Last week, and largely because controlled low-stakes chaos and petty drama is a soothing balm right now, I embarked upon a quest that could ultimately tear the Jezebel staff apart—I decided to finally, after years of all of us tiptoeing around this verboten third rail, investigate the answer to this very important question: which pet, of all of the Jezebel pets, is the best pet?
The party line these days is that all pets are good, and a source of comfort to their owners. This is true, but some pets are better than others, which is also true of humans, a truth I know deeply as one of five siblings.
I enlisted three Jezebel children—the offspring of some of our siblings—as our panel of (mostly) neutral judges, as children are brutally honest and delight in stirring up unnecessary trouble. The rules were simple. I told these children only that they *had* to rank them (No “Every pet is cute in its own way” please, this is not a game!!!) and that they had to share their thought process.
But before the rankings, first, the competitors.
“Despite animal shelter workers saying they found her in a Philadelphia dumpster, Miss Truvy Bouvier Kennedy-Onassis has a discerning, yet cheerful attitude. She enjoys tennis balls, napping, and hiding food she finds on the street in her mouth until she can bury it under piles of clothes in my closet. When I had surgery, she used to stack her toys beside me in bed so I wouldn’t get lonely.” —Emily
“Frankie is unfortunately a very bad dog who has Stockholm syndromed me into loving her and providing for her every need. But can you blame me?” —Esther
“Jewel is good because she knows how to make space for herself. I’m including the second photo because I think it shows her sense of humor, in that it looks like she’s pinned under the chair but she’s not. So funny.” —Clover
“Hank is four years old and, according to his doggy DNA test, a mix of terrier, chihuahua, and unidentifiable mystical creature. He is the very best because he has this soaring, ear-flapping gallop of joy that makes all humans at the dog park stop in their tracks, clutch their chests and go, ‘WELL LOOK AT YOU’ or ‘SOMEONE’S HAPPY,’ and that gets even the most cantankerous of dogs to run after him. If he were to appear on a reality TV dating show, his job title would be ‘Play Expert.’ That said, he is currently cuddled up in a ball on my lap, eyes closed, with his chin resting on my forearm as I type.” —Tracy
“Prince is almost five months old. He is kindhearted but apprehensive. His affection is occasional, in 90-second spurts a few times a day. He is otherwise content to be near his owners but not on us, which is typical of his breed (British shorthair). This provides an adorable sort of torture, like that experienced by child whose teddy bear has been placed permanently under a glass dome. Prince is very screen-oriented (loves watching/pawing the iPad and TV). —Rich
Julianne Escobedo Shepherd’s Beak, a cat and a Gemini
“Beak acts like a dog and also a baby in that he has tons of personality and follows me around needily, but still has predatory cat tendencies in that he loves to attack Kiki, my other cat who is more catlike. For more info, please see this PSA.” —Julianne
“People constantly get my name wrong. It’s Rhett—not red, or rex. My mom also calls me ‘bubby’ or ‘rhetty poo,’ but only God knows why. I’ll turn two in August and think I’m part otterhound. My most distinguishing feature is my beard. Don’t I look just like Sam Elliott?” —Rhett
“Bukka is a massive nerd of a dog with few skills besides snuggling and whining aimlessly at me. They told us he was going to be a big dog. I got him to protect me and maybe intimidate my enemies and I will never fucking forgive him for refusing to grow beyond the size of a large breadbox.” —Molly
“This is Daisy, a middle-aged cat with a big heart and a lot of attitude. Her favorite things include sleeping on the radiator, money, eating, and digging her claws into my leg out of love. I’ve included two photos for reference, because it’s important to see both her face and her body, as they are charming in their own separate ways. She has a good spirit, is playful, and only likes attention when she wants it, not the other way around. She’s a good kid and I love her!” —Megan
Lisa Fischer’s Patti Smith, a cat and a Sagittarius
“Patti is the best Jezebel pet because she, like her human namesake, is the most punk rock. She enjoys causing chaos by shedding everywhere and leaving her wet food on the floor so that she can watch The Man (my boyfriend and me) clean up after her. She does it all while looking extremely cute, so we forgive her. She knows whatever ranking she gets in this list is ultimately meaningless, since she answers to nobody.” —Lisa
To determine the ultimate and definitive ranking of our pets, I assigned points in reverse order—a top ranking would net a pet 10 points, a second place ranking would get nine points, etc. I did not anticipate that my niece (Little Esther) would throw a wrench in this process by lumping some animals together. It was also clear that, unfortunately for the cats, our judges were largely dog lovers.
“I love to dance; ballet is my favorite. My friends would describe me as kind. I love dogs, and I like cats.”
1. Hank - Cute and cute and cute and cute.
2. Prince - He is our cat cousin.
3. Rhett - I love his face!
4. Daisy - Beautiful name. Cute face.
5. Frankie - She has the nicest smile out of everyone.
6. Bukka - I like the design on his fur.
7. Truvy Bouvier Kennedy Onassis - She has pretty eyes.
8. Beak - Beak has a nice pattern of stripes.
9. Patti - The white fur looks like snow.
10. Jewel - Cute nose!
“I mostly came up with my rankings by first looking at the pet, then the description. I love when pets don’t act the way that they look like they would act, and I also love loyal pets. I also chose some of them for their cuteness, because honestly? All that those pets have to do is look at you and you’re basically sold. I’m generally more of a ‘dog’ person, but I do love black cats ’cause they’re cool.”
1. Jewel and Frankie
2. Patti Smith
3. Daisy, Prince, Rhett, and Truvy Bouvier Kennedy-Onassis
5. Bukka and Beak
“I came up with this rating because I don’t really like cats, because lots of people from my family are allergic. I’ve read through each one and like, I don’t like cats too much but when I read some of the cats’ ones, I changed my mind and realized cats weren’t that bad. I put dogs mainly for my one through six because I love dogs. Even though I don’t have one of my own, I also play with my mom’s sister’s dog whose name is Buster. I love him very much because he makes me laugh. Always dogs are my favorite. I definitely choose dogs over cats. For the past 13 years I’ve been alive, I loved dogs even though we didn’t have one. We will usually go to someone’s house, and if they have a dog, me and my brother will play with them, but mainly me, because my brother was scared of dogs mainly all of his life.”
10. Patti Smith
Thank you, children.