I bet you used to look at other people and their pets and think "Ew, that's weird. It's your pet, not your friend". I know I've been guilty of doing it. There's that level when a cute affection becomes a weird obsession. But then the other day I looked at my cat as I was taking snapchats of its butt and realised that I had become the very thing I feared. And so here is my warning. The 14 signs that your relationship with your pet has gone too far.
1. You Speak To Them
I mean... come on. How weird is speaking to your pet! It doesn't understand you. You could be swearing your head off and it would have no idea. You could be speaking Chinese. It would still have no idea. One day I'll invent something to translate pet noises into words. The dream.
2. They Are The Background On Your Phone
I thought it was just because it was a cute picture but then I realised it's because I want my pet to be with me wherever I go. If my cat had a phone I'm fairly sure that I would be in the background. If I wasn't we'd be having words. Come to think of it... I might buy my cat a phone. Then it can text me.
3. You Wish It Was Acceptable To Date Your Pet
Ok so this one doesn't apply to me but, worryingly, I think it might apply to my girlfriend..?! Your pet listens, doesn't answer back, relies on you totally and loves you unconditionally.
4. Special Relationship Syndrome
This is all part of Special Relationship Syndrome, or SRS. I admit I suffer from SRS. There should be SRS Anonymous. I'll put that on my to do list. Everyone think that their pet is different and special. That they have a special bond with their pet that is more human than anyone else's bond to their pet. The first step to getting over SRS is admitting that you have it.
5. You Spend More On Your Pet Than On Yourself
You're in the supermarket deciding on what chicken to buy yourself. You can get the chicken that lived it's life in a chicken sized cage, you can get the chicken that lived in a fairly crowded cage but could walk around and you get can get the chicken that had an entire field to itself. You go for the middle range. Next is the the pet food aisle. Find yourself an hour later eating mid-range chicken next to your cat who's eating organic salmon.
6. Dinner Time Is Dinner Time For You Both
It starts by feeding your pet at the same time as yourself. It makes eating dinner alone seem more sociable and you're fairly sure that your pet wants it too, right? Very quickly you find that not only is your pet eating better food than you, it's eating off the table next to you as well.
7. You Let Them Eat Human Food
The final stage on the slippery slope that is eating with your pet involves deliberately leaving some of your dinner on your plate so that your pet can eat some of it. We've all done it but.. how weird is it! There's definitely some deep psychological issues in there. Repress them :)
8. You Panic When They Wretch
Pets eat whatever they want. If they think that grass smells good, they'll get it down them. If they like the smell of litter, they'll put it straight in their mouths. Dogs are sick all the time, cats bring up fur balls every day. But that still doesn't stop us reaching for the phone to call an ambulance every time they wretch a little.
9. Letting Your Pet Lick Your Face
We've all done it. Even people without pets have let friend's pets lick their faces. But did you just read the point above!? Not only are they regularly sick, they also never brush their teeth and eat smelly pet food. But that's the tip of the iceberg. I've seen my cat sniff other cat's bums. I've also seen my cat lick its own crotch... all the time. Now come here and give me a kiss.
10. You Don't Consider A Night In With Your Pet As A Night Spent Alone
I mean technically we're right here. You're not alone in the room if your pet is there. But really, if we're considering our pet to be company, we are alone in so many much deeper senses of the word. Just me, the cat and some popcorn watching the Notebook. It wasn't over. It still isn't over.
11. You Feel Lonely When You Don't Have Your Pet In Your Room
This one is a risky game. What starts as "oh this is fun, my pet sleeps in my room" quickly becomes tricking your pet into the bedroom with food then closing the door. It's gone too far when you have someone else in the bed with you and you resent them for taking up your pet's space in the bed.
12. You Miss It More Than You Miss Close Friends
This one creeps up you and it's a bit of a shock. When you go away, you find yourself missing your pet more than you miss people you would consider fairly close friends. As you get closer and closer to your front door, the feeling grows until you fling open your door and run and hug your pet. Its hugs you back. Look, it definitely hugged me back, ok. Shut up.
13. You Hug Them Too Tight
This is another classic. When you pick up your pet you grab it and hold it very tight to your chest. It's because you both love each other and want to hold each other tight, right? Or is it possibly because you know it doesn't like being picked up but you won't let it run away...? Or is it because you're with your friends and you feel threatened that the cat might go to them instead? Some more issues to repress. Yay.
14. Deep Feelings Of Hatred And Jealousy For Anyone Who Your Pet Shows Affection To
When your mate comes round you're happy to have them touch your pet. That's fine. Maybe they can even pick it up for a while. That's fine but... but they're doing it wrong. She doesn't like being held that way. No. Don't say anything, that would be weird. Ok, let go now. I SAID LET GO. Shit, did I just say that out loud? Where did my friends just go...?
I wish I could say that I didn't get this list almost entirely from personal experience but I feel like the first step in my recovery is admitting that I have a problem. My cat only gets organic salmon on alternate days from now on. I think that will probably be a severe enough move, right?