The 4 Most Hilariously Disgusting Pet Behaviors
Word is the pet industry is worth about $6.5 billion a year in America, spent mostly on poop bags and stylish leather pants with tail holes in them. That's insane, and only partly made up. Do you know what you could buy with $6.5 billion? 180.5 million bottles of bacon vodka. You know, for instance. Probably the same amount of mango vodka, if you swing that way.
The thing about the world of owning pets is that you never really expect the unexpected. You have a dog, you give it a ham every few days, you walk it, you play fetch, it's all pretty easy. There are no hidden secrets to dog ownership. No breeds that require a day per week in an iron lung, or need to be fed live squid, or anything weird like that. Or so you think. Turns out there's a wide array of really bizarre and specific behavior that you have to deal with when it comes to pets, the kind of stuff no one told you about before you agreed to take some small beast into your home and be responsible for it. And a lot of it is gross and off-putting.
Dog Anal Glands
You can tell you're in for a party when someone puts the words "anal" and "gland" together. It's a thing in your butt! As luck would have it, all kinds of mammals have anal glands, even you. Yours are probably adorable. I could just pinch them. As for dog anal glands, they're up in their little doggy butts and they perform an entirely important function, which is lubrication. Anal glands lube up dog poop. That's their basic function in a nutshell. They help that Alpo ease its way onto the lawn, and for the most part that works the way nature designed it to.
The problem with anal glands in a dog is that a dog's dook is supposed to be hard naturally, and as it works its way down the path to enlightenment, the anal glands ease the transition into the world. They're like greasy forceps helping give birth to a disgusting baby. But if the poop isn't hard enough, there isn't enough pressure on the glands. That means your dog is likely to start scooting its ass all over the carpet because its glands will continue to fill and possibly get impacted.
Now that we have some impacted anal glands, you may be wondering how this affects your life. Welcome to grossness. You need to empty those glands. The dog can't do it, because the dog doesn't have any fingers. You do. You and your fingers need to squeeze the almost literal shit out of those things. Or you can pay a vet or a groomer to do it for you, but the point is: someone needs to squeeze natural, butt-smelling ass lube out of your dog's anus, and it'll need to be done as often as once per month.
As an added bonus, the smell that comes from a dog's glands, especially if your dog is impacted or having some health problems from them not draining properly, can run anywhere from something like a mackerel that's been stuffed with shit to a series of snake farts that have settled inside your brain. It's really unpleasant.
The Flehmen Response
Research indicates that you're reading this on the Internet and, as someone on the Internet, you have at least three cats. One of them has a name that's far too precious or clever for its own good. That's how we maintain the status quo.
As a cat owner, you may have noticed this look on your cat's face.
Smells like teen spirit. And butt!
Notice the luridness of the entire expression, the glassy-eyed stare, the mouth agape. Looks like your cat went full retard, to quote a callous and insensitive movie line I'd never use in real life because I don't make mockery of such things.
This weird look on your cat is a flehmen response. Lots of animals do it, from horses to goats to lions to tigers to your precious Mr. Whiskerson. The purpose of said expression is to help transition pheromones from their nose to the vomeronasal organ. What a crazy word! Basically, it's an organ that smells shit better than the animal's nose does, and I didn't even use the word "shit" haphazardly there. That expression on your cat's face is its shit-smelling expression.
For whatever reason, the flehmen response is generally in response to urine or feces. If your male cat does it, he's trying to decide if there's a hot lady nearby who is ready to experience a ride on his majestic kitty pony. Or he just smells some ass. Female cats will do it and link up their reproductive cycles. Weird.
This information is all fine and good for everyone out there until you realize the sad implication of what I have just said, because I am going to wager my hard-earned money ($5, in fact, but just once, to be split among any and all who can definitively prove me incorrect) that every one of you who has a cat has seen the cat make that face when it was just the two of you together. Or, in other words, you made your cat make this face. You. Something all up in your funk made kitty go all derp with his superhero-smelling sense that's reserved for investigating the genitals of other animals, or their crap heaps.
Now, this likely changes no one's life; you've never lost sleep over it, and you probably never thought of it before. But you're thinking of it now. Next time you see a cat do this near you, take that as a subtle cat insult. That cat thinks you smell like lady-cat tang. Think about that enough and you'll get a complex.
Humping Bearded Dragons
Ever had a dog hump your leg? Sure you have. It's one of the great thrills of growing up -- when amusement over what that crazy dog is doing turns to revulsion when it becomes clear what that crazy dog is doing, and you get a sense of what it's like to be truly and thoroughly used. Generally, someone will react in shock and shame and proclaim "bad dog" before shooing the beast away and preserving the innocence of your shins for another day: no harm, no foul. Life goes on. Ever been humped by a bearded dragon?
Lizards are the go-to pet for guys who wear pork pie hats and girls who play stand-up bass. A few choice others as well, but let's not split hairs. Point is, they're not rare but also not super common. And among all the geckos and anoles and chameleons you can get, there are the majestic bearded dragons. You have to like them because they're dragons, which is badass, and they have beards, which denotes sophistication. They're in the upper echelon of lizardry with Monocled Iguanas and the Connecticut Gila Debutante. You expect a certain kind of behavior from a lizard as a pet: cold, monotonous stare; desire for bugs; little to no interaction on a personal level; and the knowledge that, if necessary, the lizard will eat your carcass if you die and it has access to you. What you don't expect is that bearded dragons are hornballs.
Maybe it's lizard testosterone or the feeling that they need to live up to Godzilla standards, but bearded dragons have issues with humping anything that's more or less the same size as they are, which can include shoes, stuffed animals, other lizards, fake lizards, toys, and even socks. You and your little friend could actually have the same jizz sock, and that's absolutely gross.
For a change of pace, your dragon may also try to hump parts of you that are of a sexy size as well, like feet, hands, and forearms, because why not?
I hope to God you own a hamster or know someone who does, because this is the best thing I have ever seen and the entire inspiration for this article. I happened to be at the home of someone who owns a hamster, because she's an adult only in the chronological sense, and, at around 2 in the morning with nothing more pressing to do, I decided to introduce myself to the hamster and see what he was all about. Did he have hopes and dreams like the rest of us? Was he a go-getter? Did he long for a lady companion?
The hamster answered none of the questions I had, but in fairness I never got to ask them. See, in his cage, the hamster had two basic structures: a wheel and a little plastic hut shaped like a tree stump. He was in his hut at the time, sleeping, so I lifted it up to say hello. Blinking his beady little black eyes, he looked for all the world like a rat to me, but whatever -- a pet's a pet, so who am I to judge. He sat still a moment and then hastened forward to smell my finger. And that's when, out loud and to no one at all, I exclaimed, "Fuck me!"
This hamster, this little teacup-sized rodent, was dragging behind him a nutsack the likes of which I had never seen. It was monumental, elephantine. It was as though Yao Ming had become balls on a hamster and that hamster was now rollicking toward me. The poor creature seemed oblivious as his little nose twitched and his unfathomable beast of a scrotum slouched toward Bethlehem behind him.
Like this, but the presents inside are weirder.
I was in serious awe of this situation. If I had a sack on par with this hamster's, I'd be lugging around a Vietnam-era military duffel bag of man marbles. I'd be Stan's dad riding around town on my massive scrotum in that episode of South Park.
Naturally, I assumed something was amiss with my rodent buddy. He seemed ecstatic, and had there been any lady hamsters around, no doubt they would have been quite hot under the collar over his remarkably corpulent prowess. Google did not let me down -- massive hamster balls are apparently as common as sunshine in July. Dozens of people, hundreds even, had turned to the Internet in testicular panic questioning the nature of their pet's prodigious beanbag. The best answer I could find? It's just a thing that happens. In fact, they're supposed to grow bigger during springtime, because who doesn't want seasonally huge nads?
Further Googling suggested huge hamster nuts could be caused by many things, including: cancer; it's just a thing that happens when they wake up, like the rodent equivalent of morning breath; an overabundance of hamster man-juice; the hamster's balls are so hot they're dropping away from his body to cool off (incidentally, this also came with the advice to put a dinner plate in the freezer for a while, then take it out and drop your hamster's beef chips onto it to cool them off. I dare anyone to actually do that).
So why do hamster balls grow to gargantuan proportions? I haven't the faintest idea; the Internet is full of unscientific bullshit from hamster-nugget aficionados, nothing much from actual animal experts or veterinarians. But I do know it happens enough that if you get a hamster, odds are it's going to have a huge sack dragging behind it at some point, so get ready for that.
For more from Felix, check out 7 of the Worst Choices Ever Made While High and 5 Disgusting Habits Everyone Has (When No One's Looking).