Renzo’s Rant: Pet Advice

Lately I've been thinking about getting a pet. I'm sure that if you were to dig up Freud or Jung's fetid, rotting corpses and bring them back to life via some sort of voodoo magic à la
Weekend At Bernie's 2, in addition to causing hilarious hijinks and socially awkward situations for Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman, they would tell you that living by yourself in a lonely basement with no contact with the outside world save your projectionist job where you sit in a lonely projection booth with no contact with anything except projectors, is not very good for one's mental health. And it probably causes you to write in extremely long, run-on sentences.

My plan is to get a kitty. Not a cat, but a young, impressionable kitten that I can train as it grows. This is because a trained cat is basically like a dog, except a million times better. You don't have to go outside whenever it needs to "do stuff" (i.e., feed that vicious heroin addiction), because it "does stuff" right in your house. Can you imagine if dogs did that? There'd be cooking spoons and lighters all over the place. Cats also don't need as much attention as dogs, because they're too busy being assholes. And lastly, your cat can go, like, a week without drinking water; the only downside is of course the fact that the cat's extremely water-efficient kidneys concentrate its urine to the point where it is more corrosive than hydrofluoric acid. This means that you can not give your cat water for a week, and it will then use its urine to dissolve the floor and water pipes underneath it, drinking the water that pours out, all without you lifting a finger.

Now, cats and dogs are nice and all, but they're pretty boring. These days, lots of people are going for more exotic (and dare I say erotic) animal companions. But be warned! Not all of these furry friends are all they're cracked up to be! This is why I have assembled the following primer, which should help you in the difficult pet selection process.

Rabbit: Thumbs Down

A rabbit is the pet equivalent of that really boring cousin that you always try to avoid at family gatherings, because you know you’re going to end up in a dead-end conversation that drags on forever without actually going anywhere, because they have the personality of a lobotomized grapefruit. Rabbits spend their entire day standing around sniffing and remaining completely silent, then occasionally they will crap, eat their own crap, and crap it back out again. Just like your cousin. The fact that they make no noise only adds to the awkward silences that will punctuate the aforementioned dead-end conversation. A live rabbit can be easily replaced with a circular model train track and a model train carrying a cargo of feces that just drives around in circles all day.

Ferret: Thumbs Up

Since the beginning of time, ferrets have earned the trust and respect of humans by carrying out the function at which they outperform all other animals: the stealing of precious gems and jewels, usually diamonds. Occasionally you will see a ferret stealing a topaz or perhaps an amethyst; however, these incidents are few and far between. The ferret excels at gem theft due to a variety of attributes: its slim, flexible form; its cold, calculating mind; and of course its moral ambiguity which allows it to kill without remorse. Also, it has cool X-ray vision that can detect laser security grids. Long favoured as a pet among jewel thieves and jewel burglars alike, the ferret is a wise investment to make, so long as you are prepared to pay it a whopping 40% cut of all your diamond sale earnings. Otherwise you might just want to get a mink or something.

Snake: Thumbs Down

I define a pet as an animal that a person keeps for companionship and cares for, and that is incapable of swallowing said person whole and digesting them over the course of a month. That being said, most snakes are capable of swallowing a person whole and digesting them over the course of a month. The dominance that they hold over their human companions puts snakes into the grey area of Pet? / Owner?, wherein it is unclear who is the pet and who is the owner. In the case of really big snakes such as boa constrictors, the owner is usually the one not being painfully squeezed to death. It is this reversal of power that has prevented other animals such as the crocodile, blue whale, and great white shark from becoming mainstream pets.

Fish: Thumbs Down

Fish are one of the most hands-off pets of all. And by that I don’t mean that you rarely pick them up or touch them (though that is the case, mostly because they feel disgusting); but rather, there’s really not very much you can do with them. You can’t pet them. You can’t play with them. You can’t take them for a walk. In fact, as far as the fish is concerned, you could cease to exist and it wouldn’t care at all, as long as some invisible force sprinkled some flakes of food into the tank twice a day. This is because most fish don’t even know that you exist, or if they do, they don’t realise that they’re your pet and should interact with you in some meaningful way. In your fish’s mind, you are some giant, scary-looking thing that shows up every once in a while and pokes its tank while it hides until you leave. This is why you will never see a tame fish; they lack the cranial capacity to realise that they have met you before every time you come to feed them or stare mindlessly at them while they pretend to not notice you in the hopes that it will make you go away.

Hamster / Gerbil: Thumbs Down

The sort of people who like having a hamster or gerbil for a pet are probably also the sort of people who would enjoy having a noisy paper shredder for a pet. Except instead of spitting out shredded paper, it spit out crap. I spent a week sleeping in a room that housed a gerbil once, and it took me back to my fanciful boyhood days of living in a twenty-four hour lumber mill that was powered by manure. A hamster/gerbil’s hobbies include chewing on cardboard, chewing on woodchips, chewing on paper, and escaping from its cage and hiding somewhere impossible to recapture at least once a week. And it’s not like it’s even eating the things it’s chewing. No, you have to provide it with food as well as cud, like some tiny, hungry chewing tobacco enthusiast. And since spinning hamster wheel-to-electrical power technology is still in the refinement stage, it doesn’t do anything even remotely useful in the process, other than make a shrill, metallic squeaking sound that infuses with the incessant gnawing you already have to listen to.

Peregrine Falcon: Thumbs Up

Peregrine falcons are just fucking sweet. This is a self-explanatory statement, so no further proof is necessary.

Bird (Other Than Peregrine Falcon): Thumbs Down

Want a bird? Want a bird? Want a bird? Want a bird? Want a bird? Want a bird? Want a bird? If you weren’t bothered in the slightest by that, you might have the patience required to become the proud new owner of a bird. Want a bird? Want a bird? Want a bird? Birds are not just the ADD kids of the pet world, they are also the ADHD kids and the SpEd kids. We’re talking about minds that are fooled into thinking it’s night by putting a blanket over their cages, people. With attention spans shorter than the first and only broadcast season of The Mullets and a rapidly fluctuating fascination with mirrors, birds will constantly keep you on your toes as they continually discover an identical looking creature beside them and squawk at it until they forget about it after ten seconds, only to rediscover it again after five.

African Mountain Gorilla: Thumbs Up

A rather unpopular pet these days, though it’s expected to soon be on the rise due to the slight success of pulling this species back from the brink of extinction. Not to be confused with the vicious attack chimps that gangs in sub-Saharan Africa have taken to using in the place of vicious attack dogs (interesting tidbit: that last part is actually true, look it up). Mountain gorillas are known for their graceful strength, quiet dignity, and unstoppably wild lust for menstruating women, which explains why Diane Fossey found living alone in the wilderness to be a much less lonely experience than Jane Goodall did. Also, if they grow to twenty-five feet, they often enjoy climbing on Empire State Buildings, if given the opportunity. The mountain gorilla makes an awesome pet because although they are herbivores, they are strong enough to take anyone you have deemed your enemy and totally just smash their face in. Scientists have long suspected that the gorillas maintain some sort of secret gymnasium workout centre deep within the mountains, because all human vegetarians are anemic weaklings who can barely lift their bongs and Phish CDs.

You're still here? It's over! Go home! Go!*

*Pending copyright infringement lawsuits by the estate of John Hughes and Matthew Broderick