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. 

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1 down, 8 to go

If being a parent is half as stressful as this week, I’m happy to wait a while, because fretting about what MWF calls “our little fur baby” was a stressful and tiring experience.

Midnight, our little black fuzzball, is a natural scavenger and any food below waist height is fair game as far as she’s concerned.

This gluttony got her into trouble on Thursday when, wanting to relieve a headache exacerbated by the Wales match, I dropped a paracetamol tablet and she was in like a flash to gobble it down.

Thank the gods she’s insured as otherwise a frantic visit to the emergency vet would have cost me most of a month’s wages.

Thursday  was a stressful evening of worry and poor sleeping, and with Midge still being treated throughout Friday that wasn’t much fun either. We collected her from a bloodied and scarred veterinary nurse, and a cranky Midnight spent the evening with us.

In the morning it was back for more courses of anti-poisoning IV drugs. Finally on Saturday she was home for good and quickly back to her usual self, the only lasting effect being her shaved legs.

image

A broken leg and now an accidental OD. Black cats might be unlucky after all.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Curiosity killed the cat, I just injured it

The last few days I have been racked with guilt. And utterly unable to ignore or forget it because I am confronted with the consequences of my actions on a regular basis.
What awful thing have I done? What is my own telltale heart reminding me of my evil deed?
The guilt is brought back every time I see Midnight, the kitten MWG and I have recently got.

image

As shown above, Midnight is an adorable bundle of black fur, and, like most kittens, a dervish of action and inquisitiveness. She scampers everywhere, climbing all the furniture and snooping about before curling up on one of us and sleeping, having knackered herself out.
However, since the other evening, her energy has been diminished and she goes about the place limping, avoiding putting weight on her left front paw.
I am the cause of this limp.
On Sunday night, I walked into the kitchen just as a small black blur rushed the other way. As my clumping size eleven came down there was an anguished squeal and the black blur shot off under the table.
For the rest of the evening she limped. I felt bad, apologised and hoped she would bounce back soon enough.
But Monday saw her still limping. There was no crying and she still showed affection and played, but her paw still caused her problems. I felt terrible, and this got worse as the day went on.
MWG decided that if she was still limping by Wednesday (today) that we’d have to take her to the vets.
This morning she was still limping.
The vet told us that she’s probably broken bones in her paw (tomorrow an X-ray will probably confirm this). So, dosed on pain killers midnight came home with us and dozed off.
I broke her paw. Of course, I feel a complete heel and every time she limps by it just gets worse. And her squeaks at the vets were even worse.
I know it was an accident, and I know that in a few weeks she’ll bounce back, cats are quite tough, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling utterly terrible about it all.
I guess in future I just have to look where I’m putting my foot more carefully.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Are you out of your Vegan mind?!

First of all, despite that title, I just want to say that this is not an attack on veganism. If you want to live that lifestyle, then carry on, each to his own.

Although, I will say this- if you are vegan, please, please don’t walk around like that makes you better than the rest of us. It’s irritating as hell and not going to win people over. Hell, I’ve met a few sanctimonious vegans in my day and it always just makes me want to order the mixed grill when we’re out together.  Just ease up, alright?

Oh, and another thing, stop equating meat with murder and dairy with rape, you’re just trivializing the horrific experiences some people have gone through. You’re also part of the same process that has allowed some of mankind’s most cruel acts- equating other humans with animals.

meat

Anyway, the reason I’ve used this title other than it’s a Star Trek reference, is because I recently read a story about some frankly mental vegans.

The story comes from Australia, where a vet has had to save the life of a kitten after it became dangerously ill because of the vegan diet it’s owners were feeding it.

Yes. They tried to make cat vegan.

The cat was apparently fed potatoes, pasta (presumably vegan pasta) and rice milk (which I’m guessing is more like rice juice because you can’t milk rice, it doesn’t have nipples), and apparently was in a very bad way. Leanne Pinfold, the vet who treated the poor critter in Melbourne stated that it was “extremely weak” and “almost non-responsive”.

After being put on a drip and warmed up, the feeble feline was kept in for three days and fed meat, and is apparently on the mend now, with the owners having been given meat to feed it.

Seriously, though? What the hell?

I get that you might want to go vegan, that’s your choice and as omnivores we can survive without meat, but don’t force your pets to follow your ideas too. It ain’t right for them. A cat is a carnivore, they’re adapted to survive on meat, now, I know some folks will say “But Chris, while these people are idiots, cats can survive on vegetarian diets!” and maybe they can, but that’s hardly the point.

Veganism, as far as I can tell is all about caring about nature and animals, but in this case the owners were going against nature. If you’re going to respect nature, you gotta respect all of it, not just the cute, cuddly part but the fact that nature is often harsh and based on death. Or as Tennyson put it “red in tooth and claw”. Animals eat other animals, it’s the whole circle of life thing and how nature works.

I guaran-damn-te that even if you raise a cat veggie it’ll still go out and hunt mice and birds. Why? Because that’s what cats do, it’s instinct.

For me it just seems ridiculous to force your ideology on an animal that quite frankly doesn’t give a crap either way. A cat doesn’t sit around debating the morality of eating meat or drinking milk, it just follows it’s instincts. If feeding your cat or dog meat is that much of an issue to you might I suggest not getting an animal that eats meat. Get yourself a hamster, or some sea monkeys.

So, please, vegans, don’t be a dick and let your animals be animals.

Story here.

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.


Dogs

I’ve always wanted a dog, probably as a result of being having grown up in a house with cats.

You can’t have cats and dogs at the same time, it doesn’t work. In fact, as anyone who’s seen Ghostbusters will know, cats and dogs living together is one of the signs of the apocalypse.

We did try it for a short period, my little sister, Liz, really wanted a dog and after much nagging my parents relented. And so we got a dog, a small, white heinz dog, who Liz named Carrie. Sadly, this turned out to be a good choice of name, as she was a crazy bitch.

You couldn’t take her off the lead because she’d go for dogs, any size. She’d lunge at cyclists, bark at anything and generally be a menace to society.

She also tormented our two cats at the time, Tiger and Yoda (guess which one I named), by dragging them around by their necks. Tiger, a soppy git of a cat would allow himself to be dragged about the place without resistance, but Yoda just took to avoiding her, or in a masterful stroke of feline intellegence, finding a spot which drove her nuts. He’d lie down just behind the gate we had on the steps to confine the hellhound to the downstairs, he’d lie just close enough to bask in the sunlight from the window and so Carrie could see him, but far away enough that no matter how much she smacked her head between the bars she couldn’t reach him. That is part of the reason why Yoda remains one of my favourite pets of all time, he was a moody git, but for me, that’s what a cat should be.

But Carrie went too far and bit my sister. She also went for my other sisters, but never for me or my parents, I think because she’d kind of worked out who the weaker pack members were. My mum decided enough was enough when Liz, who’d wanted a dog for years, began avoiding Carrie and seemed afraid of the beast.

Carrie had to go. And we found her a home without kids where she’d probably get on better, and we all moved on. Although, truth be told while out running a while back a small, white dog made a beeline for me across the park, charging at me and the thought flashed across my mind “Oh, s**t, she’s back for revenge!

Given the lack of success we had, there were no more family dogs. But the run of cats continued.

I don’t mind cats, like I said before, I kind of dig their surly nature and the fact you can leave a cat to their own devices. Aside from feeding them there is no effort required, and they reward you by occasionally curling up on your lap as you read and purring away. It makes you feel quite contented, until you need the loo.

Dogs are harder work, but they seem to appreciate it more. Dogs go nuts when you come back, their tails wag with glee and you can play with them. And that’s why I want a dog, I quite like the traditional image of man’s best friend.

It may be because I watched a lot of films like this as a kid

A dog is loyal and dedicated, doesn’t matter what goes wrong, the mutt is always with you. You see those homeless people sitting there and right next to them is a scruffy dog, panting away. Its gotta make life on the streets a little easier to have a companion you can trust, also I guess you probably get given more cash by passers by, that being the power of dog.

A cat? A cat will have bailed early, finding some other house who’ll feed it. In fact it’ll probably ditch you earlier on, as soon as you switch from Whiskas to supermarket own brand catfood it’ll probably decide its time to move on.

This is a major part of wanting a dog, I want something that’ll watch my back and stick with me, a theory I’ve compiled mainly from watching movies. Like I Am Legend.

Dr Neville and Sam

Also, if movies are to be believed dogs are a useful thing to keep around as a warning sign of things going awry. Seriously, think about it- in both The Woman In Black and Paranormal Activity 2the dogs start kicking up a fuss as soon as the ghosts/demons rock up, and try to protect the family.

Shoulda paid more attention to that dog

I can’t help thinking a cat would just chose this point to slope off down to the nice old lady at number 12 for some free sardines.

And its not just ghosts and spirits, dogs also know when someone isn’t what they seem. In the brilliant World War Z dogs can smell the infected and so can single out who’s gonna turn into a zombie early on. And remember in Terminator 2 its the dog barking on the phone that alerts Arnie that its not Connors’ foster parents they’re talking too.

So I want a dog for three main reasons- companionship, warning against evil and thirdly, I could take it with me for my runs.

I figure its been a while since I made a Rocky reference

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO