The evil cat
The evil cat is easy to spot because every single cat living on this earth is one hundred percent pure nasty. If human beings demonstrated the same attitude towards the torture of smaller innocent creatures, the same cold disdain for everyone around them and the same delight in killing for sport, the Tory Party would never be out of power.
Cats are not your friends! They stay with you only as long as you can offer them food and shelter. When they look at you, they are only trying to work out how easy it would be to eat you, should you die.
Dogs Who Look Just Like their Owners
It's fun to see dogs that look just like their owners. It's nice to laugh at their subconscious vanity and to marvel at the vagaries of fate. Just don't dwell on the similarities for too long. Don't think about how deep they go. And don't worry too much if you look like your own pet. That's just coincidence. Really it is.
The pub dog
The sign of a really good pub is a really good dog sitting in a corner by the fire. Or better still, a really good dog working the room. Pub dogs are better than any zen master when it comes to handing out good vibes. They can expertly navigate even the most crowded bars without getting under anyone's feet and emanate a grade ten force-field of chilled benevolence as they go.
Just make sure you aren't anywhere near them when they fart.
The Small Dog Syndrome
This kind of dog is very easy to spot because it will attack you as soon as it sees you. No matter that it's smaller than your foot, and if you were so minded you could hoof it into next week with one well-aimed kick. Teeth bared, eyes sparking, furiously yapping,
it will charge right at you, for reasons even it doesn't understand. It is also the terror of Alsatians, Bulldogs, and Rottweilers. But don't let that trick you into thinking it has any redeeming qualities. It's a little toolbox.
The Creepy Pet
In order to spot this kind of pet, you will probably have to go round to its owner's house. This may prove difficult. Not least because the owner is likely to be an unholy freak. They may try and tell you that their lizardâ€¨is interesting, that their snake is clever or that their spider is an astonishingly skilled hunter. They may even try to suggest that touching its horrible hard skin and looking into those cold, cruel reptile eyes is fulfilling.â€¨But there will always be the suspicion that they're serial killers and they only like these horrible creatures because they remind them of pain and death.
The Best Friend
Some people like their dogs more than their spouses. Or children. Or brothers. Or the memory of their parents. Or their colleagues. Or anyone they have ever met ever. That's fine. Dogs are pretty cool, after all.
-poo? Not yet! Oh naughty boy! Oh well. Mummy and daddy will clear it up.'
Dog with clothes on
Dogs have their own coats. They're born with them. For centuries, that's all they've needed. And yet now, in the 21st century, we've decided to start dressing them up in special dog-shaped outdoor coats, too. You may also see them wearing fancy, Spanish Civil War-style bandanas. Or plastic macs. The owners are perfectly within their rights to dress them up like this. But they are also a bit silly.
Most people probably assume that they could take a sheep on. But most probably haven't actually tried. Until you've been there, with just you and the sheep. Oh god. Those weird and staring eyes. Those stamping feet. The impossibility of making the beast see reason. That surprising speed and unexpected anger…
In truth, the miracle is that we get to eat sheep rather than the other way around. As soon as sheep get together and really start thinking things through, we are doomed. Mankind's dominion will end. Mint sauce will have new and frightening uses.
Dogs in bags
Four legs good. Two legs better. Not using your legs at all because your yuppy owner has forgotten that you're a living creature rather than a fashion accessory, better still!
Since the beginning of time pretty much all dogs have ever wanted is to go for a nice stroll outside. Even hearing the word "walk" is enough to send some of them into paroxysms of delight and excited anticipation. To say that they love to go out and stretch their legs is as obvious as pointing out that the sun is quite hot, grass is green and politicians might not always tell the truth. So when you see a dog in a bag, you see the death of doggy dreams.
It's fun to laugh at our four-legged friends and their owners. But it's even more fun to actually hang out with them. Cats are cool. Dogs are doting. Rabbits are sweet. Even goldfish can distract you briefly from the crushing reality of mortality and the horror of being all alone on this overheating rock, spinning purposelessly round a dying sun, in an unfathomably large galaxy, lost in the cold vast dark emptiness of space…
There is nothing more joyful than a Labrador plunging into water. There are few finer sights than a dog at full tilt after a flying tennis ball. There's nothing more warming to the heart than the sound of big tail thumping the floor in joy at your return from a hard day at work.
Pets are wonderful.
I-SPY for Grown-ups - I-SPY PETS: When Human Friendship Is Not Enough, by Sam Jordison is published by HarperCollins, £4.99