them but they’ll also just curl up and chill with you. And they are loveable. 

In my opinion cats are the best pets. You can disagree. But you’re wrong.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO. 


Squishy

Yesterday was a dark day.

Squishy, my pet fish, died.

Now, I know some people don’t really get the point of goldfish as a pet- you can’t stroke them, or take them out, or train them to do things. And I’m with you, they’re not the most exciting pet, but I had genuine affection for Squishy, because of all the pets I’ve had in my life he was the first one that was properly “mine”.

My parents had two cats when I was born, Tom and Jerry, and I loved those guys, but they were my parents’. After they ran through their nine lives we got two more- Yoda and Tiger, and while I named Yoda, he was the family’s cat. I loved him though, he was a traditional grumpy bugger of a cat, and unlike his idiotic brother soon worked out that he should avoid Carrie, the hellhound we got shortly after. So none were mine. Fast forward a few years and my family got two new cats, Tad and Llew, but maybe because I was away at uni during the time we had them I never warmed to either of them that much.

But Squishy? Well, he was mine, hence the name, stolen from Dory in Finding Nemo:

I shall call him Squishy, and he shall be mine, and he shall be my Squishy.

Squishy’s namesake with one of my favourite characters of all time, Dory.

I won him at a fair when I was at university, way back in 2005.

 

Artist representation of the plastic hell I rescued Squishy from

I won him and bought him back to halls where he lived in a glass cooking bowl in direct violation of the “no pets” rule.

I bought food for him and settled in for the next few weeks of caring for him before he took a final ride down the toilet. Goldish from the fair have notoriously low life expectancy.

But not Squishy, he was a survivor.

I’d had him a month or so before there was a fire in our kitchen. A faulty toaster melted and the university staff had to blast it with an ammonia fire extinguisher. Returning to the kitchen as the smoke cleared we found Squishy floating on his side in the tank. As part of the “we told you to get rid of that toaster” faction I left the toaster-lovers to tidy up and went to the pub.

A few pints later I returned and was ready to send Squishy to his eternal rest only to discover that he’d clearly only been a bit under the weather and was now swimming about happily.

Squishy survived the fire and would make it through the long drive back to my Mum’s where he lived out the rest of his days. I figure he was about 7 and a half when he finally bit the dust this weekend. I only saw him now and then when I visited my Mum, but I was still quite gutted about it. But he had a good life, a nice tank to swim in and a friend in Fang, the other fish my Mum got for company. By that I mean company for Squishy, I don’t want to give the impression that my Mum is some crazy old lady who keeps goldfish to keep her company.

Rest in peace, Squishy. You were a good fish and you had a good innings.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.