- MacGuffin: Joel's "fate" took the form of a stopwatch that dropped in on King from Heaven when Pete tried to steal and meddle with it. It evolved into a...
- Magnetic Plot Device: In the "Heaven's Not Enough" mega-story, the stopwatch ran out of power, and King became Joel. After his visit with Bahamut in Part 2, he was able to remain King back on Earth in Part 3 so long as he had possession of the stopwatch. At the end, Kitsune gave him a choice of whether to live as Joel or King. Those lives were represented by Tarot's lantern, and the stopwatch, respectively. He chose the stopwatch, and permanently became King.Joel Robinson: You do a nice job making a simple choice complicated.note
Great Kitsune: Sorry, that's kind of my thing~
- Mama Bear: This exchange between Bailey and Gale:Bailey: (having grabbed Gale by the throat) Touch my pups and you'll be wearing your digestive tract like a Mardis Gras necklace!
- Marshmallow Dream: Inverted by Tiger:Tiger: Okay so funny story, I had a dream I was eating my pillow
- The Matchmaker: If Pete is to be believed, Dragon is responsible for Grape/Maxwell, Peanut/Tarot, and Fido/Sabrina. Here's the thing. She only hooked them up as part of her gambit to screw over Pete in their game of Universes and Unrealities, though all three couples don't seem any less happy for it.
- Meaningful Name: Brown dog and purple cat? Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly.
- The mouse, often known to squick people out, is named Squeak.
- Milking the Giant Cow: Although it's happened at least once before with Bino, it's coming up a lot more frequently with the late-2012 art shift. Fox, Fido and Maxwell have all done it thus far.
- Miserable Massage: During "The Four Animals you Meet in Heaven" arc, Keene visits a weasel massage parlor where they cartoonishly stretch him out, twist him up and release, then flatten him with a rolling pin. Oddly he seems to enjoy it.
- Mistaken for Pregnant:
- Bailey expressing a desire for a cherry and pickle milkshake prompts a brief freakout from King, it turns out to be something she acquired a taste for as a pup though.
- King suggests Grape is pregnant after Max points out that Grape ate alot of ice cream during a play. Max, after trying to assure King that he would know if she was - asks anyway. He gets floored shortly afterwards, to his relief.
- Mood Whiplash: For one comic Rick decides to be not funny.
- Mouse World: Mentioned by name in the alt-text of this comic.
- MST3K Mantra: Invoked when Marion asks about Kitsune during the investigation of the transformation matter:Breel: So good to see you! You should really come over more often!
Great Kitsune: Oh I would, but you know how things are, when you have an infinite amount of time, the office expects an infinite amount of work put in
Marion: But if you have infinite time—
Keene: Don't, it's easier to just pretend it makes sense.
- Mundane Fantastic: Talking animals and telepathic dolphins. It also doesn't take much for people to believe in other Psychic Powers. Lampshaded within a guest comic in which Peanut decided to drew a comic starring them, only to dismiss the idea as being "too mundane" after saying the hijinks they've been through out loud.
- Mundane Made Awesome: The comic "Sweet Deal" advertises ordinary sugar as if it's a new fad, the joke being that the sugar rush one gets from eating it too much is "super awesome".
- Musical Episode:
- My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Played strictly for laughs when female characters act out toward crushes:
- Sasha begs to have Fido's puppies when he returns from K-9 school.
- Grape writes a fan letter to one of the actors who played in an adaptation of Pridelands, and begs to have his kittens.
- When Jata arrives in Babylon Gardens, all the female cats mob him, initially believing him to be an actor from Pridelands. At least one instance in the resulting Wall of Text is "I WANT YOUR", but cuts off on the edge of the panel. Probably not difficult to guess where that's going.
- Played With in the arc "Be Mine", with an awkward misunderstanding between King and Sasha.King: Okay, Sasha, for anything else we need to find a comfortable middle. You know I'm a married dog!
Sasha: Of course, Silly!
King: Good! Keeping that in mind, what else can I do for you?
Sasha: I want your puppies!
King: (face turns red) WHAT?! (faints)
Sasha: (picking up Rook) Your puppies are so cute! I could just take them with me! EEEE!
- My Girl Is a Slut: Sasha has always been laissez-faire with relationships, throwing herself on other dogs frequently. Especially Fido when she was Bino's girlfriend. But at least Kevin seems aware of her promiscuous nature, and doesn't mind as long as the other guy doesn't get any ideas of something more. That seems to be how Sasha approaches it as well: snuggling with others is okay, but Kevin is her boyfriend. Perfect example: they seemed perfectly okay with Sasha smooching Fox until Fox revealed he had a crush on her:Fox: Okay, you know what? It's been really hard not to just say something, and I'm tired of bottling it up! I wanna date Sasha and I have for eons!
Kevin: Woah, hey, wait, I thought you were just kissing her.
Sasha: Yeah, me too! That sounds like commitment!
- Naked People Are Funny:
- Averted within the strips themselves. While housepets are naked all the time, the fact is only occasionally pointed out, such as when Grape couldn't believe that Peanut didn't know she's a girl, or "The Arc Specifically About Being Naked" (aka losing one's collar).
- Played straight within the Alt Text in which the mention of the animals technically being naked (save for their collars) is a Running Gag.
- Invoked when Great Kitsune visits the Gardens during Keene's spa day:King: You dont have to draw attention to the naked part
Great Kitsune: Oh, this place is so silly. Youre walking around naked all the time and suddenly it gets a little awkward just cause someone can see your neck
- Narrative Profanity Filter: In this strip, Tarot is asked why King wasn't along for their adventure in the Housepets 5000 BC storyline. She replies with a comment that his emphatically negative response to being invited to join the adventuring group ended with "a crescendo of creative profanities."
- Near-Death Experience: In "The Four Animals you Meet in Heaven" Keene finds himself in Heaven with no explanation given. Then just when he's accepted being dead he wakes up half-drowned.
- Never Say "Die": Parodied here by the dog on Uncle Reuben's farm, using all sorts of euphemisms for dying in their literal, non-euphemism sense.
- Another Lampshade Hanging when Heavenly denizen Breel shows up to visit Keene on Earth.Keene: Aren't you... you know...
Breel: Dead. You can say dead.
- Another Lampshade Hanging when Heavenly denizen Breel shows up to visit Keene on Earth.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Grape fears she may have pulled this herself after accusing the "author" of the Pridelands series of exploiting the work of her cat (the actual author of the series). She didn't.
- Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: The character amply named "what chicken" within the tags exist only to act as a Visual Pun when someone uses the word "chicken" in a figurative sense.
- No Longer with Us: Rufus single-handedly made this a Dead Horse Tropenote when he kept joking about the previous owner of Uncle Rueben's farm who happened to be his previous owner. It got so bad that, when he showed up dead much later, Grape kept thinking he was still joking with the death puns.
- Kix uses a less-jokey analogy of this variety at one point:Kix: I was a pet fox for half my life before my owner bought the farm! A fur farm, to be specific.
- Kix uses a less-jokey analogy of this variety at one point:
- No More for Me: Marion pours away his orange soda when the hostile phone operator he's speaking to is replaced by a more heavenly one.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: The comic started with female animals being given only a few Tertiary Sexual Characteristics to distinguish them from males, but years after the comic started Mr. Griffin started giving his female animals an upper torso with curves suggestive of human-style breasts, though they're still drawn with Barbie Doll Anatomy given the comic's self-imposed rating.
- Non Sequitur, *Thud*: "After King takes a tumble down the stairs, he greets Fox with:King: Oh, hello Mr. Elephant, let's take a walk down to the gumdrop lake
- When Camel!Thomas is pulled from the rubble of the collapsed temple by Sofia:Camel!Thomas: Mommy look, I'm a Bactrian elephant
- When Camel!Thomas is pulled from the rubble of the collapsed temple by Sofia:
- No OSHA Compliance: The way to Heaven is apparently a giant golden staircase without any railings. Luckily there's an equally giant three headed dog-god standing by to catch you in her paw if you trip and fall.
- Noodle Incident: Mentioned by Peanut, about a previous, off-screen session using Tarot's psychic powers to make their imaginations tangible that resulted in an embarrassing moment for Grape.
- Also, the birth of Miles and Lucretia's cubs, as mentioned by Jack and Elaine referring specifically to Lucretia's mother being the midwife."Four Finger Discount" Jack: Funny, you'd think the woman would get weaker in her old age.
Elaine: At least that moss patch was fortuitous.
- And then there's the bet between Joel/King's parents...
- Also, the birth of Miles and Lucretia's cubs, as mentioned by Jack and Elaine referring specifically to Lucretia's mother being the midwife.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Early on it wasn't uncommon for fans to mispronounce Bino's name. His name is pronounced with a long I, like his older brother, Fido. But fans typically mispronounced it with a short I, like the anti-gas medication Beano. This was lampshaded and enforced in the arc "Wolf's Clothing", when after an incident where Bino was conned into committing crimes by Jack, he was being bailed out of the pound.Pound Clerk: Bean-o?
Bino: That's BINE—
Pound Clerk: Your bail's been paid
- Not Blood Siblings: While Peanut and Grape treat each other as siblings, they aren't related; they're not even the same species.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Daisy, with her limited vocabulary consisting solely of her introducing herself by name every time she speaks. She finally drops the charade when Fox and Mungo come around to ask the members of the Good Ol' Dogs Club what they know about Sasha.
- Ocular Gushers: Sasha after a series of intentionally bad dates as a ploy by Bino to get back into Sasha's good graces after she dumped him on Valentine's Day.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Although somewhat more subtle than many Oh, Crap! faces, Sgt Ralph and Kevin get them when they see a stupendously large water balloon falling towards them in a water balloon war with the neighborhood cats.
- King gets one when Pete finds out he went to the party against Pete's orders.
- Fox does some Spontaneous Choreography after a kiss from Sasha, but his singing fits in with the song "Maria". When he realizes that...Fox: And I'm subconsciously projecting myself onto the lead of West Side Story for a reason, aren't I?
Alt-text of that comic: Tony / I'll end up in a ditch just like Tony
- Jata in this comic. Also something of a Brick Joke after Jata dismissively regarded Uncle Deadeye earlier.
- Then there's Steward and Thomas when Keene reveals he knew (a) about Steward's chicanery, and (b) about the curse that turned Thomas into a camel.
- Oh My Gods!:
- Jessica occasionally does this to Zach, even though he disagrees (like her) in the "Opener of Ways" stuff.King: ...did you call me "shorty"?
Zach: She, uhh, heard it in a rap song.
Jessica: What in your name is a rap song?
- Spirit Dragon also did this in the past.
- Jessica occasionally does this to Zach, even though he disagrees (like her) in the "Opener of Ways" stuff.
- Older Than They Look: It's been hinted at that Sabrina is older than the other pet characters in the strip. Potentially much older. This could make her relationship with Fido a Stacy's Mom situation.Grape: ...wait, how old are you?
Sabrina: Not as old as you're going to feel when you're left eating wet Citty Cibble through a straw.
- Only Six Faces: This was particularly bad during the comic's first year, but has gotten better following the style revision. It's not perfect, though; apart from a color shift and some differences in clothing, Peanut is a dead ringer for Fido.
- One Steve Limit:
- Or Was It a Dream?:
- Otaku: Joey has some signs of it. Of his group of friends, he may be the most normal.
- Overprotective Dad: From the moment Bailey told him she was pregnant, King has been getting very concerned about her and their puppies. Most fans think it shows he'll be a great dad.
- Our Angels Are Different: When Breel shows up with a halo he says he's like an angel, but that term's a little overused now. And the Alt Text references the Old Testament's angels.
- Paper-Thin Disguise:
- Where's Truck?
- Grape pretends to be Sabrina's boyfriend wearing a beard that some readers didn't even notice until it was pointed out to them.
- Pet Heirs: The six, now incredibly wealthy, ferrets inherited their fortune from the late Henry Milton.
- Planet of Steves: There lives on the block a woman who owns at least eleven Siamese cats named Mr. Bigglesworth (yes, even the girls). They're not Inexplicably Identical Individuals, but even the Bigglesworths can't always tell one another apart, or tell each other's genders.
- Playing Possum: Jessica actually does this once.Zach: Nice one, Jess! Who's the dead weight now?!
- Fox hooks up with two angel huskies named Spring and Summer while visiting Heaven, and even refers to them as his girlfriends on a later visit.
- It's eventually seen that Peanut and Grape have been doing casual date stuff while dating Tarot and Max. Tarot knew about it, Max was pretty oblivious.
- Power Outage Plot: This comic has two separate arcs where a blizzard knocks out the neighborhood's power: Snowed In and The Hot Springs Episode (so named because Keene ordered a portable onsen and invited all the neighborhood pets)
- Power Perversion Potential: Played with here, with an added Luminescent Blush about Tarot's "imagination made real" ability combined with a suggestion of indecent exposure for Grape. It's never clarified what actually happened.
- The Pollyanna: Sasha. No matter how badly her owner treats her, she still loves him and still has a permanently happy disposition (possibly verging on Cloud Cuckoolander at times).
- Precision F-Strike: A censored version, during the 2009 Christmas arc. Then a second one. And a third. So far, King seems to be the only character allowed to swear on-screen.
- Prince and Pauper: No Pauper involved, but Millionaire Ferret Keene Milton does four months as a ferret exhibit at the Zoo while everyone thought he was vacationing in Florida.
- "Psycho" Shower Murder Parody: We get one in "Be Mine", with King taking a shower trying to get away from Sasha, followed by her "attacking" him with a scrub brush
- Puppy Love: After the Jurassic Park Imaginate, Olive developed a crush on Pueblo.Olive: Everybody, Pueblo is now my official boyfriend!
Pueblo: (distressed) Mom help!
- Punny Name: Grape pretended to be Sabrina's boyfriend Concord.note
- Also works for Uncle Rueben's horses: Action Replay, Money for Nothing, and Made of Win.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Sabrina knows how to get what she wants.
- Quirky Town: Babylon Gardens is owned by ferrets (through a human estate trust), and has among other "oddball" characters two housepets who are servants of celestial beings playing a Universes and Unrealities with the subdivision.
- Rail Roading: How Pete "convinces" Joel to be a part of the Game, making it sound as if there was no other option for Joel.
- Rage Breaking Point: Tarot hits one when they end up several millenia back in the past and Max asks (again) about just telling Spirit Dragon about what happens. Losing her ability to "think in four dimensions" and being unable to solve the problem at-hand really stressed her out. Maxwell was just the final straw.
- Ready for Lovemaking: When King went to his room after a dog pageant, Duchess appeared on his bed, laying in a suggestive pose with a whip and a set of pink cuffs, asking for King to snuggle with her.
- Real After All: Where did that big feather come from?
- Reality Ensues: How the "True Stories of the K9PD" arc wraps up. If Fox had just let things take their obvious course he would have worked out that Sasha's innocence was pretty obvious to everyone in his department, but automatically assumed he had to go on the run - did he really think the police he worked for were that corrupt? More likely, he just didn't think it through and wanted to be a badass action hero - a recurring joke that crops up every now & then throughout the series.
- When Kevin realizes Fox's crush on Sasha, he explains the true nature of his relationship with Sasha, which involves him building a case against her abusive owner to get her emancipated.
- On a much more depressing note, Sasha tearfully notes that she misses her previous owner. Truth in Television, as many abuse victims can attest to still loving their abusers even after being separated from them.
- While trying to determine why he transformed into a squirrel, Marion cracked open an energy drink. The caffeine did not treat him well, as his mother found him curled up on the computer desk with a serious case of the jitters.Marion: I have nothing and my heart's about to explooooode...
- When Kevin realizes Fox's crush on Sasha, he explains the true nature of his relationship with Sasha, which involves him building a case against her abusive owner to get her emancipated.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Quoted by Rick in the comments section when someone complained that the feline fangs were too far forward in the new art style, and he responded with a Wikipedia link.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Invoked. After the first comic in what looked to be an amusing plot arc, the author's computer broke, triggering a two-week stretch of guest strips... after which the last comic in said plot arc appeared (as if the action had continued in the absence of the author). Except the characters acknowledged that no one had actually seen any of it happen and determined to recreate it for their benefit (well, Bino did). If the author's computer hadn't broken, presumably the arc would have taken a very different course.
- Reality Warper: Tarot is shown to be able to (ab)use her power to alter reality in the Pridelands pretend arc. When the next Imaginate takes place fully in reality, it's explained in the end that Tarot stopped agreeing to it because Grape did something unmentionable in a previous play.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Bailey gets them when Bino makes the mistake of interrupting an argument between her and King: Though he doesn't have time to 'take warning'...
- Gale certainly does though. She knows better than to mess with Bailey now.
- Red Scare: When Duchess first went after King, she had Boris, a large Russian-sounding dog, approach him, asking for his purebred papers. King, who was originally a human born during the tail end of the Cold War, thought he meant something else.
- Reincarnation: Mentioned as an option for the deceased to return to Earth, presumably Breel was allowed to skip some of the normal steps as part of his reward. While Pete and Spirit Dragon were forced to be born as mortals when they both lost their bet possibly as fox kits named Craig and Draig.
- The last part is confirmed later, when a mortal version of GK reveals he is helping Craig and Draig's mother, Kix, raise them.Craig: I'll have my revenge on you yet, Kitsune.
Great Kitsune: Please, kits, call me "daddy".
Craig: STOP BEING SO WEIRD!
Great Kitsune: Stop being so weird, "daddy"
- The last part is confirmed later, when a mortal version of GK reveals he is helping Craig and Draig's mother, Kix, raise them.
- Reincarnation-Identifying Trait: Implied. The fox kits Craig and Draig have the same eye colors as ex-demigods Pete and Spirit Dragon, currently sentenced to spend a lifetime as mortals.
- Relationship Upgrade:
- Only after Grape reveals she's a girl.
- Again later when Grape says Peanut has earned the right to be "mushy" with her and it sticks.
- Nobody saw what happened with King and Bailey coming.
- Recently teased with Peanut and Tarot in an odd fashion (which makes sense considering what else recently happened):Tarot: Guess who's sleeping in the doghouse for that "normal" jab, honey?
Peanut: We don't even live together!
Tarot: We'll see about that!
- "See you around, dummy."
- Relative Error: It turns out Pete and Spirit Dragon are siblings. Apparently quite a few readers thought they were exes or something.
- Ret-Gone: Threatened.Sabrina: Fido, if you don't go in there and stop this right now, I am going to make you never born.
Fido: D...don't you mean "Wish I was—"
- The Reveal:
- That one scene.....
- Fox being revealed as a police dog in training after he tackles Bino, who was caught trying to steal things from a baby.Fox: ...well no wonder that was so easy, you're like a magnet for this!
- And finding out Dragon and Pete, now resurrected, are the fox kits Draig and Craig, respectively. We meet them at the ruins of Pete's temple.Draig: What about my temple in Egypt?
Craig: Sure! Let me just pull out my mortal superpowers to fly us there OH WAIT...
- Peanut and Grape are lovers.
- After always being shown from behind or with her ears over her eyes, Ace's eyes were finally shown at the end of the Jurassic Park Imaginate.
- Running Gag:
- Peanut waking Grape from one of her naps when he needs her help on something.
- Also Bino getting thrashed when his jerkassery goes too far.Fox: By the way, Bino, have you ever wondered why injuring you is not grounds for expulsion?
- "Right, I'm an idiot."
- It Was All Just a Dream. Or was it?
- Bailey's pickle-and-cherry milkshake, which started out as a Wacky Cravings joke.
- Characters Getting the Boot and digging into the ground with their faces upon landing.
- Sadistic Choice: Given to King by Pete. He must either become Pete's avatar or return to life as a human. The sadistic part comes from the day he chose to give this ultimatum: King's wedding day.
- Samus Is a Girl: People often mistake Grape for a boy; she is, in fact, a girl. In fact, other cats sometimes have problems telling. Even Peanut, Grape's best friend, couldn't tell.
- Sapient Steed: Horses are on the list of sentient talking animals, so they become this. Camels later turn out to be as well.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The Milton ferrets tend to take this view, buying whatever catches their fancy even if the law or rules don't allow it:
- Having a swimming pool filled entirely with grape gelatin (or alternatively chocolate mousse).
- Keene has contemplated getting a waterfall installed in their mansion.
- Keene also plunged the entire neighborhood into an extremely grandiose water balloon war just to test out a new line of water guns.
- And of course, taken to its logical conclusion with Keene: paying off the International Court of Justice to ensure Sabrina married Jata.
- Secret Relationship: Fido and Sabrina. Fido had to reveal it on live television to prevent an Arranged Marriage from ending it. Fallout still ongoing...
- Sequel Hook: At the end of Temple Crashers 2, we find out there's another mana source in the form of Dragon's temple, which is still in Egypt. And Badger!Steward still has that one cursed coin.
- Self-Deprecation: Rick takes a swing at himself over the occasional swings between Slice of Life Romantic Comedies and fantasy that the comic sometimes takes.
- Self-Insert Fic:
- Grape writes one of these and is incredibly embarrassed when Peanut reads it.
- Peanut also lifted a chapter of Pridelands for his Spot (superdog) comic because he liked a particular minor character.
- Then things go a step further when Tarot uses her imagination...
- Shapeshifting Squick: All the King shippers seem to forget and/or ignore that he was originally a human.
- Shared Family Quirks: Fido, is dating a cat named Sabrina. His youngest brother Joey is in a relationship with Squeak... the mouse. Associating with mice is another thing the Byrons seem to have in common. Fido has grown rather attached to Spo, a mouse he was volunteered to care after, by none other than Sabrina. And we've come full circle.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: When Keene happens upon a trapped Zach and Jessica, he assumes Jessica is Zach's girlfriend. Of course, they officially become a couple a few strips later, but in this case Zach's attempt at a denial is interrupted by an irate opossum.Keene: Got lost, Zach? Introduce me to your sweetheart some time.
Zach: She's not—
Jessica: If it isn't Mr. Moneybags—Aren't you afraid you'll break a nail out here?
- Shipper on Deck: Fox actively encourages King to get with his cousin Bailey.
- Ship Sinking: Anyone who was shipping Pete with Dragon will be distressed to learn they're brother and sister.
- Ship Tease: Peanut And Grape are teased constantly over the years until they are more upfront with Maxwell about it.
- Shout-Out: Now has its own page.
- Shovel Strike:
- Show Within a Show: Pridelands, a fictional work of which Grape is fond. Also "The Adventures of Spot (Superdog)", which uses the following tropes exclusively.
- Big "NO!": Spot (Superdog) does this when things don't go his way.
- Clark Kenting: The only difference between Spot (Superdog) and his secret identity as Spot (Professor) is a cape and a pair of glasses. Even the name's the same!
- Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Attempted by Stripe.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: In-Universe, Peanut is fond of crossing the Pridelands books with his Super Hero, Spot (Superdog).
- Large Ham: Spot (Superdog) has his moments.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: This comic and Spot's last line.
- Terrible Artist: Peanut's drawings are about on par with those of a stereotypical five year old.
- When Things Spin, Science Happens: Touched on here.
- Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Played with in this comic.
- Shy Finger-Twiddling: Peanut is prone to doing this.
- Sleep Cute: More than one snuggle scene in this comic.
- Slice of Life: A lot of the non-arc content, and even many of the early arcs, can be chalked up to this. It's even lampshaded at one point.
- Sliding Scale of Animal Communication: Almost all animals can talk with one another and with humans, with no real issues with understanding one another (besides geographical language barriers, such as Thomas and Sofia, as well as Satau initially). There is some confusion among livestock, though, as the horses imply that some (like cows) do not. This is discussed at one point among Uncle Reuben's horses and Peanut.Action Replay: Hey City Dog, how come you didn't want to come riding with yer cat friend?
Peanut: Uh, that's complicated. I guess I didn't expect domesticated ungulates to be so...expressive?
Action Replay: We get that a lot from city pets
Money for Nothing: They come down and expect all hoofed animals to be blithering idiots, don't know why they lump us horses into that
Made of Win: I blame the media—they keep portraying us as four-legged bicycles.
- Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Of the Civilized Animal school.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: Miles (who somehow managed to get a pair of reading glasses while in the wild), and Marvin (while calculating Tiger's nutrition rates in this strip.
- Soap Punishment: Bailey gives King this once.
- Something Else Also Rises: Zach's ears and tail when Jessica kisses him.
- Something Only They Would Say:
- Subverted when Marion, who has been transformed into a female squirrel, tells his girlfriend Lois a deeply embarrassing story from his past in an effort to prove this squirrel is really him
but the idea that such a transformation could take place is simply so ridiculous that she jumps to a more logical conclusion instead.Lois: Marion told you about that?
- Marion gets his revenge later on, by popping this same question when Lois has been transformed into a bobcat herself, right before Marion's eyes.Lois: I swear I will eat you.
- Subverted when Marion, who has been transformed into a female squirrel, tells his girlfriend Lois a deeply embarrassing story from his past in an effort to prove this squirrel is really him but the idea that such a transformation could take place is simply so ridiculous that she jumps to a more logical conclusion instead.
- Something We Forgot: King gets this feeling when the group sails from Australia back home. That's because they forgot Bruce and Roosevelt.
- Totally averted, but played seriously by Peanut. He can't remember how many puppies he had to babysit for King and Bailey, but since he can't get a straight answer he continues to worry endlessly until the poor guy is left shaking out of needless worry until King and Bailey come home.
- Spider-Sense: When a hunky cheetah steps out of a taxi cab that brought him to Babylon Gardens, Grape comments that her "hunk sense" is tingling, to which Peanut replies "That's Spider-Man's power, actually."
- Spit Take:
- Spontaneous Choreography: Somewhat here (Neither one knows who "Uncle Reuben" is, yet they're dancing about going to see him.)
- Stable Time Loop:
- Peanut had unwittingly set up a stable time loop during the PsyCon2: PsyConner arc by telling his past self he visited the Gate of Mystery after he, himself, traveled through it due to his future self telling him he went through it.
- It's implied that Dragon's crush on Peanut is the result of him failing to hide himself in time behind the lantern that's supposed to hide his presence (as he isn't supposed to be within the time period he was accidentally sent to alongside the rest of his friends).
- Stacy's Mom: When caught in a trap set up by Poncho and North Star, who are essentially adolescents with no experience in the outside world, Gale starts flattering them to distract them while her son Pueblo cuts her free. Both fall for it hook, line, and sinker.
- Stalker Shrine: Natalie, a wolf who acts like a sullen teen, is shown to have one for Fido, which she quickly changes to Satau after running into him.
- Starving Student: Implied in this strip as the reason Itsuki invites the Sandwich family to his apartment. He also invokes the trope during a hot dog eating contest.
- Stealth Pun:
- The "father" of the Sandwich household is named "Earl". His full name has never been said in-comic.
- There's also an Uncle Reuben.
- The main two characters, also in the Sandwich family, are ingredients for a sandwich.
- And then there's the "mother", Jill.note
- Stock Animal Name: The Messrs. and Misses Mr. Bigglesworth, a group of identical Siamese cats.
- Stock Animal Diet: Invoked on occasion with the mice. Squeak has to tell her boyfriend Joey that the "mice like cheese" thing is a stereotype. And when Fido first gets Spo some oats instead of that, he states that he can't stand cheese.
- Stop Being Stereotypical: Kangaroos Bruce and Roosevelt are expected by the zoo staff to speak in incredibly cringeworthy Australian lingo when patrons are in earshot. They despise every second of it.Grape: Guys, it's okay! We're regulars.
Bruce: Oh thank goodness! Every single word feels like throwing up!
Roosevelt: "Shrimp on the barbie?" We're herbivores!
- Straight Gay: Bruce and Roosevelt, the kangaroos that work at the zoo, cuddle while watching manly sports together. In case you're wondering how we know they're a couple.◊
- An addendum to the above. Now with more couple-yness.
- Sunk Cost Fallacy: Invoked by Lois after she and Marion have been turned into animals.
- Surprise Creepy: If it were ever possible in text form, then the little demon that befriended Keene in "Temple Crashers 2" pulled it off when it agreed to help Keene and Breel escape "the bad place":Demon: I found Breel! He's chained!
Keene: That's nice, but I can't do anything about it unless I had my cap...
Demon: I can get cap for you! Just take me to Earth!
Keene: Fine! Whatever! Just be quiet about—
Demon: THEN THE CONTRACT IS SEALED
Keene: (widens eyes)
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Peanut certainly did not see Bino's shock collar remote.
- Take That!: Any page that has Tiger or Marvin "Arbelt" is almost certainly a parody of Garfield.The cast page for Tiger: I hate Thursdays. I like pizza. I hate cockroaches. I like my teddy bear Poom. Thats characterization, right?
- Several of Peanut's Spot(Superdog) comic strips are pretty much Rick taking jabs at storylines or plot elements of questionable quality from superhero comics. This storyline is a Take That towards Superman: Grounded, for instance.
- The Shout-Out to Ghostbusters is followed immediately by a take-that to Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.Keene: Excellent use of a Ghostbusters reference.
Res: It was either that or a Star Trek V allusion.
Keene: You made the right call.
- Tarot Troubles: Discussed in this strip, where Tarot explains to Peanut the real meaning of the "Death" card, and adds that "The Tower" is the card that really signifies actual death.
- Tempting Fate: While looking out the window to his office, Keene claims in this strip that the water war he started couldn't be stopped with all the water in the neighborhood. The sky then opens up in a torrential downpour.
- Terrible Interviewees Montage: When King is looking for a babysitter for his pups.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics:
- That Was Not a Dream: Standard celestial policy - after a mortal has a run-in with one of the Cosmic Nerds they are told to "wake up" and immediately do so in their bed. However an item is always left which tells the mortal it was not a dream.
- Thief Bag: The Milton Ferrets award the contest prize to Daisy in a traditional white sack with a dollar sign on it, which is lampshaded by Rick in the comic's title.
- Thinking Tic: Happens a few times. Of note is Tarot's when thing of how to emulate his chemistry with Grape. You can practically hear the cogs turning.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Listen, learn, avoid being eaten by an eleven-headed grognak, and be polite.
- Third-Person Person: Spot (Superdog) in this comic
- This Is My Human: Many of the animals treat their owners more like parents, although this isn't universal.
- Those Two Guys: Tiger and Marvin, who spend most of their time either in one-off hijink comics or as crowd extras. They're virtually always seen together, though. Tiger got his own arc in mid-2014 that at least gives him (and presumably Marvin by extension) a bit more character and roundness.
- Through a Face Full of Fur: This is a Furry Webcomic, after all. In one comic, Peanut's entire face turned red from embarrassment.
- Time Skip: Towards the end of the "Real Stories of the K9PD" arc after the central conflict has been resolved, the comic skips ahead six months to Christmastime since it began in July 2016 and ran until December 21 even though the story itself took no more than a full day to happen. Lampshaded in the title of the strip that takes place six months later.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: King and Bailey, a Corgi and Husky couple.
- Tongue Trauma: When Kevin walks in on Fox and Sasha smooching, Fox bites Sasha's tongue.
- Totally Radical: Gale sarcastically pulls one on her cub Pablo, which would be weird enough but at that point she basically has North Star's lovestruck body entwined with hers, essentially seducing two wolves when she's really just playing on how gullible she said they were in the previous strip.Pueblo: Hey Mom, I think you broke [Poncho's] brain.
Gale: [holding North Star] Nah, that's how young adults be sometimes.
Pueblo: Eww, MOM! Stop being so weird!
- Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket: Parodied in this strip, the ad selling a product aimed at people supposedly too stupid to operate a regular drinking glass.
- Too Much Information: Apparently, All of Joey's personal life elicits this kind of reaction.
- Trial by Combat: Jata invokes this trope to the T twice for Sabrina. Not hard for him, seeing how built and well-trained he is.
- True Meaning of Christmas: The pets sometimes try to debunk the idea behind Santa.
- TV Never Lies: The occasional one-off strip involves unusually truthful TV commercials.
- Uncanny Valley: Referenced in this strip with the CGI Dick Clark.
- Unflinching Walk: Played with in this strip with the characters doing this away from a massive water balloon explosion, in the story arc "The Great Water Balloon War", complete with Cool Shades for extra coolness points.
- Universal Translator: The justification for how Satau, one of the Spirit Dragon's past avatars who accidentally got himself trapped into the future, managed to suddenly learn modern day English. This is a spell cast by Sabrina, in case you're wondering.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: Happens with Grape, both to Peanut and Maxwell.
- Unsound Effect:
- Played with here in the first "Imaginate!" story, with Grape and Peanut using a sign reading "Explosion!".
- The "explosion" of the big water balloon towards the end of the "The Great Water Balloon War" story arc uses "EXPLOOSHION!" as Peanut, Grape, and Zach emerge with an Unflinching Walk.
- Poor Max gets BOOT not once but twice!
- Unwanted False Faith: The woodland critters following Zach as the "Opener of Ways".
- Valentine's Day Episode: Every Valentine's Day brings a set of four paper valentines featuring characters from the strip. They're mostly meant as jokes, but they're also provided in a large printable format so you can give them out.
- Vocal Dissonance: After nearly a decade, the comic implies that the ferrets have stereotypically small voices. This was previously Played for Laughs with Alan and the Ground Squirrels but only recently confirmed with the ferrets.Keene: Hey, at least you don't say literally everything in a small, squeaky voice.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: In this strip King loses his lunch after a stomach-upsetting trip on an amusement park ride, with the resultant spew out of view of the audience.King: The spirit is willing, but the flesh is a leaky chemical quagmire.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: We don't see the act, but we do see the vomit.
- Wacky Cravings: Way to freak out your husband, Bailey.note
- Later, when it's for real... note
- Wall of Text: In this strip Sabrina's explanation of her past produces a wall of text separating the second and third panels; lampshaded by the Alt Text.Alt Text: Yes, it is literally a wall of text between panels 2 and 3. Get your tl;drs ready
- Water Guns and Balloons: Housepets had an entire story arc based on a water balloon war, "The Great Water Balloon War", between the titular creatures that was used to parody military and wartime tropes, starting here.
- Waxing Lyrical: When Spo tries to romance Squeak after returing from his alleged trip.Spo: I'm never leaving you again! You mean more to me than all the cheap flings of Europe! There's so many times I've let you down, so many times I've played around, I tell you now, they don't mean a thing!
Squeak: That, I don't doubt.
- Webcomic Time: Lampshaded herenote Fido: —FOX! Er, when did you get back from Kansas?
Fox: Uh, like the first week of January? I don't ask to be the center of your attention but come on
- Wedding Episode: "The King and I", which sees the marriage of King and Bailey. Plus a Bouquet Toss caught by Tarot.Grape (to Maxwell): Maybe we could get married sometime.
- Wham Episode: This series has several of them, each of them changing the comic forever, as more and more of the plot is revealed:
- The first is very early, setting up the possibility for romance between Grape and Peanut, the two original protagonists of the comic. That entire arc sets up Peanut's "cat lover" status, as well as displaying the prejudices of the pet world.
- The second is A Sinister Shadow, the first real darkness in the comic, where the status of pets as people is first seriously questioned, as well as showing the first human face in the form of Joel. While not obvious at the time, this arc kicked off the second major conflict of the comic, the status of pets in the human world.
- The third became evident with this comic from Oops I Arced. A dream that had occurred earlier in the comic had Grape meeting a gryphon named Pete, and when she woke up, she had a gigantic feather from it despite it being (supposedly) a dream sequence. This was later followed up by the appearance of Tarot, who confirmed that magic existed in-universe, but the girl seemed a bit crazy. However, the existence of Pete was confirmed by the aforementioned comic from Oops I Arced, setting off another central conflict to the comic as Pete is unleashed, and then turns Joel (from the A Sinister Shadow arc) into a dog and gives him the name of King. Rather than being an odd one-off event, King becomes the third major protagonist of the comic, with many arcs following his struggle of fitting into the world of pets as an ex-human.
- King's arc gained special significance a few arcs later, with dog days of summer revealing that Tarot is actually the avatar of a higher order being, a Dragon who is Pete's counterpart. She seems much more benevolent than Pete, but, along with the Great Kitsune, ultimately it is revealed that all three of the higher order beings - the gryphon, the dragon, and the kitsune - are ultimately playing games with the lives of mortals, and not only is King caught in the middle of it, but Tarot is shown to be not just a silly creature, but actually the avatar of a being of immense power. King rejects his role as a mere piece in a game run by bored demigods, and as such is set off on his own, stuck as a dog until the game is over, but given the promise of a reward at the end of the game, as all avatars receive. It is also implied that the dragon has an interest in Peanut beyond Tarot's interest, with the demigod herself wanting to be his girlfriend.
- The next lies in Imaginate, Too!, when Grape reveals that she knew that Peanut had a crush on her all along, and the pair are forced to attempt to articulate what their relationship means to each of them. When Peanut eventually fesses up to the fact that he wants to be her boyfriend, Grape challenges him as to what more he could want - and declares that he is her best friend in the world, before kissing him. This adds a great deal of ambiguity to their relationship, as from there on the pair are seen snuggling periodically, calling into question both of their extant relationships as well as the exclusivity of it. While it is obvious that Grape and Peanut are taking their boyfriend and girlfriend considerably more casually than humans do, other relationships in the comic range from being of similar seriousness (Bino and Sasha) to being much more serious (Fido and Sabrina), and it is not really clear that Maxwell understands the depth of their relationship - though Tarot said from the very beginning that Grape could take him if she was willing to reject Maxwell, something she didn't want to do.
- More than twenty arcs later, the Trial in Heaven reveals that not all is what it seems with the game of the gods. While Pete had been shown time and again to be a jerk, self-concerned, conceited, and ultimately appearing to care little for mortals, this is all turned on its ear as it is revealed that not only does Pete care, or at least has cared about mortals in the past, but it is revealed that the Dragon is not the kind-hearted creature that she seems - it is heavily implied that not only has she been meddling in the affairs of mortals, but in their love lives, with two of her followers dating two creatures that Pete was interested in, and the ex-boyfriend of one of said followers dating a third - all conveniently ruining Pete's own plans, but implying that all of their relationships may be, to some extent, a sham set up by the Dragon to prevent Pete from winning. Worse still, it is implied that the goal of the game that Pete and the Dragon had disagreed upon hinged upon the equivalence of humans and the other animals which inhabit the world - and Pete, not the Dragon, was on the side of the equivocation of human and animalkind, with the Dragon opposed to it. Thus, rather than the black and white conflict as it had appeared before, both sides were painted in gray - Pete is a jerk, but the comic is meant to lead the readers to sympathize with the pets, and King's arc in particular shows the difficulty of the transisition between human to animal - as well as the fundamental difference between the mindset of many animals and many humans, though the wolves had also worked to blur that line in the other direction by living as people, and far more responsible people than the ferrets, their benefactors, do. It also sets up for Pete having some sort of backup plan, but because of the Unspoken Plan Guarantee, we still don't know whether it has come to fruition.
- Who can forget about Jungle Fever? This Arc focuses on Fido who finally confess his love of the cat name Sabrina in front of everyone in Babylon Gardens. Some are shocked while some already knew that.
- The big storyline of 2014, Heaven's Not Enough. King has finally figured out that Pete still has an ace up his sleeve, which in a condensed form means that Pete is not forfeiting the cosmic game he's playing. Furthermore, he doesn't actually need him to fight as his avatar. However, it doesn't stop Pete from continuing on with his contract to King, just to torture him some more. Except, in a completely unexpected twist, Bailey takes the fall for King and signs Pete's contract, becoming his avatar. Now she has been whisked away to who-knows-where to duel against Spirit Dragon, where it is expected that she will be gone for a very long time from reality's point of view. Then Fox finds out who his best friend really is...
- The arc takes on three parts. In Part 2, King and Fox head to Heaven so King can sort things out with the higher-ups. While King has a cryptic meet-and-greet with the big boss, Bahamut, Fox has a dalliance with two female husky angels. Part 3 has King disrupting the Cosmic Game and bringing it to its conclusion, leading to both Dragon and Pete losing their wager, and King winning permanent status as a dog.
- In 2016, Arc 100 is The 4 Animals You Meet in Heaven, where Keene suddenly finds himself dead. Those four animals: a marten masseuse named Breel; the previously-known Cerberus; his mother; and his owner, Henry Milton, who has decided in Heaven to become a ferret himself. In the end, Cerberus discovers that Keene met his end prematurely, and sends him back to a moment shortly before his death, when his limousine was pushed into a reservoir, allowing him to escape alive.
- Then the grand year-and-a-half-long "Temple Crashers 2" arc, where Keene tries to invade the temple to get to its mana and fulfill Henry Milton's dream of human and animal equality, and only opens up several cans of worms as he gets the pets of Babylon Gardens and the denizens of Heaven involved.
- Wham Line:
Lois: Marion?... My head feels kinda... fuzzy...
- Joel: "I was kidnapped by my own pets once." Made more dramatic by the fact that this page is the first time that an entire human face is shown.
- Later on Joel's alter ego King gets one when Tarot tells him " Sorry, I don't date humans."
- Jungle Fever has this: " READ MY LIPS YOU TACKY FUTURE TAXIDERMY! I AM IN LOVE WITH SABRINA D'ANGELO!"
- "Heaven's Not Enough" has THREE Wham Lines:
- " O Pete who art in Heaven... I Have a great burden on my mind, and I cannot bear it any longer... ...So I'm calling your bluff, MOTHER PHEASANT."
- Bailey: "TAKE ME INSTEAD!" (Pete's original Cosmic-Dn D gamepiece was going to be King, until Bailey took the fall for him.)
- Upon Fox finding out his best friend is Joel: "...King?"
- "Well don't worry. Wherever we end up, your big sister will take care of you."Pete: That only dredges up emotions worse than fear.
Dragon: Yeah, I know.
- Then at the End of Year Seven, we learn that Bailey is pregnant with a litter of THREE puppies!Bailey: I usually don't go for fried food, but I am eating for four now!
King: *Heroic BSoD*
Bailey: Did I forget to mention that?
- "Isn't that Kevin's girlfriend?"note
- "Oh, hey Thomas. Enjoying the curse I conveniently forgot to tell Steward about?"
- Part 1 of "Save the Date" ends on a line that quickly turns out to be a subversion when it turns out the real conflict is that Peanut mistakenly thinks King and Bailey had four puppies, not three.Peanut: Hey, Grape? How many pups did we start with?
- Maxwell didn't know Peanut and Grape were lovers. Grape then has to assure him with this line:Grape: Maxie, I told you about my feelings for Peanut ages ago and you said it was "super cute"
Maxwell: Well it is, but this is a bit explicit!
- My Life as a Teenage Squirrel, Part 4, ends with Lois, the human girlfriend of the formerly-human squirrel Marion suddenly transforming into an anthropomorphic bobcat, due to Pete's curse.
- When Euodant from Temple Crashers returns, he splits Steward's cursed coin (from Pete's treasure) into thirds, and gives a piece to the dark bratty demon (who seems emotionally attached to Keene):
- What Are Records?:
- What Happened to the Mouse?: What a number of readers were asking after this scene in the Imaginate version of Guys and Dolls.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Someone coughs over the name of the state during King and Bailey's wedding ceremony.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: At the end of "Temple Crashers 2", Breel wants to stay on Earth and be with Keene.Cerberus (Left Head): Oh dear, I think going to the bad place might have given him some serious trauma.
Cerberus (Center Head): I'm gonna have a word with Kitsune about screwing up the souls I let him borrow.
- Whole Episode Flashback: The arcs "Housepets Babies!" and "The Maxwell Thing".
- Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Happens to Peanut with his Sanity Slippage since he forgot how many pups King and Bailey had.
- Wimp Fight: What Maxwell and Bino's 'fight' resulted in.Rick: Ok i'll be honest, I pretty much drew this just for panel three.
- Wrestler in All of Us: When trying to prevent Peanut from answering the door before her, she hoisted him up and away in a German Suplex.
- Writer's Block: Played for Laughs when Peanut gets it in a one-off:Grape: Hey Peanut, what're you—
Peanut: NOTHING! I HAVE NOTHING! I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO THINK OF A SINGLE NEW OR ORIGINAL THING FOR THE LAST 12 HOURS! I'VE DRIED UP! THE MUSE IS GONE! I'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO WRITE ANYTHING EVER AGAIN, FOREVER! (runs off screaming)
- X Meets Y: In universe, it seems that the Pridelands series is The Lion King meets Warrior Cats.
- Your Favorite: In one of his intros to an early strip, Rick mentions that Bino's favorite food is pizza.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: While the Cosmic Chess Game is over, and subsequently Pete's temple (the one Henry Milton bought) was destroyed, it's been established that Dragon also has a castle somewhere out there. Chances are good it'll eventually come into play.
- Your Television Hates You: Some inconvenient scheduling affects a snowed-in Bruce and Roosevelt in "Snowed In, Part Two":Bruce: Sure the power's out, but we got food, we got blankets, we got each other, and it's not like we have any place to be! What's got you riled up?
Roosevelt: What was the marathon we just watched? The Thing, The Shining, Storm of the Century, 30 Days of Night, Misery—
Bruce: You could have changed the channel at any time!
Housepets / Tropes M to Z