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My Pets Have an Identity Crisis

i·den·ti·ty cri·sis - personal psychosocial conflict especially in adolescence that involves confusion about one's social role and often a sense of loss of continuity to one's personality.

I have too many animals living in my house, and I'm not even counting my four children. At the pinnacle of my animal ownership, I had three cats, one dog, four bunnies and a few dozen fish. As life (luck?) would have it, I am down to two cats, one dog, one bunny and a few dozen fish, including three beta fish in three separate fishbowls spread throughout my house.

I know what you are thinking, "That isn't a lot of animals...I read about an old lady who had 50 cats in a one-bedroom apartment," or some other unbelievable story about a lonely animal lover who spent their life and fortune taking care of abandoned and neglected animals. You would be right, it isn't a lot of animals, if you are a crazy person who hoards living creatures like the devil hoards souls, but for a normal family in a reasonably sized house, it is practically a farm. But this isn't the point...

Bunny and Cat Doing the Tango

The point is, aside from the fish who know they are fish, the rest are very confused as to which animal they actually are. The lone remaining bunny is convinced my male, flat-faced Persian cat is another bunny who is desperately in need of his seed. The bunny is mounting the cat so often, to the cat's chagrin (and sharp claws, I might add), that I'm afraid one morning I'll find super cute bunny/cat hybrids running around my house! As you might suspect, the cat is not happy with this arrangement, so he is constantly running away and jumping onto any high surface he can reach. The problem with this is he is horrible at being a cat. Maybe it is the extra 10 pounds of fur he carries around, but he is the clumsiest cat I have ever seen. He is so clumsy, I think it is way too generous to even call him a cat.

My dog, a small white Maltese, is very confused. Before we had the bunnies hopping and pooping everywhere, she was a normal small dog who barked at everyone and everything convinced she was actually a warrior wolf capable of tearing even the greatest foe to pieces. I should couch that "normal" with the fact that she already had a bit of an identity crisis in that she thinks she is a male dog. On a regular basis, she humps the stuffing (literally) out of Curious George, then proceeds to tear its throat out (she has anger issues). So on top of being in an interspecies relationship where she is the Dom, she now eats lettuce with the bunny, fighting over carrots and pieces of dried fruit. She will steal food from the bunny's mouth if that's what it takes. Other times, she will hide pieces of lettuce and half-chewed carrots under my pillow, so that is nice of her. If the dog starts hopping, I'm going to ask him to leave my house.

I've fallen, and I can't get up!

So my bunny either thinks he is a cat or my cat is a bunny, my cat can't jump and has the reflexes of a two-toed sloth, my dog is gender fluid, thinks she is a bunny and is in an interspecies relationship with a monkey. This identity crisis epidemic is spreading because I am convinced that I am no longer human. I am nothing more than a living, breathing, pooper scooper; cat poop, dog poop and the never-ending supply of little tiny balls of bunny poop that I find everywhere (I loathe when they get stuck between my toes... it's almost enough to make me look up a recipe for rabbit soup). If you were wondering why I only have 1 bunny left when I started out with four, poop is a big part of it. I could have fertilized a 10 acre garden with the amount of poop they produced. That and it turned out there were three male bunnies and one female and it was a daily Battle Royale for her attention. One of the male bunnies - Cuddles (his not-ironic-at-all name) - was descended from the bunny in Monty Python's Holy Grail and he viciously attacked my daughter.

My children have managed to keep their identity as children, though my oldest would sacrifice both of his younger sisters if it meant he could become a Jedi (truth be told, I would offer all four to the Jedi gods for the honor, but don't tell them that). Sure, my youngest son wears nothing but underwear and would be more comfortable in a nudist colony than my house, but he is 100% a little boy. My girls are 8 going on 16 and that is as expected, so the epidemic has remained confined to the animals, for now.

Dogs and cats live 13 - 18 years and bunnies 8 - 12 years (children live, like forever!) so I am destined to be buried in animal feces for the foreseeable future. I have resigned myself to this fate, but I am not resigned to leave my animals without guidance. I will endeavor to train my cat to jump, my bunny to recognize other bunnies, and my dog to eat bacon instead of lettuce (she can continue to fornicate with George...who am I to judge he/him/she/her sexuality. It might not be a noble goal nor a goal that will change the world, but it is the only goal I have time for...I have poop to clean up.

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