I own two dogs. If that isn't enough to prove that I know EVERYTHING when it comes to animal care, let me also reveal that I own TWO CATS! I AM THE MASTER OF MAMMALS!!!

I am the smartest man on the planet when it comes to pets. Those jerks on Animal Planet ain't got shit on me, because while they're out cleaning crocodiles' teeth with Windex, I'm sitting in my living room and doing real world stuff that actually matters, such as scooping up links of dog shit scattered like a long dotted line across the carpet, or using a canoe paddle to pry insane kittens off the drapes. Every time there's something wrong with our pets and my fiancee forces me at gunpoint to make a stop at the veterinarian's office, I confidently shake my head and say "oh, I already KNEW THAT" during every point in his diagnosis. I'm like the horse whisperer, except I only whisper to non-gay animals. Sometimes when I pet my dogs, their thoughts and emotions come rushing into my brain like a flood of psychic cola from the broken Taco Bell drink fountain of desires. "What's that?" I ask my female Golden Retriever as I learn her most heavily guarded secrets and desires. "You enjoy eating food? You would like to eat food? You would like to eat food THIS VERY MOMENT?!? COME ON GIRL, LET'S GO EAT FOOD!!!" Then I throw her outside because I know what's best for animals, and judging by all my past experiences, feeding dogs is just about the worst thing anybody can ever do because it just encourages them to keep on acting all annoying and hungry.

Since it would be selfish of me to hog all this valuable information and refuse to disseminate it amongst the fine and fantastic future criminals on the Internet, I have decided to write up a little guide to everything about pets, assuming the word "everything" means "three things." In today's column, I will cover the most common questions and misconceptions regarding pet ownership of both dogs and cats. You should take all the information here directly to heart since everything you are about to read is 100% factual, uncontestable, undeniable truth handed down by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If somebody claims my advice is "bad" or "stupid" or "will get you arrested and possibly killed," then you should cut off all ties with that individual and move into some kind of underground concrete fallout shelter. Don't bother taking any food or supplies with you, simply print out copies of this article and stare at them all day and night until you are haunted by visions of undead vampire babies. If your friends or family ask what you're doing, lurch towards them and shout "INTERNET!" before shielding your eyes and scurrying off into the darkness. Trust me, they'll understand.

QUESTION: My puppies are chewing up everything! How do I get them to stop?

The face of the enemy. Although he seems sleepy and peaceful enough here, behind that giant wall of skull lies a brain the size of a nickel, constantly barking out commands like "CHEW THIS WOOD" and "BARK AT NOTHING FOR SEVEN STRAIGHT DAYS!"

ANSWER: Unlike cats and, to a lesser degree shellfish, dogs are extremely rewarding animals to train. If you spend an ungodly amount of time reprimanding your dog when he does something bad, praising him when he does something good, and acting indifferent when his just kind of sits there and stares straight forward at absolutely nothing for nearly an hour, you will wind up with a very disciplined and controlled animal. This is very important because the average untrained dog will relieve himself all over your carpet, tear up all your personal belongings, and dig until he reaches the foundation of your house. Of course the average trained dog will still all do this as well, but the big difference is that he'll pretend to look all guilty and ashamed when you catch him in the act, and that will make you feel a lot better when you're screaming obscenities at him and piecing together remnants of your torn-apart AIDS quilt that your pet shredded to display his protest of Africa's failure to contain the outbreak.

Puppies chew on items for three primary reasons:

1) Their teeth are just growing in, so they are very tender and sore and commanding them via morse code to chew on everything you own.
2) The puppy is bored and, due to the lack of opposable thumbs, cannot entertain himself by playing Katamari Demacy.
3) Your pet hates you.

Polly, the female, is evil as well.

The average canine teething process begins when they are about four weeks old and lasts until they are about four weeks dead. There is absolutely no way to stop a determined dog from gnawing through clothing, wood, concrete, steel, alien alloys, rock, and any other non-electrified solid which isn't lined with spikes or tiny explosives. I own two Golden Retrievers named "Polly" and "Speedy" who still chew through my fence despite the fact that they are over a year old and have absolutely no rational reason whatsoever to eat mass quantities of wood. I can remember the first joyful moment I walked outside and discovered that my back deck had a large section of it missing, replaced by a giant wet divot festively decorated with teeth marks. Being a naive (and highly sexy) young pet owner, I said to myself, "boy! I should pour some of that sour apple training crap all over my deck and then maybe they won't chew it!" Folks, the sour apple spray won't slow down a determined dog. Training a dog to stop chewing by pouring sour apple on everything you own is like trying to knock a 747 jet plane out of the air by throwing toothpicks at it; you're not going to accomplish anything, but you'll look like a tremendous jackass in the process.

There really is no coherent way to prevent playful puppies from burrowing through your furniture and cabinets with their razor sharp Critter-esque teeth; all you can do is adopt a "distraction policy" to keep them from destroying things you truly love. Go to a garage sale and spend $20 on some beat up, crappy wooden chairs and table manufactured by slave labor robots in Mexico. Place this furniture in a location your pet frequently occupies, such as the kitchen or your wife's grave. Casually remark in a somewhat loud voice, "boy, I sure do hope nothing bad happens to this new furniture I just bought! I love this new furniture I just bought! I would hate for something to happen to this new furniture I just bought! Because I just bought it!" By the time you finish reciting the second sentence, the table and chairs will have already been halfway digested by your dog. Now just repeat this process for the next two years or so and you'll be set!

Some folks claim that you can buy these things from a pet store called "toys" which dogs conceivably chew on and tear apart, thereby distracting them from chewing on and tearing apart your son's leg. Whenever some brash young upstart suggests I purchase something like that, I can't help but laugh in their face. Everything in the world is a toy to your dogs; they see absolutely no difference between a rubber pink chewable ring and your new peg leg! Besides, dogs don't chew just for the sake of chewing, they do it for the emotional payoff of seeing you approach in the distance, squinting your eyes and asking, "what are you chewing on?" shortly before realizing a majority of the new stereo system you just purchased is passing through the digestive system of an animal who just finished dining on an all-you-can-eat buffet of his own feces. Dogs love that moment, the exact instant their deviant behavior penetrates your brain and causes you to adopt a look teetering between horror and fury. I dub this event the moment of "gnawareness," the transition from confusion and uncertainty to comprehension and anger after discovering your pet puppy has ingested a good majority of your new shoes. There really aren't too many ways to avoid experiencing gnawareness, except perhaps sealing your puppy in a layer of carbonite for several years like Han Solo, who later went on to have his wife killed by a one-armed man, so the benefit here is fairly debatable.

SPECIAL BONUS PRESENT: Check out this seven-meg video of my cats wrestling with each other as the theme song from Streets of Rage plays in the background. If you've ever wondered what kind of conditions I have to put up with every day, well, here's your answer, ladies.

Kit, otherwise known as "the defendant."

QUESTION: My cats are being mean to me and my baby! What the hell is wrong with them?

ANSWER: Cats are like the cold, emotionless computers that powered SkyNet in the "Terminator" series of movies, only they aren't quite as efficient in the field of "human killing." Yet. Most people who own cats do so because they are much more low maintenance than dogs, and for the most part, this is true. Cats do not need to be walked. Cats do not need to be pet. Cats don't even need to go outside unless maybe your house is on fire and you need something soft to land on when jumping from the second-floor window.

Unfortunately, cats still possess a limited set of feelings including the very potent emotion dubbed "utter contempt for you." Scientists are working around the clock to genetically engineer a feline lacking this, the evil part of their brain, and once research is complete they will begin selling this animal from respectable alleyways across the globe. If you want to purchase one in advance, simply do an eBay search for "STUFFED / MOUNTED CAT." If you want to find the high-end model, then add the keyword "L@@K!!!!!" to your search as well. Even though felines hate us and wouldn't flinch if all humanity was spontaneously wiped out by the top secret missiles they are personally developing, they still expect their owners to display futile attempts of affection towards them. There is an unwritten rule among cats dictating the following:

1) Under no circumstances should you seek affection,
2) But you should always get angry when you don't receive it.

Cat, otherwise known as "the plaintiff," getting ready to square off with his arch-nemesis.

Cats offer the same emotional rewards as adopting a toaster, except toasters occasionally do what you ask them to do. Despite the fact that you'll provoke absolutely no emotional response from a cat, they still expect you to perform your civic duty and attempt to make them happy, even though the only way that could possibly happen is if you had a stroke and died right in front of them, shortly before your chest explodes and showers the room with fresh roasted chicken. When you fail to fail to pet your cat, they often get angry and hold a grudge against you. Fortunately, it's nearly impossible to differentiate between a normal cat and a cat with a grudge against you, so it doesn't really matter all that much in the long run. I own two cats, named "Cat" and "Kit," and the only way I can tell if they want to kill me at the moment is by seeing if they are awake or not.

One of the easiest ways to piss off a cat is to bring a new baby into your household, either through childbirth or through kidnapping. The cat will feel jealous and angry that his territory (the entire world) has been violated by some fat little newcomer. He will take out these hostile emotions on both you and the baby, sometimes refusing to speak to any of you for days at a time. While you, as a grown adult, have the ability to defend yourself from your jealous pets, your dumb, fat, retarded baby probably doesn't unless he was born with a handgun of some type. Make sure your baby and his crib are safe from your cat's righteous fury, possibly by lining his crib with barbed wire and hiring armed security guards to erect manned guntowers around his room. Behead neighborhood cats and impale their bloody, rotting skulls on pikes outside the door, accompanied by signs that say "YOU'RE NEXT." Your cat will eventually get over his anger and begin acting friendly when your baby is old enough to legally drink.

QUESTION: I own a dog / cat and I want to buy a cat / dog. How do I make these two different species of animal get together?

ANSWER: Although cats and dogs have been unfairly portrayed by various cartoons as being mortal enemies hellbent on destroying one another, reality couldn't be further from the truth. Actually I have no idea what the second part of that sentence means, I spent about 20 minutes just sitting here and trying to remember what the correct colloquialism was, but I came up absolutely nothing. I offer my sincere condolences to any unfortunate reader out there who was expecting me to both write and make sense at the same time. My point is that cats and dogs can get along perfectly fine as long as you go out of your way to create a loving and comfortable environment which promotes friendship, like a room full of fluffy pillows and ice cream sundays and blowjobs. Here are a few dos and do nots to consider when integrating pets from two different species:

DO:
DO NOT:
Encourage friendly behavior by giving your pets treats together and rewarding them for staying in the same room without removing each others throats. Throw fireworks and broken glass into the room while spraying mace into their eyes.
Introduce pets to each other at the earliest age possible. Like if you find a pregnant cat and you plan on adopting one of her kittens, take your dog's head and shove it up her vagina so he can see his future friend. Just don't let him eat anything inside there because chances are it's pretty dirty. Wait until your dog is sleeping and then throw the new kitten onto his head while shrieking "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!" If you absolutely have to throw a kitten on his head, at least cover it with lubrication first, so it will harmlessly slide off.
Adopt friendly, non-territorial breeds which will not try to constantly fight for dominance with each other. Have sex with your cousin at a funeral. Boy was that a bad idea; he didn't speak to me for like two months after that.

If you are so ignorant to mistakenly believe I don't know what I'm talking about, let me present to you some irrefutable evidence that will hold up in every court of law this side of the Pecos, as well as the other side of the Pecos, and any other Pecos sides that might've accidentally slipped off my mind today. Download this wonderful 7-meg video of my cats expressing their eternal love and admiration towards one another in a way so beautiful, so majestic, that only my cats could do.


DOWNLOAD NOW (requires Window Media Player 10)!

I hope today's column has answered some of the most common questions for all you pet owners and future pet owners out there. In the rare chance that it didn't, please feel free to buy my 200-page instructional guide to owning pets which I plan on releasing around Christmas of next year, entitled "OH GOD MY FACE, MY FACE, HOW DO YOU REMOVE THESE BLOODY TALONS FROM MY FACE?" My veterinarian is lobbying Congress to prevent me from publishing it, but that's alright because I knew he was going to do it.

– Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka (@lowtax)

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