Wednesday, June 17, 2009

tea's best friend

I think the time has come for me to welcome a fuzzy / scaly / spiney / feathered companion into my life.

And no, I'm not talking about dating.

While TV has been doing its best to warm my long, lonely weeknights, I could really use a comrade with a pulse. My apartment technically has a "no pets" policy, but I'm assuming this means no pets of the canine / feline variety. A furry friend who dwells in their own, self-contained habitat should be a-ok, right? After all, they aren't technically a resident of "the apartment" - they reside in a cage that just happens to be located in the apartment. Zing!

Now for the big question: what kind of pet is right for me? I'm sure there's a Facebook quiz for this, but I'd rather do some old-school brainstorming, using my very own brain. Computers will be making all our decisions for us soon enough.

So let's start with the most obvious domesticated cage-dwellers:


Ah, the noble hamster. It's not a mouse, not yet a guinea pig. As a kid, I was obsessed with hamsters . . . and cats, and dogs, and bottle-nosed dolphins . . . and briefly, during the 4th grade, capybaras -- which are essentially giant, mutant African hamsters.

--So easy to care for, even 10-year-old Tea could do it!
--Fuzzy and cute - like Japanese cartoon creatures come to life.
--Tons of fun accessories - hamster-ball races could become the new Primetime if I'm forced to cancel the cable.

-- They look like mice, which are the scourge of all apartment-dwellers.
-- Easy to lose / squish.
-- Lack of "street-cred". Although this could be an opportunity to rebrand hamsters as the "recessionista's pocketbook dog".


Admittedly, I don't know much about ferrets. I think there might have been a giant flying one in the Neverending Story movie. Or maybe that was a "luck dragon". Well, whatever . . . it lives in a cage, yes?

-- It's got fur and a cute face. And really, isn't that all ya need to make it in this great big world?
-- You can walk them on leashes. Can we say 'making new friends at the dog-park'?!
-- They kill snakes! Right? Or are those weasels?

-- They've got teeth.
-- They look cunning. Almost too cunning. I don't want a pet that can outsmart me / steal my soul.
-- I'm pretty sure they are loud and nocturnal? And eat meat? And suck the breath out of people while they sleep?
--I clearly know nothing about ferrets.

Rabbits (plinkity-plinkity-plink)

(Amy Sedaris' rabbit, Dusty)

Ah-ha! A house-rabbit would be the cleverest way for me to thwart the "no-pets" clause. Because while rabbits are technically cage-dwellers, you can also house-train them and let them hop free! Like a cat with longer ears.

-- They're totally furry and lap-friendly.
-- Amy Sedaris has one!
-- They deliver chocolate eggs.

-- A free-range rabbit + my apartment full of extension cords = imminent electrical fire.
-- I have a hard time imagining a rabbit being happy living in an apartment. Anyone who has read Watership Down can probably see why. Rabbits are meant to live underground and steal carrots from Mr. McGregor's garden.


Not fuzzy or cuddly, I know . . . but have you seen a gecko? There was a tank full of them at Petco, and I stopped dead in my tracks and grinned at them for about 10 minutes. They've got these giant, moist, understanding eyes . . . like a cage full of tiny therapists.

-- They've got British accents.
-- Will give the apartment a more tropical feel . . . "blimey, you've got geckos in here, mate!"
-- Also, you can apparently dress them in tiny sweaters?

-- Like living in a tropical climate, which mama won't be able to afford come winter. Unless gecko wants to go out and shill some auto insurance to help pay the heating bill.
-- Not fun to pat.


Don't knock 'em, people -- do you see how cute these little bastards can be?

-- British!
-- Requires virtually no grooming.
-- I will never have to buy toothpicks again.

-- Shows it love by piercing you with tiny spikes.
-- Pretty sure these little dudes are nocturnal, which means I'd never see him.
-- Eats bugs. Which means he'd also be needing his own separate refrigerator, because I'm not keeping his effing mealworms in with my people food!

Sugar Gliders

AKA -- flying squirrel. Yes, these animals are real -- and yes you can keep them as pets. My dad actually knows someone who has one. It is a marsupial that like to sleep in a pouch -- or your pocket. I'm sold!

Sugar Glider-Pros
-- Pocket-friendly!
-- It lives for like 12 years or something like that -- so it's like all the fun of having a dog or a kid without having to walk it or send it to college.

Sugar Glider-Cons
-- Also nocturnal. His party will be just starting when mama is ready to hit the hay.
-- Lives in a giant cage suitable for climbing / "gliding". I currently don't have enough space for a floor lamp, never mind a small zoo enclosure.

So that's my shortlist thus far. Consider the voting lines open, people -- what pet should tea get? If I've left an amazing creature off the list, feel free to write one in.


  1. how about a fennec fox. expensive, but badass.

    also, you confused both a weasel and a ferret with the snake-killing mongoose.

    my vote goes to the sugar glider.

  2. How about a chinchilla? They're very cute and give hours of amusement rolling around in a bowl of special dust that cleans their coats.

  3. What about a parrot? Instant pirate cred. Plus you could teach it to say stuff like "Yeah, tea. Yeah!"

  4. Ferrets also smell bad.

    If you go the scaly route, I have a heat lamp you can have.

    If you go hamster, keep in mind that boy hamsters have some of the largest balls vs their overall size around. It's either funny or gross. Seriously, they waddle.

  5. Let's be honest, you want something that can be a companion and fun friend. What says companion more than this:

    Obvi, your choice should be bunny.