Between 13 films, 10 TV series, and much more on the way, there are a lot of characters in the Star Trek universe. And while it’s the humanoid ones that get the most attention, quite a few memorable furry friends have become fan favorites over the years. Here’s a rundown of some of the best-known Trek pets, and what I think your favorite says about you (without any scientific justification whatsoever).
This very good boy was the first dog to explore the galaxy at warp five — going where no man’s best friend had ever gone before. Despite his lofty stature among canines, Porthos was still governed by his stomach, always begging his owner Captain Archer for cheese even though it didn’t agree with his stomach. If Porthos is your favorite Trek pet, you too might be a devotee to your senses who indulges without fear of consequence — whether it’s sneaking some junk food when your doctor told you not to or bingeing just one more episode of Enterprise when you know you ought to go to bed.
Belonging to Lt. Commander Data, Spot wasn’t exactly the best behaved cat in the galaxy. Spot did not respond to verbal commands, and was notoriously mischievous and destructive around strangers, going so far as to ransack Geordi’s quarters when he agreed to cat sit. But it’s Spot’s habit of jumping on Data’s desk when he’s trying to work that’s perhaps this finicky feline’s defining feature, and the most telling if she’s your favorite. A strong admiration of Spot suggests you're a free spirit who feels the need to rebel against authority, social norms, and the boring 9-to-5 existence. Or maybe it just means you’re a cat person?
You wouldn’t expect it, but Vulcans keep pets just like humans do. They just happen to be bear-like creatures with six-inch fangs — like I-Chaya, Mr. Spock’s pet sehlat. We meet I-Chaya in The Animated Series episode “Yesteryear,” where Spock goes back in time to prevent the death of his boyhood self (it’s a long story). Sadly, it’s I-Chaya that winds up sacrificing himself to save young Spock when he’s attacked by another creature called a le-matya. If you consider I-Chaya your fave, you might be hiding a heart of gold under a gruff exterior (minus the six-inch fangs, of course). And if someone you love were to get into trouble, you’d be willing to do anything and everything to help them.
Star Trek: Picard finds the former captain of the Enterprise-D (and E) back on Earth at his family’s vineyard, but he isn’t alone. A pit bull named Number One — an ode, of course, to what he used to call his first officer, Will Riker — is faithfully by his side. We don’t learn much about Number One, but his love and devotion to his owner is clear from the way he greets Jean-Luc in bed in the morning and follows him on walks through the grape fields. If Number One is your top dog, chances are you’re dependable, loyal, and a rather big mush. A companion worthy of a captain!
Cleveland Booker’s description of his cat says it all: “She’s a queen.” A very large and cuddly Maine Coon, Grudge isn’t shy about claiming her territory, whether she’s regally lying about Book’s ship or commandeering Tilly’s bed. But that doesn’t mean Queen Grudge is lazy; she’s tagged along on some dangerous missions, like accompanying Book into a radioactive nebula and needing to have her DNA recombined as a result. Fans who consider Grudge their Trek pet of choice know how to make their presence felt without saying much, and can do no wrong in the eyes of those who admire them.
Created and genetically enhanced by Ensign Tendi, The Dog is 5% faster and 6% smarter than your average pooch, which feels like an underestimation considering she’s capable of changing shape, talking, and even flying. The Dog had trouble fitting in aboard the Cerritos, but ultimately found a new home on Endicronimas V where there were “many fascinating things upon which to urinate.” Fans who love The Dog revel in defying expectations and wowing people with their scary-level smarts, and aren’t afraid to embark on a new adventure if it means finding where they truly belong.
It’s clear you can tell just as much about someone from their favorite Star Trek pet as their favorite Star Trek person. So, the next time you meet someone new in the fandom either online or at a convention, don’t be surprised if they ask, “Are you more of a Porthos or a Spot?”
Chris Vespoli (he/him) is a New York-based writer, producer, and performer who thinks Star Trek: Enterprise gets a bad rap. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisVespoli.
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