From snakes to cats: living with 10 pets


Graphic by Jackie Lou

Written by Stephy Jackson

I have a pretty big family. I live with seven animals; my twin, my two little sisters, my parents and, until he moved to college, my big brother. And one of the results of this living situation is that everyone in my family wanted a pet, or multiple pets of their own. That’s how I ended up with 10 pets in my house.

Our family started out with getting cats; the lazy, selfish reflections of ourselves in the body of a fluffy creature. We have Lucky, the big fluffy Maine Coon cat, who we have had for five years. Then, my mom randomly decided to adopt a three-legged cat, Jessem, who was hit by a truck and has brain disfunction. Lucky is a free spirit who acts as if he is the king of the household, and often knows when you are occupied with homework, so he takes the opportunity to sit directly on whatever worksheet you are trying to complete. Our other cat, Jessem, is the craziest cat ever. He will not stop wailing until you give him attention, and he occasionally flops and wobbles his way into the kitchen until you agree to feed him.

However, my family has too many energetic and loving personalities that can’t be satisfied with the apathetic characters of my cats, so that’s why we got Ginger. Ginger is our aggressively loving Golden Retriever who is full of life. And since Ginger is so cute, the seven members of our family can’t resist feeding her snacks or meals here and there. Evidently, this has caused our beloved Golden Retriever to become quite obese and very sluggish. She will often be laying down and spot a squirrel in the distance; however, after getting up and preparing herself to charge,  she soon realizes that her belly is touching the ground and that she is no shape to run, so she lays back down again. However, her sizable belly can’t compare to her big heart.

Cats and dogs are fairly mainstream for the typical family; however, my family has had a collection of reptiles and rodents throughout our time as well. Currently, we have a snake that lives in my room. Technically, we have many snakes in my family, including myself; however, in this situation, I am referring to the long limbless reptile, not a cold-blooded human being. My snake used to belong to my older brother, but since he left for college I have taken the three-foot pet under my wing. My snake’s name is Slithery (I know, the name is very creative), and he is a corn-snake. A question that I get asked is “Since he’s a corn-snake, does he eat corn?” No. He eats mice. Dead frozen mice from the freezer every week.

I also have a bearded dragon lizard whose name is Spiky. He looks kind of like the dinosaur from the original Jurassic Park movie, with the spiky crown of skin that spreads around its face when it gets angry. That also happens with Spiky, which is why we named him that (another very creative name).

The pet that I actually asked for was my tortoise, whose name is Sir. PoJo Populous. Don’t ask me why I named him this: I just did, okay? Anyway, Sir. Pojo Populous lives in our front yard and the funny thing about this tortoise is that he likes to hibernate for months at a time during the winter. During the first year that we had him, we thought we lost him because sometime in November, he suddenly disappeared. During those months, I had just assumed that a hawk had snatched him up and carried him away because he was nowhere to be found. I regularly forgot that I had a tortoise at all. However, in March last year he reappeared, but from that day on, I still forget that I have a tortoise living in my front yard.

My least favorite pets in my house are the rodents that my two little sisters love for some reason. We used to have two rabbits. I did not like them. They were nasty and mean and they pooped everywhere all the time. These rabbits would be eating a head of lettuce and simultaneously pooping the part of the lettuce that they had eaten seconds before. The rodent that we are currently housing is the ugliest hamster one can ever lay eyes on, in my opinion. His name is Fuzz-Fuzz. Why is he so ugly? Well, he’s been getting old lately and one of the side effects of age for a hamster is the rapid loss of the furr. Right now, we’ve got a hairless hamster who looks like he’s been turned inside-out, or like one of those naked mole-rats. So, Fuzz-Fuzz is no longer fuzzy any more.

We also have some fish but I don’t count them as pets because, not going to lie, they’re pretty useless.

So yeah, that’s all of ‘em folks: Lucky, the cat with an ego the size of a diabetic walrus. Jessem, the survivor; Ginger, the fat sweetheart; Slithery, the snake; Spiky, the prehistoric lizard; and Fuzz-Fuzz, the inside-out hamster. And with my seven family members, we are all one big happy family (with some fish).