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Top five London pet owners

Tristan Parker

© Nathan James

1. The overfeeder

Dear Mrs Mandeville-Dewitt of Primrose Hill, feeding your unwitting moggy, Tabitha, venison fillets, tiramisu, foie gras and other leftovers from your weekly Harrods Food Hall shop isn't, in fact, harmless. Especially when combined with countless tins of that delightfully expensive cat food with lobster shards that she loves. You see, cats find purchasing a gym membership quite tricky, which is why Tabitha now resembles a disgruntled, furry Henry VIII during his gout years. The RSPCA will hear about this.

2. The doter

Pets need care and attention. What they don't need is the sort of affection you would show your newborn child or – even worse – your partner. Telltale signs include buying a pet any item of clothing, or carrying it in a handbag, rucksack or bike basket – because doggie's ickle feet weren't made for walking, obviously. And watch out for the doter's behaviour climaxing in a crescendo of cringe when they create a Facebook page for their beloved beast. A fucking Facebook page.

© Nathan James

3. The breed bore

Apparently, a Finnish spitz isn't some new cocktail, it's actually a breed of dog. You learn this when some guy at a house party on Balls Pond Road spends an hour telling you how he's saving up for one. Then he harps on about gun dog breeds and why the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever has such a feathery coat and muscular frame. He's not impressed when you drunkenly claim that Snoopy could 'totally kick its ass'. Here's an idea: maybe do something positive and re-home a dog from an animal shelter instead of trying to win at dog top trumps, you twit.

4. The quirky-pet-buyer

Oh, you've spent two months' wages ethically importing a lesser-spotted, glow-in-the-dark duck-billed platypus from Tasmania, just so you can be Wacky Pet Guy at that house party on Balls Pond Road next weekend? That's awesome. National Geographic will surely be calling you up about a 'platypus and pal' profile piece any day now, or maybe you'll get to take it to a frat party and play beer pong with it, you total bloody ledge! But actually, bro, the joke's on you, because they're venomous. Good luck!

© Nathan James

5. The dog-exerciser

Either go for a run/cycle alone or take your dog for a walk. Do not combine the two, as it significantly lessens the value of both useful activities. And do you know how much bloody room you take up, wobbling along on your bike with your long-suffering mutt on a lead, trying to navigate Regent's Park every Sunday? All the room, that's how much.

By Tristan Parker, who would actually love to own a dayglo platypus, if anyone's offering.

Illustrations: Nathan James Page

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