Pet lessons (from the memory box)

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Do you remember when your sister was bonkers for ferrets? I was pretty worried that just by force of will she would conjure a ferret into our midst. We had had so many bizarre pet situations that a spontaneous ferret would not have surprised me.

I am very sincerely and deeply ashamed that I have always learned how to manage pets entirely by trial and error. I learned that when you have the greatest cat in the universe in your home, you do not just go out and adopt the first random jerk of a cat to be their companion. Even if it is not the worst creep of  a tomcat, That second cat will always be a jerk. One particular jerk brought roadkill in through the cat door;  worse than that he was obviously proud of himself as a mighty hunter.

I think it’s a very human impulse to think, “Gee, things are going so well, I could make them even better by not acknowledging that I am flirting with ruining everything with excess.”

Other pet lessons:

  1. Having a seventy pound puppy and a baby at the same time in a tiny house is not the greatest idea.
  2. Skinks can jump very high and will never find their way back into the habitat. They are like little reptile kamikazes without planes.
  3. Peahens are terrible caretakers and the babies mistake predators for parents and will greet them eagerly, if briefly.
  4. You cannot be certain that your fish will not be chronically over-fed if a toddler can reach the fish flakes.
  5. Goldfish excrete enough ammonia to poison themselves at a rate so rapid that you may as well just feed them to the cat right away.
  6. Chickens are generally lesbians because roosters are awful. Even roosters hate roosters.
  7. You can select a very well-adjusted kitten by cradling it upside-down and finding that it is relaxed and trusting. After that, even the most chill kitten will become a deeply disturbed murder cat from overexposure to bored children.
  8. Before you adopt anything find out what it eats, how long it will live and where to take it when it’s sick. It only took us 12 years to find a vet that will deal with your sister’s snake. The snake has a long sentence to serve with us still. I guess she’s healthy, but all I know how to do is recognize when she’s constipated. Thanks Google!! (I still don’t know for certain that’s she’s female).
  9. Anything you cannot cuddle just becomes a source of guilt and gross-out.

Back to the ferret fever, your sister was sure that she wanted a ferret. Maybe she saw a video and felt a kinship with their frantic curiosity and their weird segmented torso motions. There is something enchanting about the way they slither-hop around. In any event, she was cured very swiftly after on only one visit to the pet store.

She gravitated immediately to a clear cage full of adolescent ferrets. Some details are unconfirmed, but I’m certain that she didn’t contemplate asking for any help. Instead, she just opened the latch and freed the ferrets. The swarm didn’t suffocate her, because her screams immediately alerted the entire block that she had been bathed in ferrets. They were instantly in her hair, in her sleeves and just everywhere.

She never suggested ferret pets again.

So that give us…

  1.  Ferrets are unstoppably friendly and are also deaf to your shrieks and squeals.
  2. Avoid pets that are blase to your panic. They will not protect you or cooperate in their own care.
  3. Actually, just stick to dogs that are smart and portable.

Be better at animals than I am, please.



4 Replies to “Pet lessons (from the memory box)”

  1. Things I have learned, the hard way:
    Ferrets are HUGE jerks.
    Fish-tank newts will escape and you’ll find the dried up corpse a year later under your fridge.
    Tarantulas molt. It doesn’t mean they are dying.
    When threatened, some lizards can swallow air to make themselves look bigger. It doesn’t mean they are dying.
    Don’t tickle a bunny’s feet. They hate it.
    Wild birds are MESSY poopers.
    All birds are messy eaters.
    Cockatiels need a lot of attention, or they begin to scream non-stop.
    A cat bite on another cat can turn into a truly disgusting abscess. Which you won’t find until it pops. You won’t want chocolate milkshakes for a while.
    Don’t let zebra finches breed. And make sure they have the right diet.
    Give calcium to iguanas. If the base of their tail is skinny, it isn’t healthy. Vet visit, ASAP.
    Snakes need to be warm, but not TOO warm.

    Wow. I think I could do a post of my own on this topic!

    Liked by 1 person

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