The Zombie Pet Epidemic
I'm here today to warn you of a certain epidemic which is spreading across Neopia. It takes place right under your nose. In fact, you may have witnessed signs of this epidemic spreading to your own pets without your knowledge. I like to call this particular problem we're facing today “zombification.” Fun word, no?
Now you may be saying, “Whisper, that word is great, but what does it mean?”
I'll tell you what it means; it means your pets will slowly turn into zombies. This is a relatively rare process which occurs in several species of pets including Cybunnies, Aishas, Buzzes, Usuls, Flotsams, Peophins, Meercas, and Shoryus. While zombification usually spreads through the Neopian population at a very slow rate (think about the speed of a slorg sliming its way to the top of Terror Mountain), the fall season seems to have accelerated the spread of the zombie virus. With the start of school, all our precious pets spend long hours in close contact with others, spreading germs and viruses. If that weren't enough, the fall brings us cold, long nights, which are just perfect for zombies.
Now you may be asking yourself, “Well, what is so bad about zombies?”
Zombies, if you didn't know, eat brains. And your other pets (though they may not be using them) have brains. If you turn a blind eye to the zombie epidemic out there, you may fail to see it in your own pet until it is too late. Imagine yourself trying desperately to pull an undead pet who can feel neither fear no pain off of your screaming, sobbing, confused pet. Doesn't sound fun, does it? Didn't think so.
Which brings us to our next point, how the zombie virus spreads in the first place and how to avoid it. The zombie virus which leads to zombification is spread in many ways, the most common of which include bites and scratches from an infected individual. It's tempting to hear this and relax, slumping back in your chair. After all, the majority of people haven't had a raging zombie attack them. You're not safe, though! There are another easily overlooked way in which this epidemic can spread. Drooling.
Every pet drools, some more than others. But zombies are a whole different story. They drool a LOT. Worse then a Lupe at a Chia convention. I bet one healthy zombie could completely fill the Rainbow Pool with drool at least 3 times daily. Because of this, it's very easy for a zombie to drool on you, perhaps even without you knowing. Since zombie drool looks the same as normal pet drool and the virus is able to live in it up to 24 hours, you may come into contact with zombie drool without even knowing it. If that zombie drool gets in your mouth, eyes, ears, an open cut, under a toenail, anywhere it can get into your blood stream basically, you are infected. The best way to avoid unwanted drool contact is to not touch gross, drool covered things. If you can't manage that, carrying around a towel might help you. Simply wipe up any mess you get on you or your pets before it can do any damage. Shower regularly and wash your hands before meals. A little bit of simple hygiene can go a long way in keeping you and your loved ones from becoming the undead.
So how do you tell if your pet has been infected by the sinister saliva of a zombie? The first warning signs are pretty insignificant. First, your pet will become increasingly lethargic, sleeping in until well past noon on the weekends. Their grades will begin to slip and their teachers will start complaining they are falling asleep in classes. You may want to write this off as no big deal, but that would be a huge mistake on your part. Depending on how severe the case of zombification, this may be the only warning sign you will get! One night you will be tucking your tired pet in for pet and the next night you will be struggling to deal with an undead monster.
Luckily for the average Neopian, zombification is usually less severe so you may have time to notice the warning signs that follow sleepiness. These include pale skin, a craving for raw meat, a tendency to stare without blinking at one object for hours on end, drooling, head lolling, and moaning in their sleep. If you see any of these things, watch out, your pet has most likely caught the zombie virus!
Now I know your first reaction is to jump up and down, screaming, “Whisper, Whisper, my pet has all of those symptoms, what do I do now?” You may be frantically searching the Neopian Hospital for the cure and posting like a maniac on the Help Board. I will break this to you as gently as I can. There is no cure. No scrambled eggs and herbs, no injection, no magical socks. Nothing. Stop screaming and asking what you're supposed to do now; I'm about to tell you.
Zombie proofing your Neohome should be your first priority. As long as you have a safe environment for both you and your pets (including your soon-to-be zombie) the rest is rather easy. First, remove all sharp objects from your home to discourage your pets from playing zombie hunt. While it may be a fun game, it certainly isn't appropriate with a zombie in the house. Next, stock up on tin foil hats. This useful wearable runs for about 2,000 neopoints and is a cheap, easy to way to discourage your zombie pet from trying to eat the brains of your other pets. After all, no one likes chewing on tinfoil! Lastly, if you don't live in the Haunted Woods, you will need to create a place for your new zombie to sleep. Zombies can't tolerate long exposure to sun, so they will need a room with heavy shades, preferably damp and dirty. Think dungeon or crypt. Preferably with a large lock so you can keep them indoors and away from other vulnerable pets. While these precautions may not be fashionable, you won't regret them.
The last thing you can do to prepare for your pet's complete zombification is to stock up on food. Not only does this keep you and your pets safe, it also keeps your zombie happy. A quick shopping trip in the Haunted Woods should take care of all your zombie needs. And by zombie needs, I mean brains. What else do you think zombies eat? Some traditional zombie favorites include brain kebabs, brain muffins, brain hot dogs, and brain ice cream. If you are feeling a bit squeamish come dinner time, you can try mixing up the classic “brain foods” a zombie enjoys with other foods. I suggest trying spaghetti and brains or brain and dumplings. While your pet may not appreciate the additions, it will help disguise the brain matter and may help return your appetite. Beyond that, you're on your own. Each pet is different and zombification doesn't change that. Try talking with your pet and getting a feel for their individual needs.
Finally we get to prevention. As a new zombie owner, you are responsible for your zombie. While some owners aren't responsible (obviously, or your pet wouldn't be a zombie in the first place) you can change that. Whether they like it or not, giving your zombie a bath is important for curbing the virus as a zombie with residual drool on them can be extremely dangerous in crowded areas. Even more so than normal. Keep your zombie in your home during night hours. If you must leave the house, try putting them on a leash or keeping bits of brain handy to tempt them back to you if they start running off. Be sure to wipe up their drool as well, especially if they have to use a drinking fountain! A handy towel can come in handy here, as well; just be sure you wash your towel often or it will be worse than your pet for spreading zombification. If you have guests over, warn them about your little undead darling before they contaminate themselves out of ignorance. You may also want to consider home schooling your pet as school can be the worst breeding ground for viruses.
Armed with this information, you should not be ready to go out and face the zombie epidemic with knowledge and caution. Remember, be safe and protect your family from zombies. Failing that, know how to control the situation and keep your pet from harming others. If every person is safe and responsible, we should see a decline in the number of zombification cases in no time.