3 min

Dog eat dog eat tubesteak

Queers love pets because animals are incapable of homophobia.

I've never known love as deep and distilled as the love I feel for my furry girls and boy. Credit: Xtra files

What’s hot and not in house pets for fall/winter 2001?

Allow me, as in-the-know arbiter of what’s hot and not in house pets, to apprise you. Tiny dogs are out, out, out; if you have a tiny dog you are an outcast, and your children will be lucky to get into even the most forlorn, hayseed community college.

Bunnies are a no-no. Cats are gauche as all get-out. Fashionistas everywhere are drowning their cats in backyard water barrels, like old-world, no-nonsense Appalachian housewives. Gerbils? Shove ’em up your ass!

Don’t believe a word of what I’ve just said. I’m playing the glazed stylist to hide my true feelings about pets. I do that sometimes, hide my feelings. The thing is, when I hide my feelings, I forget where I put them. I stand on the front stoop, looking high and low, ringing a cowbell, yelling “Feelings! Feelings!”

But the neighbours just think I’m rehearsing some kind of primal lounge act, and my feelings are lost forever.

I love pets! Hooshie ka shooshie coochie coochie nu nu nu!

The bond between “gays” and pets is already well-documented. Single gays love pets because pets are something to come home to, something to hold and daub tears with while screaming “Alone! Alone! I am someone who is always alone!”

Coupled “gays” love pets in lieu of, or as training wheels for, children. If the poignant spectacle of seeing two gay men trying unsuccessfully to enrol a cocker spaniel in junior ringette isn’t a forceful argument for gay adoption, I don’t know what is.

And queers of all stripes love pets because animals are constitutionally incapable of homophobia. Supposedly, anyway.

Ever since our cat, Mrs Judy Marigold, saw my boyfriend eating a fruit rollup out of my ass, her “meow” has sounded more like “ewwwww.”

No matter. I still love Mrs Marigold – and our orange tabby, Carl-Earl Bourgoine, and our brown tabby, Jennifer Poo-Poo, and our white cat, Mrs Polly Jones.

That’s four cats, and counting. Sandy Dennis had upwards of 50 cats at the time of her death in 1992. Sandy Dennis was one of the hottest actors of the 1960s, but was eventually reduced to bit parts in movies like 976-Evil, in exchange for economy-sized cases of Fancy Feast. Sandy Dennis is to cats what the wonderful Lorraine Segato is to suitjackets with the sleeves rolled up: a tireless champion.

I think I shall name my next two cats “Mama” and “Quilla” and settle in to watch them empower each other with endless bowls of homemade butternut squash soup. Scrappy fun!

My intense affection for animals is only a recent thing. As a child, I always felt animals could intuitively sniff out my pathology; in their guiless eyes I could see my whole, bleak future yawning like a tar pit. It’s a fact that my mother had to tie a pork chop around my neck to get the dog to play with me. It’s also a fact that my father had to tie a bottle of Jovan For Her body mist around my neck to get my mother to play with me, and that my mother had to tie a two-four of Labatt Blue to get my father to use my little armpit as a bottle opener.

I’ve definitely been more successful in my relationships with cats, but I would never delineate myself as a cat person. When people happily say, “I’m more of a cat person,” or “I’m more of a dog person,” they might as well be happily saying “I’m more of a raging homophobe.” How can one so breezily divvy up one’s affection for specific kinds of animals when all of God’s creatures deserve love – except for snakes and Jewel?

I cannot begin to describe the transformative effect that having four cats has had on my small, cold life. That shopping-bag-floating-in-the-wind epiphany in American Beauty? I am fortunate enough to have that epiphany, of the sacred in the mundane, every time I pick week-old, calcified cat shit out of the dining room carpet. As I furiously rub at the stain in the carpet, as old cat shit dust billows up into my eyes, I realize my life is one glorious, ongoing tone poem, so American Beautiful that I can hardly stand it!

Those of you who are pet owners will completely understand when I say that I’ve never known love as deep and distilled as the love I feel for my furry girls and boy. I’ve actually cried, cradling Mrs Polly Jones in my arms. Their ease of being and classy survivalism! I often turn to my pets for a refresher course on humanity. And I especially like it when Mrs Polly Jones demands that I wear baby-dolls and pleasure my own man-boobs with a peacock feather while kicking my legs like Esther Williams.

If anyone’s going away and needs a petsitter, you know how to reach me.