Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Is You Am a Dog?

Girl-child has decided she wants a pet of her own.

(Excuse me whilst I commence sighing in that long-suffering mom-like way that we hate to admit we indulge in.)


A pet.
Of her own.

Our family has a cat, a very lovely cat, a very affectionate…albeit sleepy and persnickety…and what cat ISN’t…cat, whom Girl-child shares kisses and rolling-abouts on my bed and head-scratches and bits of cheese and tuna.


Since we’ve put the kaibosh on Girl-child having a younger sibling, she’s decided she wants to be Big Sister to Something.

Now, our family has already tried several varieties of pets:

Goldfish. They died. Horrible, water-jumping, tail-rotting deaths, even with daily checks on the charcoal filter and special drops in the water and just the right amount of food and sunlight.

Hamster. Nah. Too bitey. Not affectionate. Hard to cuddle.

Dog. As kids, we thought we were Dog People. Until we got one as grownups. Then, as much as we tried, it wasn’t a good fit. We’re gone all day, and gone most nights for sports or meetings or whatnot, and there wasn’t enough time or space or patience (damn ‘house-trained’ dog peed everywhere).

Sergei took the kids to a local mall last weekend shopping, and they happened into a pet store.
They returned with Girl-child grinning about how she’d found the PERFECT pet.
She COULDN’T WAIT to see if I approved.
Sergei smiled knowingly.

Girl-child wanted…

…a RAT.



Me and vermin, well, we just don’t get along. I had a hamster after college, and it freaked me out such (with its albino skin and red eyes) that I had to release it into the wild. The hamster that Sergei brought home a few years ago I hardly ever looked at, much less took care of.



That’s NOT a pet.
That’s a Garbage Dweller.
That’s Templeton stealing apple cores at the county fair.

…just not right.

I know people that have kept pet rats. I can’t listen to their stories of their ‘cute pets’ without some amount of goosebumping and shivering and nearly-throwing-up-episodes.


I told Girl-child that a rat was NOT a good pet for us. Even though she thought they were cute and came to the glass when she tapped on it.

Any rat, any mouse, any varmit, that dares cross my threshold will find themselves in a wicked Rube-Goldberg trap of my own design, which will lead them through tunnels and swamps and right back to the Pet Store.

Mickey, be warned.


At 12:54 PM, Blogger egan said...

Rats aren't pets as you stated. Well I guess people do have pet snakes and pet tarantulas. Does it even out in the wash?

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Diana said...

Is the cat a good ratter?

How about another cat?

Or a pet rock?


At 3:36 PM, Blogger Sergei C. said...

I told Girl-child that a rat was NOT a good pet for us. Right after you told her that, I gave her a thumbs up and whispered that we'd keep working on you. What could possibly go wrong?

(For anyone who doubts our pet troubles, I wrote much the same post almost a year and half ago: http://lowlandseed.blogspot.com/2005/08/pussy-story.html

At 3:47 PM, Blogger jo(e) said...

I have a student who has a pet rat and claims it's a great pet.

The idea gives me the creeps.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Maggie said...

Listen, between rats or baby siblings, I'd definitely make another baby. Ha hahaha. Seriously, maybe she could have a kitten?

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Cynical Girl said...

I am your friendly neighborhood animal rescue mama, and here's what I think:

1. Get a kitten. It's kitten season.

2. If you get a rat, hamster, etc., make sure you rescue one from the local animal shelter. I'm serious. People dump those animals all of the time.

3. How about a pony?

At 4:34 PM, Blogger gypsy said...

Check out Lulu's blog re: this issue. She is not much of a pet person, much as she tries to be. And she acquiesced to her kid's rat thing. It seems to be going well and she'll even hold the little buggers. I tried to make myself hold them, but I just can't.

Rikki, on the other hand, has Ix-Nayed the rat idea in her house (also blogs on that subject).

Who knew rats were all the rage?

No thanks. Ew. No.

At 6:31 PM, Blogger patches said...

If girl child arrives home with a rat, you should find a child with a pet snake and arrange a playdate. Survival of the fittest.

At 8:24 PM, Blogger Miranda said...

Mona I'm with Patches on this one. If you need any further help, you can borrow my cat so long as she doesn't bring the rat carcass home to me. I'm not one for "surprises".

At 9:00 PM, Blogger meno said...

I'll send Greco (my cat) right over. That will take care of it, and i will have saved the price of some cat food. It's a win/win situation.

Actually, i had a pet rat once. He was cute.

At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous, too said...

Maybe she should try for a chinchilla, instead....

At 1:17 AM, Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

What about a bunny?

OMG, My WV is msqvers. Ms. Quivers?

At 7:58 AM, Blogger Sanjay said...

lol.. go with the dawg! Err. I have actually dissected and worked with rats, and no I don't want them as pets!

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I vote for kitten! You'll all love it and hey, the other cat will adapt. Rats are way down the list. It'll keep you up all night going around on that dumb wheel!

At 12:54 PM, Blogger RunLuluRun said...

I don't like pets or babies. The idea of more pet, especially rats GROSSED ME OUT. HOWEVER my son's two baby girl rats have charmed me and we love them. You wouldn't believe how clever and interactive and clean and smart they are. Rita and Frieda are the best! Give it a whirl!

At 4:26 PM, Blogger gr said...

Listen, go to your local shelter and get a bunny! Easy to care for and soooo cute.

At 11:48 PM, Blogger Coffee-Drinking Woman said...

Bunny? Chinchila? Bird?

(rat, huh? hmmm, not sure I could deal either...)

At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, please don't listen to anyone who advises you to get a rabbit. They're definitely not easy to care for (considering most die young deaths from improper care, feeding, and habitat), and not for children - they like quiet spaces, don't like being picked up, and are even more independent than cats.

I love rabbits and have one, but people's lack of knowledge about them is very upsetting. They can be litterbox trained, but many literally die of boredom from the brain damage of being kept in small cages (mine has free reign of the house) all the time, except when they're terrorized by a hand that lifts them out and holds them in the air. Even the food most chain pet stores sell for them isn't healthy - many even contain animal products! You have to find a place that sells Oxbow products or similar. Also, many vets classify them as "exotics" and don't always have specialists for them. Please go for a cat or dog!


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