Novel Completion Queries, Day Three

Is the novel finished? NO

Today’s question: Assuming the ethical considerations could somehow be squared away, would you want a monkey for a pet? That’s a monkey, not an ape (don’t have apes as pets. It’s a bad idea.)

My answer: Having a questionably domesticated animal with opposable thumbs in one’s house seems fraught with complication, especially when you’re lazy, like me.

Your thoughts?

82 thoughts on “Novel Completion Queries, Day Three

  1. I don’t even have the energy to out-think ferrets, much less monkeys… besides, Outbreak, and all that… (I know, that was fictitious, but the possibilities are there, is all I’m saying)

  2. When I think about how much damage my children can do to my house in less than an hour, a pet monkey seems like a very, very bad idea. Lol.

  3. Speaking as a monkey, it’s kind of ok to live with a human as long as the horse doesn’t poop in the house, and there’s soda in the soda tree.

  4. Any animal who could respond in the negative by flinging its own feces just sounds like a bad idea. Dogs and cats can poop somewhere to show their displeasure, but it usually stays in one spot.

    Having worked for a company where an employee showed their displeasure in painting the bathroom walls with the stuff, yeah I don’t want a pet that can do the same.

  5. No blippin’ way.

    I’ve raised kids, and the most glorious thing about that whole process is the fact that they grow up, move out and function on their own. Voluntarily have a non-verbal furry poop-flinging kid who’ll never, ever grow up?? I am not that crazy, nor am I that much of a glutton for punishment.

  6. Nnnnnooooo-ho-hooo. I have two kids. Having a third primate in the house — one stupider than the other two, stronger, more agile, and incapable of speech? No way.

  7. I have three children under the age of 6. This is relevant for 2 reasons:

    1. There is already plenty of chaos in my house, but I’m working under the assumption that all 3 will eventually be fully verbal and learn a modicum of self-control.

    2. They all *love* watching Curious George on Netflix. That show has convinced me that having a monkey is a terrible idea if you don’t live in a reality where everything just happens to work out okay. Consequences to owning a monkey may include: flooding your dwelling place when the monkey tries to be a plumber, monkey getting sprayed by a skunk multiple times and then accidentally introducing said skunk into your apartment building, monkey operating heavy machinery at the dump in an effort to retrieve your signature hat, monkey filling your apartment with interesting garbage from the street, etc.

    No monkeys.

  8. I would enjoy having a friend with a monkey, on the same principle as spoiling your friend’s kids: you get to play with them and leave the fallout to someone else.

  9. There is an Ape called Koko who has been taught sign language. You can see videos of her on the web. She even has her own pet kittens.

    I would like a genetically engineered monkey that I can teach to code. Then Ill work from home. Let him work for me pay him in bananas and peanuts, and play video games all day.

    Either that or a one genetically engineered to write science fiction books so I don’t have to be beholden to authors any more. Ill show them PETA videos of medical experiments and tell them they better be good. I could also show them the 2nd Indiana Jones movie where they eat monkey brains.

  10. “My answer: Having a questionably domesticated animal with opposable thumbs in one’s house seems fraught with complication, especially when you’re lazy, like me.”

    the monkey said the same thing

  11. My daughter has significant developmental delays and the potential for seizures associated with FOXG1 Syndrome. I’ve given serious thought to the possibility of a well trained monkey as a service animal to help her with things like retrieving dropped objects and alerting us to possible seizure activity. The problem is the “well trained” part.

  12. No, no, 1000x no. Cute, but the combo of intelligence, mischievousness, and mobility would probably be way too much trouble in short order. Corgi-wrangling is tough enough.

  13. I can barely handle dogs. No monkeys.

    If you want an ape, just adopt/have/borrow a kid. They’re about the same thing, right?

  14. Don’t have to worry about the ethics of it – here in Australia it’s a very straightforward issue of legality. Monkeys aren’t legal pets here (The House of the Mouse had to argue hard to get the Capuchin monkeys which are out here for filming Pirates of the Caribbean whatever-number-they’re-up-to past customs, and they’re only allowed into the country under some very strict conditions indeed).

    Even were they legal, our lease doesn’t include a pet bond. Even if it did, I still wouldn’t want a pet which can cause more mess in the house than myself and my partner combined, especially since I’m the housekeeper.

  15. Now if the monkey could wrangle the dogs for me… or do the laundry… But no. I can’t even train my kids to do either of those things.

  16. I lived with a couple roommates many, many moons ago who had a pet monkey. “Fraught with complication,” indeed. Cats get a (perhaps well-deserved) reputation for being adorable sociopaths. They got nothin’ on monkeys.

  17. I refer you to the ultimate authority – the Barenaked Ladies (‘haven’t you always wanted a mon-KEY?’)

  18. The phrases “current dog”, “brain the size of a lemon”, “chase instinct”, and “optimal prey size” come to mind.

    Oh, one more phrase from someone at an animal sanctuary talking about a squirrel monkey. “Their bite is like a stapler – not the regular kind, but the electric kind that can go through an inch of paper.”

    I’ll pass.

  19. You could have an animal with opposable thumbs and questionable domesticity for a much lower cost if you just got a possum.

  20. Having a questionably domesticated animal with opposable thumbs in one’s house seems fraught with complication

    I donno, how has it worked out for your wife?

    Sorry, hard to resist a straight line like that.

  21. Nope, no thank you. Two cats create enough chaos without adding something that can easily climb anywhere in the house, has that opposable thumb that increases the amount of trouble it could get into, and so on. N-O no.

  22. Ummm…I have a tough enough time with a high-maintenance dog. Gonna go with no on this one. Cats who take care of themselves save for food, water and a clean box are more up my alley.

  23. No non-human primates in the house. I’d maybe consider it for an outdoor pet if I lived somewhere warmer, though I’d prefer a lemur. Red-ruffed lemur if I didn’t have neighbors to annoy within a couple miles, they’re freaking adorable and pretty friendly if they’re accustomed to people.

  24. I talked with someone who was a sort of foster parent for a Capuchin monkey. The monkey would eventually be used as a service animal for a quadriplegic man or woman (and would supposedly be able to do some pretty amazing things) and he was part of the process, teaching it to be a good monkey citizen. He said that monkeys were *lousy* pets. Cats and dogs can hang out on their own for hours a day, but monkey will go crazy if that happens. Literally crazy. The term “ape shit” could not be more appropriate. He and his wife were retired and could interact with the little guy all day, so that was okay. He also said that whatever he wanted to do, wherever he wanted to go, any time, anywhere, he had guaranteed company. The monkey *loved* being with him and meeting new people and was just fun to be around.

    But “pet”? No. Terrible as a “pet”.

  25. Too smart, too high maintenance, too many social needs, and therefore too much work. Also, I’ve seen what a raccoon can do to a kitchen; a monkey would be a whole new level of mess.

  26. Monkeys as pets? Nope. Nope. Nope. As alluded to by AlanM, monkeys are juuuuust smart enough to get bored really quickly. A bored monkey is bad news. Monkeys are wild critters, not pets by a long shot. And have some rather…socially questionable…habits.

  27. As someone who owns two parrots I can’t imagine a monkey (especially something like a capuchin) would be that much more difficult of a pet.

  28. True story. When my wife was in elementary school, her classroom had a monkey, apparently. Her family was chosen to take it home over Christmas break. She said it was a horrible experience. Even in a cage (or maybe because of it, who knows, it was either late 1960s or early 1970s), it was an evil-tempered beast that flung its poop and food at everyone and shrieked and hissed and spat.

  29. I can just about, on a VERY good day, outthink our smart cat. Fortunately, she’s the tiny elderly dictator if the house, so her demands are moderate. Fortunately, the 23 lb bruiser of a 3 year old cat is as dumb as a bag of wet hair, so I can mostly handle him.

    Something smart, capable of extensive learning, and with opposable thumbs? No thanks!

  30. My wife used to work with a fellow who’s mother had a pet monkey. She would dress it in baby clothes and a diaper, and take it with her whenever she went. At one point, she was pulled over for speeding. The cop walked up, saw 4 bickering kids and a money in baby clothes, said “Lady, you’ve got enough trouble” and walked away.

    I take this a proof that a pet monkey can’t be all bad.

  31. Could I rent a monkey for a while? It would be the perfect way to convince the kids to move out.

  32. Hmmm…..

    “one genetically engineered to write science fiction books”
    +
    “used as a service animal for a quadriplegic man or woman”
    = ?

    Haden’s syndrome comes to mind — we’ve all seen @scalzi’s selfies.

  33. Pooh flinging? Opposable thumbs?

    Nope, nope, nope, nopity-nope. Just no.

    I do know someone who had a pet orangutan as a child in Singapore. They kept it chained up in the backyard, but they had to donate it to the zoo when Singapore outlawed keeping them as pets, probably much to the relief of the orangutan.

  34. The only scenario I can imagine that feels appropriate is having a house surrounded by a natural habitat the monkey can move to and from when it wants. Like what happens with birds or squirrels sometimes, a wild animal that grows accustomed to humans and visits or stays by choice. Not knowing a ton about monkeys as pets, what I have heard suggests that they need a very complex environment and a lot of care and attention (and training on the owner’s part) to do well in it. Basically, if your life doesn’t revolve around caring for/studying monkeys, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.

    Personally, no way. Lower maintenance pets like dogs and cats, with millenia of domestication bred into them, easily trump the novelty value of something like a monkey.

  35. Did you, prior to declaring your intent to Go Off and Write for the rest of the month, type up an assortment of random discussion topics and set them on auto-distribute? I do note they are the kind that probably won’t require much moderation. It’s the only way I can conceive of staying on writing target.

    BTW: monkey as pet? Hell to the NO.

  36. Not a chance, but then I wouldn’t want any terrestrial animal as a pet. I’ve kept fish from time to time and they’re sort of nice, but I haven’t even had them for about 25 years, give or take.

  37. Nah, I’m all about the four-legged friends…cats, dogs, horses, Hippoi Kabeirikoi :-)

    I deeply question the underlying wisdom of adopting pets that are either not domesticated or whose wild habitat can’t be recreated inside the human home (fishies, for example). Probably many of the folks who adopt chimps are well-meaning (RadioLab did segment on their special ilk of well-intentioned fool a while back), but good intentions only go so far. I suppose that falls under ethical considerations – and your query supposes them being ironed out – but I suspect those ethical quandaries arise from the very nature of the beasts in question, so I’m not sure a question that divorces the two aspects really makes any sense.

    Maybe I’m over thinking it. Would my wife or I want to deal with the logistics of caring for a wild animal? I wouldn’t. I can’t speak for her, but I doubt she’d feel differently. We had enough of an adventure acclimating my two cats and her (fortunately very well-behaved) dog to each other when we merged our own domestic habitats!

  38. No way. For all the reasons everyone’s already given and this little tidbit of horror:

    If a monkey is infected with HSV2 (monkey herpes) and bites you and you get it? 50% chance of survival. In a hospital. And herpes is pretty darn infectious.

    So, not just no but heeellll no!

  39. I took care of 15 Capuchin monkeys one year. Grrr. They have terrible table manners. Absolutely terrible. So even without the ability to get into everything, the sharp claws, the long pointy fangs and the throwing poop, I think I will pass.

  40. If I could get 1,000 monkeys equipped with 1,000 typewriters I might consider it only for the works of Shakespeare that may result.

  41. I am shocked that no one so far mentioned the relevant point that if you had enough monkeys, they would finish your novel.

  42. I have twelve cats. The only pets we are even remotely considering adding to our household are jellyfish.

  43. Poo flinging? Biting? Opposable thumbs? Ability to climb and operate things?

    Hell no. Cats are hard enough. If they could do damage with a small bite, climb around and get into everything? Shudder. Plus, poo distribution, even if not flung. Or diapers. It’s like having a viciously strong angry non-communicative toddler forever.

    Really, the earlier suggestion of an opossum is better — at least possums sleep a lot.

  44. While I wouldn’t want one as a pet, my younger brother had a classmate who had a trained helper monkey for a summer, and whose family then went on to train helper monkeys for several years. That would be neat.

  45. Nope. A family friend from way back when had a menagerie including a couple of rescued monkeys. They were all vicious little bastards. For further proof see the Dirty Jobs episode Monkey Care Taker. Anything that scares Mike can’t be good.

  46. I would recommend instead, collaring a Fox talk show host or one of their ilk. All the vicousness and stupidity but less guilt for you when you have to taser them for throwing shit around.

    Bad joke aside, it is not ethical nor is it safe to keep wild creatures nor is it proper to cage or restrain a self aware being unless there is no other option for protecting them.

    so, yea, no.

  47. Absent a mated pair and a large dedicated room/cage, absolutely not. Anything else would be, to put it bluntly, Cruelty. Monkeys deserve to live in large communities, in the wild.

  48. I hate monkeys. That said, I can’t see keeping a wild animal in a cage (and you’d have to keep a monkey caged.) There are a million cats and dogs needing homes, they don’t need cages.

  49. No way, no how, even if it was legal in Israel(only legal pets here are domesticated animals). The two semi-adult cats we have make enough of a mess. adding anything that can open cupboards and climb even better than them is invitation for disaster.

  50. I have a 7 year old female ape in the 2nd grade and we’re still trying to tame my 5 year old male ape but he’s in kindergarten. Yes, one with little energy need not take one on. They jump and play 15-17 hours a day and require lots of space to run.

  51. Didn’t Ross in Friends have a monkey at one point? He had to give it to the Zoo eventually

  52. Hell no I wouldn’t want a Monkey. They smell and there’s nowhere you could put things that they couldn’t get to them. Also they have been known to throw their own poo at people.

  53. Goodness no. I’m thinking of how destructive an intelligent dog can be when it’s owned by someone who doesn’t have enough time or energy to provide it with appropriate stimulation. Now I’m imagining how much worse it would be with an even smarter animal with much more complex social needs and hands that can open cabinets. Yeah, I think I’ll stick with my cats, who may or may not be intelligent, but who are perfectly happy to sleep while I’m gone all day.

  54. Nope. Board the NopeTrain to NopeVille.

    Monkeys can be unbelievably violent and aggressive with very little warning. They tend to do things like bite all your fingers off and rip your eyeballs out (or your throat) if they feel threatened. Or if they’re just having a bad day. I’ve read the horror stories about them.

    No way. Not ever. I would never even get to the ethical considerations, because I wouldn’t feel safe having one in the house.

  55. Okay, I learned something today. I had always thought monkeys did NOT have opposable thumbs. (I think I may even have been taught that only hominids do.) Turns out Old World monkeys do.

  56. No, I’d rather not have a monkey as a pet. I prefer dogs, but cats works too. Cats may do as they please but most of the time they don’t mess up except for shedding. And I prefer smart dogs like Border Collies.

  57. No monkeys for me, thanks.

    Though if I could have a family of fuzzies stop by for a friendly visit, that’d be just fine by me. (This thought probably occurred thanks to reading Fuzzy Nation over lunch today.)

  58. If they weren’t endangered and if I was rich enough to build a habitat the size of a house for them, then: golden lion tamarins! A family of.

  59. Not gonna be a funny comment, if you are looking for funny, move along:
    Monkeys are a terrible idea for pets. They are extremely high-maintenance and it is nearly impossible for most people to meet their needs for mental stimulation, space, and physical activity in a safe manner. Keeping monkeys as pets is bad for monkeys.
    Monkeys are a terrible idea for pets. ALL MONKEYS WILL BITE. If the monkey hasn’t bitten you yet, it will later. Biting is just a thing monkeys do, like dogs lick things and pigs root and cows chew cud. It is normal interactive behavior and cannot be reliably trained out. Bites hurt, can cause amazing permanent damage and scars, and are extremely prone to infection because there’s very little better place to grow bacteria than a mouth. Keeping monkeys as pets is bad for humans.
    Monkeys that bite humans get euthanized because that’s what happens to pets that bite people. Keeping monkeys as pets is bad for monkeys.
    Almost all macaques carry a virus called Herpes simian B virus, which can also infect pretty much any other primate, so even non-macaques (especially those housed or transported into the pet trade alongside macaques) may be carrying it. In monkeys, it causes very little issue – about like cold sores in humans. In humans, it causes permanent neurologic damage and death. The monkey does not have to bite you to transmit it. It can be spread by skin contact, so just handling the monkey or cleaning the enclosure. Keeping monkeys as pets is bad for humans.
    Keeping monkeys for pets is also illegal in many areas, which means that you can go to jail and the monkey can be confiscated and euthanized or sent to a rescue if you are caught. Keeping monkeys as pets is bad for humans and monkeys.
    Subset of being illegal – the vast majority of veterinarians will not see monkeys, because they know it is illegal to have them and they may be legally liable if they don’t report you. Most also have little if any experience in treating monkeys, and will often not be comfortable treating them because of this lack of knowledge and the above-mentioned risks of biting and zoonotic disease. So if your monkey is injured or sick, you cannot get medical care for it. Keeping monkeys as pets is bad for monkeys.
    /rant

    tl;dr: Keeping monkeys as pets is a VERY BAD idea for both monkeys and humans and there is no bloody way you’d convince me to have one. I say this as an animal lover and practicing veterinarian.

  60. I was about to say, “hell yes, sign me up for an adorably smart monkey and while you’re at it get me a domesticated crow, too,” until I read your ape link — which knocked that impulse right out of me. Also, you shouldn’t read sad and starkly realistic animal abuse articles while trying to enjoy your salted caramel and cheese.

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