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December 10, 2003

Bad pets
Posted by Teresa at 05:27 PM *

Paula Helm Murray sent me a link to the Bad Pets List, saying I should imagine that the entries are things your pet is being required to write 50 times on the blackboard. The cat and dog lists are of course extensive, but there are also lists for horses, guinea pigs, birds, bunnies, iguanas, and ferrets:

from The Bad Ferret List:

I will not steal a canister of raisins and eat till I get ill, then spend three days projectile-vomiting raisins at my humans.

I will not completely flatten myself so I can crawl underneath the bedroom door of the sleeping guest who is not fond of ferrets just so I can crawl into bed with her and lick her toes.

My human’s use of the Bad Ferret Squirt Bottle is supposed to annoy me, not be considered a new and exciting game.

It is impossible for me to steal the mouse. I will try to remember this, because my humans are never amused when they see me dangling from the edge of the computer desk.

There is nothing fun inside the printer.

Comments on Bad pets:
#1 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2003, 06:01 PM:

Entries some of my family's pets could have written:

*I will not eat the other snakes, particularly pregnant racer snakes, if one is put into my cage. (My mom put a pregnant racer snake that the neighbourhood kids had found into what she thought was an empty cage--it had a kingsnake which had just finished molting. End of story.)

*I will not escape for weeks on end, only to end up in a load of laundry. I understand laundry is not safe for me to nestle in. (Note: This snake survived a wash cycle and was forever after the NICEST snake EVER. Previously, he'd been a bit of a biter. I don't recommend this though.)

*I will eat my mealworms swiftly instead of biting them in half, and toying with the still-twitching ends. (My Western Box turtle played with her food.)

*I will not bang the water bottle against the side of my cage ALL night. (My rat, Aard.)

*I will not crawl into the nearest dark space if it happens to be somebody's pant leg. (Xerxes, a hedgehog.)

#2 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2003, 06:12 PM:

I will not read any of this out loud, because the cats and the ferret might get ideas.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2003, 06:21 PM:

Some excerpts from the Bad Cat List:

The phone cord is not alive and is allowed to be plugged into the wall. It isn't my job to kill it and remove it from the house.

Mario and Luigi are not alive. Neither are football quarterbacks.

I should not play back the messages on the answering machine at 3 a.m. It makes my human think someone has broken into the house.

I will not run at an open door, miss, and crash into the wall. It makes my humans think I'm stupid.

Attacking the toaster while it is on is not a smart idea

I will not conspire with the other cats to freak the humans out by all staring down the hall or out the window with big eyes and hair on end. I will not growl at invisible aliens when a human is home alone late at night.

There are NO Martians hiding in the new drapes.
I will not fish out my human's partial plate from the glass so that the dog can "wear" it and pretend to be my human. (It is somewhat unnerving to wake up, roll over in bed, and see the dog grinning at you with your own teeth.)

I will not play soccer with the Christ child's head from my human's roommate's nativity set.

I will not steal my human's Cheetos and leave them all licked but not eaten on her bed.

I will not use the bathtub to store live mice for late-night snacks.

If I bite the cactus, it will bite back
Being close to the ceiling is not really as important as it seems.

Bubble bath bubbles will not support my weight.
I am not master of the house no matter how long I sit atop the drapes.

I will not remove my human's stuffed bear from her dresser and kill it EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I cannot fit through the strings of a harp; neither sneaking up on it, nor running at it in full spaz mode, will ever increase my chances of doing so. Relocation of the harp to another room has no effect whatsoever on the distance between the strings. It is still the same harp, and I still can't fit.

I will not stick my head through a plastic bag handle and walk off, causing the bag to balloon out behind me like a parachute. When I do this again, I will not scream in terror at the THING clutching my neck and following me, and run around the apartment wailing like a banshee. When my human finally stops me by stepping on the bag, I will not attack her leg. And I will not bite her later because she was laughing so hard.

#4 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2003, 06:23 PM:

BTW, I should clarify. Those were entries I made up off the top of my head, based upon past experiences--not actual entries on the site Teresa linked to.

Just in case anybody is confused.

#5 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2003, 07:10 PM:

Marci had a cat who managed to get her head caught in the handle of a plastic grocery bag, and shredded the rest.

The pictures of Monkey (the cat) in her tutu are very cute....

Things I'd add, from pets when I was growing up: I will stop bringing in dead adolescent rabbits after the second one, because the humans are too dense to understand the meaning of a present. (cat)

I will not bite young humans who are jumping into the deadly device known as a swimming pool, even though they are clearly endangering themselves. (dog)


#6 ::: KimGonzo ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2003, 07:34 PM:

I will not read this at work. (human, self)

I will not steal the straw hat off the head of the nice lady who feeds me, then turn around to face the farthest corner of the stall and eat said hat. (a friend's horse, Papillion)

I will not race into the bedroom and launch myself off of the sleeping man's face to get his attention because I was stupid enough to get a plastic bag stuck around my neck. (my cat, Smudge)

I will *check* to make sure the laundry basket lid is closed before jumping on it. (again, Smudge)

#7 ::: Scott Janssens ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2003, 07:36 PM:

With my dog it's more like: I'll do whatever I please because even when I'm bad I'm so damn cute.

#8 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2003, 08:05 PM:

I have to admit that you just possibly have the world's cutest dog.

#9 ::: Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2003, 09:17 PM:

Elric and I are wondering how T. possibly typed any of those entries in without ending up lying on the floor, unable to move.

#10 ::: Alison ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2003, 09:43 PM:

If ever there was any doubt of Teresa's talent, this is definite proof. Will you edit more for us? Please?

#11 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2003, 11:18 PM:

When I read 'bad kitty' I actually realize my cats are pretty good compared to most of the things mentioned..... they do vote with their butts when the litter boxes don't get checked and dipped out every couple of days but they do it just outside the rim of the litter box if they do complain. My favorite bad kitty, though is,

I will not stand on the bathroom counter, stare down the hall, and growl at NOTHING after my human has finished watching The X-Files.

Since I have a kitty who appears to 'catch fairies' in our house (she's jumping on and catching something we can't see....) this IS disturbing, but she IS the slightly retarded cat... (she was born in a barn and nearly eaten alive by fleas before she was rescued. The person who rescued her says her dimness may be because of the fleas or because she had to use a full flea-attack to get them off the kittens...).

#12 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 12:17 AM:

From the cats:

I will remember which boxes have packing peanuts them and fall over with me inside them.

I won't get my arm caught under the closet door again.

And from an aquaintance's ferret:

Hammers are not treasure.

Daddy's nipples aren't raisins.

#13 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 01:04 AM:

TNH: "I will not stick my head through a plastic bag handle and walk off, causing the bag to balloon out behind me like a parachute. When I do this again, I will not scream in terror at the THING clutching my neck and following me, and run around the apartment wailing like a banshee. When my human finally stops me by stepping on the bag, I will not attack her leg. And I will not bite her later because she was laughing so hard."

We had a similar thing happen with our cats around 1995, when they were kittens. They ended up chasing each other around the apartment, with the giant plastic grocery-style bag from Target attached to the female cat's hind legs. The male cat wouldn't come into the front part of the apartment for three days. The female cat slept the whole night INSIDE the sofa upholstery -- all we saw was a lump in the upholstery and claws hanging on.

#14 ::: Maureen Kincaid Speller ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 01:27 AM:

Teresa, were it not that one is required to be dead first, I would insist on your canonisation now, this moment. I am sitting here with tears literally streaming down my face, I'm laughing so much.

Thanks for a great start to my day.

#15 ::: Luke McGuff ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 03:49 AM:

I am sitting here with ears literally streaming down my face

Oh good heavens.

#16 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 05:09 AM:

From my bad rats:

I will not dive-bomb my human from the bookshelf.
My cagemates do not look better with new hairstyles.
I will not paint the bedspread, using spaghetti as a paintbrush.
I will not use my human's bowl of cereal as a swimming pool.
I will not watch TV while my human is out, and I will certainly not also chew the remote control buttons.
I will not disconnect the phone twenty-three times.

#17 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 05:28 AM:

Our current cats have no really annnoying habits, but from previous feline denizens ...

* Remember, you can't train your human companion to eat earthworms. Not even if you bring him one every day for six months.

* The ten (or twenty) small pink mouse-like things at the end of the bed are not actually mice.

* Ergonomic computer wrist-rests should be positioned under the human's wrists, not asleep on top of them. Purring doesn't help.

#18 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 08:19 AM:

Maureen's ears have now been fixed.

#19 ::: Maureen Kincaid Speller ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 08:27 AM:

PNH is also a fine person, for saving me from my fingers, and more particularly my ears, which are back in their usual places, in the usual quantity.

Bad Human:

Try to stop crying before you start typing, and also wipe your eyes. Your vision isn't so smeary then and you can see more of what's going on. Do not blame it on the ferret projectile-vomiting raisins, no matter how funny this image is.

Also, it is a wise move to make monumental typing gaffes in a rather less public arena.

Ahem ...

#20 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 09:31 AM:

Two for my cat:

The lady of the house is not my chew toy or scratching post -- let her pet me now and then.

*I'm* not the star at Christmas (, second photo down, Emperor Horton)

#21 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 09:33 AM:

Bad pig (my vietnamese potbellied, Bubu):

I will not run away from my bath, spewing soap and water all over the yard, making Dad trip and summersault in mid-air before landing in tub.

I will not eat eaves off expensive tropical fruit tree. I will SPECIFICALLY not eat the fruit when it gets ripe but before humans get to them.

I will not hiss at cat and he will not hiss back until humans understand this is a form of greeting.

#22 ::: Han ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 09:49 AM:

Nice to see more rat stories, I thought mine were just deranged:

When breaking out of my cage, I will not curl up IN Dad's mouth while he sleeps.

We will not eat a 1 kilo bag of haribo sweets, from the back, so no-one notices.

Cigarette papers are not evil, and should not be shredded at every opportunity.

Sometimes, guests do not like picking up a wineglass to find a rat bathing in red wine. (Turned Cassandra a very fetching colour, though!)

Ahh, I miss my rats now.

#23 ::: Alison ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 10:09 AM:

In reading my comment form last night I'm not sure it made a lot of sense. I can do better.

The lists are very very long and some of them are funnier than others. T's version was kind of a before and after picture of what an edited versus unedited manuscript might look like when it's been through the hands of someone really very skilled. I've never seen anything like that before (how often does a lay-person see both verions of a manuscript). I was impressed. I tried reading the ones aloud that were funny to me and they were not nearly as funny as the list she put together from what was there. I wonder if that's a skill that can be learned or if it's just innate.

That's really what I was trying to say.

#24 ::: Feòrag ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 10:29 AM:

Dressmaking patterns are not a special type of shred-it-yourself cat bed.

#25 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 10:37 AM:

Han: My rat, Aard, also liked to put his head in my mouth while I slept. (I took him on a road trip and he was allowed to run loose in the back of the car while other people were awake to supervise...and lo, people thought it was funny that he kept sticking his head and front paws in my open mouth.)

#26 ::: Anne ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 10:47 AM:

Were my cat able to write, I'd make her do 100 repetitions of the following: "I will not help my human stitch; silk threads are not snakes and do not need to be chewed into submission. Nor will I play tag with the invisible fairies and then sulk because they cheat."

#27 ::: sennoma ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 10:48 AM:

More bad cats: my humans' laps do not get more comfortable with kneading, whether I use claws or not; and, turning their backs for a second is not human-speak for "please dive into the clean laundry".

#28 ::: Han ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 10:51 AM:

PiscusFiche: Odd that. I was never sure if it was curiosity, or some sort of ratty dare - like the same trick with lion tamers. It was all I could do to stop her as (Note to squeamish, please stop reading here.) she would then usually try and nibble the plaque off my teeth.

Maybe I don't miss them that much, now I think about it!

#29 ::: Lara Beaton ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 11:46 AM:

For Bad Cats, I would add:

I will not stand over my human companion's face while she sleeps, so that when she opens her eyes she will be able to see more than cat stomach.

When my human companion has a "friend" staying over, the tent in the middle of the bed is not dangerous.

#30 ::: Lara Beaton ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 11:48 AM:

One more:

A toothbrush is not a cat toy.

#31 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 12:30 PM:

For a bad kitty:

Bedmice leave the house once the thick comforter leaves the bed.


#32 ::: Jeffguy ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 12:49 PM:

My friend's bad kitty would have to write:

I will not nuzzle my human's boyfriend *there*, especially not during the sex act.

#33 ::: Kim Wells ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 12:51 PM:

I would add, after a few minutes ago:
Cat: "I will not demand to be let up on my human's lap, sit there for a few seconds, fart very smellily, and then leave, while staring at said human as though SHE did it."

SHEEESH! It's almost as though my husband WEREN'T out of town!

I know. Smellily is not already a word. I have a poetic license, though, and am allowed to make up new ones.

#34 ::: Jess Nevins ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 01:28 PM:

More for the bad rats list:

I will not play hide-and-seek with my humans. If I do, I will not hide (and then go to sleep) in the pocket of a jacket, to be discovered when one of the humans is getting ready to go to work.

I will not chew the paint off of any doorframes.

I will not drag an entire ball of Manos yarn into my cage.

I will not try to augur my head into the mouth of one of my humans and then groom his tongue. Rodentistry is only for volunteers.

#35 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 02:07 PM:

Bad cat:

I will always remember that even if my human does not push the bathroom door closed hard enough to latch, I do not have permission to enter the bathroom while he is on the toilet, thereby opening the door nice and wide. Especially when his spouse has friends over.

#36 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 02:15 PM:

Boy do I miss my ferrets. One of them did once ride one of the cats like a rodeo bull. Diving headfirst into a mug of beer was another favorite trick.

I will _not_ run through that little space under my mommy's mother-in-law's high heels, even though she does make such nice squeaky noises when I do it...

#37 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 04:02 PM:

Oh, right:

Urine from a pissing man is not a cat toy.


#38 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 04:10 PM:

Oh, thank you for the link--I've been slowly working my way through the Bad Dog list (whenever I get stuck on a sentence, I read a screen's worth to clear my mind . . . or two, or three . . . ) and I haven't laughed so hard in ages. I'm collecting my favorites of the dog list and will probably make it an LJ post.

#39 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 05:02 PM:

I know. Smellily is not already a word. I have a poetic license, though, and am allowed to make up new ones.

Sure it is, but it's a noun. An old-fashioned word for garlic (which as you know is a member of the lily family).

Yes, I'm kidding. Though garlic is sometimes called "the stinking rose."

#40 ::: Michelle Brose ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 06:25 PM:

Bad kitty:

I will not chew up the only copy of an important term paper on the morning it is due.

I will not chew up driver's licenses, passports, and voter registration cards.

I realize that bringing live mice inside to play with later is against my stated purpose as a cat.

If I am caught with contraband when I am let in, I should not protest when ordered to TAKE IT OUTSIDE, BUNKY! If I persist in attempting to smuggle vermin, it is my own fault if I am chased outside with a broom.

It is well and good that I should kill a mouse and leave it for my humans to find, but it is considered poor etiquette to leave a bloody decapitated and tailless mouse on the kitchen floor, and later make a show of vomiting the half-digested head onto the living room carpet.

When my human enters the bathroom, it is not considered an appropriate time to come wind my way through her ankles and attempt to jump on her lap.

If I injure myself and require surgery and a hard cast on my leg, I will not kick my human in the eye with said leg.

If my humans go on vacation for a week and ask a neighborhood teenager to come in daily to feed me, but the teenager neglects me the entire time, it is perfectly acceptable for me to slash open a box of Tender Vittles to keep from starving. However, it is unnecessary to express my displeasure by shedding great clumps of my long black and white fur, unrolling entire rolls of both toilet paper and paper towels and... soiling the entire downstairs. When they finally return and are properly contrite, it is equally unnecessary to sit in the middle of the mess looking smug.

#41 ::: J Greely ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 09:01 PM:

Hamster Darwin Award:

I will not practice my cage-escaping skills at night, while no one's watching the new kitten.

Bad kitty:

I will not jump down onto the dishwasher's open door. If I do, and it catapults me inside and closes, I will immediately call for help in a loud voice, realizing that humans have a hard time figuring out where that quiet whimpering noise is coming from. Under no circumstances will I investigate the scary dark place and end up hanging from a cup hook by my flea collar.


#42 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 10:39 PM:

IJWTS that I hurt myself laughing at these and woke Jordin up which made him grumpy. And It's All Your Fault.


#43 ::: Stef ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2003, 04:51 AM:

I will not attempt to send secret messages to my cat friends on the Internet by standing on my human's computer keyboard.sjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj

#44 ::: Anon ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2003, 07:20 AM:

For the Bad Human List:

I will not drop my cat into the first big snowdrift of the winter. Every winter.

I will not put scotch tape on the bottom of my cat's paw, making her lift and flick the the paw in great irritation.

I will not put scotch tape on the bottom of all four of her paws, so that she tries to lift all four at the same time, falls over, and glares at me.

At feeding time, I will not put the unopened can of cat food on the floor and cheerfully tell the cat, "There you go!"

And when my cat protests at the unopened can, I will not give her the can opener and laugh maniacally.

#45 ::: Kim Wells ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2003, 11:19 AM:

okay, anon that was laugh-out-loud funny. I do so love to wiggle my opposable thumbs at my cat and point out that if only she had them, she could rule the world.

mwah hahahahahahahahaaha ha

#46 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2003, 11:34 AM:

Oh gosh I needed that! Thanks so much for the giggle. You've just redeemed a Very Bad Day.

(Very Bad Day Lines:

I will not cause both the office coffeemaker and the office coffee-maker's computer to die on the same morning, the former with much leakage of hot coffee and the latter with nary a sound or a fizzle. I especially will not do this when the maker of the office coffee's computer is the only one with the necessary software installed on it, and when said unhappy soul is juggling major projects."

That's a bit long to fit on a blackboard, though.

Sigh. I needed the giggle, even viewed from an absent co-worker's monitor.

#47 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2003, 12:04 PM:

Bad Cat:

When my human has just come in the door and bent over to take off her boots, I will not jump onto her back, curl up, and attempt to go to sleep.

#48 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2003, 12:11 PM:

from Pidget, the wondercat:

Dirty laundry is not a communications medium, even if my people did somehow neglect to arrange for warm dry weather for me to go out the back door and urinate in and I want really, really badly to remind them.

This is also not a good strategy for getting wet food instead of the caviar-priced dry food my vet wants me to eat.

#49 ::: Isabeau ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2003, 11:15 AM:

Bad budgie:

I will not attempt to climb from my person's shoulder to the top of her head using her ear as a clawhold.

Advice to budgies everywhere:

Using the bridge of someone's eyeglasses as a perch while that someone is wearing them is an intimacy to be reserved for very close friends.

#50 ::: castiron ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2003, 11:07 AM:

Bad kitty:

Plastic grocery bags are used as containers in this household; they are not my personal flavorful treat.

This includes the plastic bags holding the donations to charity.

And the plastic bag lining the trash can where the wet diapers are tossed.

Tap water tastes the same, whether it is in my water bowl, the bowl in the kitchen sink, or the toilet.

Not all cans contain cat food.

It does not matter how far apart my component atoms are; I cannot occupy the same space as my walking human's foot.

I will not vomit on the laptop.

Every day of my life since I vomited on the laptop is a gift from my human, and I shall cherish it.

#51 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2003, 09:31 PM:

The dog excerpts, as promised, over on my LiveJournal.

#52 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2003, 10:12 PM:

Bad cat:

No matter how untidy the litterbox may get, I will not poop in the narrow space between the couch and the furnace through which my human must walk in the dark to get to the bathroom in the morning.

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