Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dogs and cats and rats! Oh My!

Dogs and Cats and Rats and Fish. All I need do now is add a couple of birds and a snake or tarantula, and I'll have the whole gamut of potential house pets.

I've grown up around pets my whole life. I'm an animal lover in the extreme, and can't walk past a pet store in the mall without stopping to ogle the puppies and kittens, and wish I could take them all home with me. If it's small and furry and cute - I probably like it.

I've been owned by cats, especially, since I was a very (Very!) young child. I have 2 currently, and in the past have had as many as four grace me with their presence at any given time of a single day. I spent some time during my early 20s working with friends who raised pedigree Maine Coons for show, and helping them do both the breeding and showing work. I know Catitude inside and out, and have a small share of it myself. (This is My universe, my planet, my house. You live here solely to cater to me: seeing to my needs, and buggering off when I decide I don't want you specifically underfoot. That is Catitude.)

The main difference between Dogs and Cats? Dogs have Owners, Cats have STAFF.

My current pair of feline family members have been with me for about 3 years now, both of them being rescued adoptees from the local animal shelter. Merlin (male, neutered, currently 6 years old, and very much an attention whore) and Stormy (female, spayed, about 10 years old, queen of her universe, and inherently lazy) are very much family, and have been an incredible source of comfort to me on a fairly consistent basis.

The rats were an issue that I had a lot of trouble coming to grips with. I don't, as a general rule, deal well with rodents of any variety. However, I'm really bad to want to keep my S.O. happy, and at the time, my ex spoke frequently about missing the rats he used to own. I fought it tooth and toenail. Rats. The very word still makes me shudder and mentally picture filth covered disease carrying sewer dwellers. He kept assuring me that such was Not what he meant by pet rats, and finally convinced me to take a trip with him to one of the larger local pet stores to be introduced to what he Did mean.

No doubt I have "SUCKER" written across my forehead in huge, glowing, neon colored letters, because before we left the pet store, I had shelled out almost $100 for a pair of female hooded lab rats, cage, toys, food, and treats, so he could once again have his rats that he kept carrying on about.

Spaz and Lazy have grown on me. They're relatively clean, cheap to feed, don't make a lot of noise, and can be quite amusing to watch run around on the desk top or bed. They are also not going to be living with me much longer, as they are HIS rats, and as soon as he and his new.. female friend.. are back from moving her here to Oklahoma from Ohio, they go to his house within 48 hours. If they haven't been moved by the time he and she have been back in town for 48 hours, I intend to claim Spaz and Lazy as mine and keep them until they die of natural causes.

My dogs, on the other hand, are a completely different ball of wax. Zeus is a black lab mix, currently about 6 months old, that I acquired not long after he was weaned. way too full of energy, destructive, and likes to chew on everything. I intended for him to be the only canine member of the household, and even checked with the ex (since he still lived here at the time, and our relationship was still going) prior to getting the dog.

Worked great for a couple of weeks.

Then I went to the ex's job to pick him up from work one day. Shop dog on the property was a year old pit bull mix that looked ferocious, but is actually a big goober love hound named Chaos. He's aptly named, because he creates it even when sitting still. So there I was, playing with the "trained killer guard dog", when ex's boss comes out - sees me doing so, gets an evil grin on his face, and says it's obvious that I need to take Chaos home with me, cause he needs to get rid of the dog anyway. I tell him to talk to the ex, that it's not my decision to make. So he promptly turns around, looks at my ex, and asks him "You really want to do this favor for me, Don't You?"

Needless to say, less than 2 minutes later, I suddenly found myself in de-facto possession of a second canine for whom I was expected to be responsible. Where dealing with his boss asking him to do this "favor" is concerned, the ex obviously had big, glowing, neon letters spelling "DELUXE SUCKER" on His forehead.

From now on, I'm going to have someone tie me to a chair and stick a ball gag in my mouth, any time I start saying I want a pet. At least it should keep me from going and filling my home with four footed garbage disposals that require constant care and attention for a few hours. That's for after my current ones die of old age, by the way.

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