A Survey of the Pocket Pets

Pocket pets for everyone!

In the last few years, there have been an awful lot of cosmetic items added to TF2 that are generally referred to as “pocket pets.” These cosmetics have proved extremely popular, and therefore more are added each year. As of the writing of this article (March 2014 by most calendars), there are a total of 16 cosmetics that I would classify as a Pocket Pet.

I didn’t include items that hover above your shoulder such as the Robro 3000, Balloonicorn, etc, since they aren’t really a “pocket” pet if they aren’t physically attached to your body. Similarly, I didn’t include the items from Scream Fortress 2013, since most of them are just ghoulish reskins of existing pets, and the Halloween restriction makes them useless for most of the year.

I also did not include cosmetics that are dolls of the classes themselves, such as the Pocket Medic, Itsy Bitsy Spyer, and the Cremator’s Conscience. I love those to death, especially the Cremator’s Conscience, but since they are dolls of humans (or as close as TF2 gets to humans though we don’t what exactly the pyro is), they don’t really fit as “Pets” in my opinion.

All of these items are “named kill assisters” in pyroland, meaning that when you are in pyroland, are equipping one of these cosmetics, and get an unassisted kill, the pocket pet will get credit for the kill assist. Any custom names are reflected in this. For example, if you are an engineer and have the pyrovision goggles and a Deadliest Duckling named “Daffy” equipped, your kill feed will read: “You + Daffy => somerandomdeadguy. It’s a really cool idea, and almost worth the annoyance of pyroland. Not quite, but almost.

 

THE POCKET PETS

Chucklenuts
Squirrels like nuts, and since the Scout is the biggest nut in TF2, it makes sense that they hang out together. Of course, no nut is complete without a tie, right?
Okay, I am not entirely sure why this squirrel that rides on the scout’s shoulder has a tie. I know it’s a reference to the tie that the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have as part of their uniform, but I don’t recall any Squirrel Scouts of America. Maybe it’s a reference to the squirrel that Kronk talked to in The Emperor’s New Groove?
Anyway, if you can get past the silliness of having a team-colored squirrel on your shoulder, you will notice that this is a really well-designed cosmetic. The model is crisp and clean, the colors don’t look garish, and the fact that the head and tail move as you move is a really neat touch. It’s pretty cool to have your squirrel’s tail billow behind it as you blaze across the battlefield.
There don’t seem to be any cosmetics/hats that naturally go with the Chucklenuts, but I’d figure that the Bonk Helm and the Caffeine Cooler fit with the Boy Scout theme of “Be Prepared.” Maybe not.

 

Compatriot
Of course, what would the America-loving soldier do without his trusty eagle? I mean, the extra wings probably help him get that maximum altitude while rocket jumping. This fits perfectly into the overall theme of the soldier.
Looking at the steam workshop page for the Compatriot, I am slightly disappointed that there is no separate style for this cosmetic that includes a hat like in some of the photos.
The Compatriot goes well with the Sergeant’s Drill Hat and the Soldier’s Stogie if you want to intimidate those new recruits.
If you want the colonial look, equip this with the Colonial Clogs and the Founding Father. Or maybe the Founding Father.
Of course, you can go with the airborne theme and equip the Whirly Warrior and the Grey-banns.

 

Lieutenant Bites
Who doesn’t love this raccoon that determinedly sinks its teeth into the soldier’s ammo pouch? For some reason, the soldier has a special relationship with raccoons. Or he just keeps sour cream in his ammo pouch. Either one.
It is a well-designed model, with how its eyes glow a subtle blue and how it swings about when the soldier is moving. The Stainless Pot and the Macho Mann go pretty well with Lieutenant Bites if you are going for a silly look. Otherwise, just about anything else goes.

 

Bird-Man of Aberdeen
Apparently this macaw’s name references a certain Robert Stroud, a convicted murderer/former pimp who worked with birds at the Leavenworth Penitentiary, becoming an amateur ornithologist. Though this Stroud was not allowed to keep his hundreds of “pet” birds when he was later moved to Alcatraz, he still became known as the “Bird-man of Alcatraz.” And since Aberdeen is a city in Scotland, it makes since that the Demo’s version is the Bird-Man of Aberdeen.
Seems like a rather convoluted and random name, in my opinion. I like the name it was contributed under much better: “Some Spare Eyes.” But who am I to question the wisdom of the Valve?
The Glengarry Bonnet and the Cool Breeze go well with this bird. Or the Prince Tavish’s crown and the King of Scotland cape.

 

Red-Army Robin
The fat European Robin gives the Heavy someone other than his Sandvich to talk to. However, the Sandvich is probably more talkative than the Red-Army Robin. This bird’s name references the Red Army of Russia, and is presumably sitting on the Heavy’s shoulder because it wants a bite of his sandvich. Depending on the Heavy it perches on, it may even get a bite before the Sandvich is tossed to a Medic in need.
The Officer’s Ushanka and the Pocket Medic go very well with the Robin.

 

Teddy Roosebelt
Every person needs a teddy bear as a companion, right? Well, Texan Teddies take this a little further by even dressing up like their owners. Hell, they even keep an eye out for them gosh-darned spies!
This is one of those rare cosmetics that go better with no hat. Since Teddy Roosebelt’s little hat is styled after the Engineer’s stock hard hat, then it seems like to put another hat on would mess up the synergy between Texan and Teddy. If you insist on a hat, then go for the Mining Light or the Industrial Festivizer, both of which are based off the stock hard hat. The Beep Boy and the Idea Tube also go well if you want to be the best-equipped Southerner this side of Bee Cave.

 

Prize Plushy
This is very similar to the Teddy Roosebelt, since they are both bears that sit in the front pocket of the Engineer. However, while the Roosebelt is pretty cool, this one is (intentionally?) ugly. The look of the cosmetic gives off a distinct air of shoddily-made prizes available at fairs across the country. At least this cosmetic also gives you a hanky in your back pocket for when you have to sit down and cry because you wasted so much money on fair games to get this bear rather than spending your hard-earned money on keys.
If you feel the urge to get this bear, please do the rest of the server a favor and paint it. I don’t know how, but the default red and blue colors for this bear just do not work. They clash horribly with the rest of the Engineer’s look. Ugh, just buy some cheap paint, maybe a Ye Olde Rustic Colour and slap it on.
The Last Straw and the Grizzled Growth go as well as anything else with this bear, seeing as all three were promotional items for The Cave.

 

Pocket Purrer
Many people are of the opinion that engineers are more likely to be cat lovers than your average person is, and this is reflected in-game with this little kitty. Whoever made this cat did an amazing job, because it is just plain adorable. With those big eyes and tiny little white paws, this cat is sure to soften even the hardest heart of the most devious spy just in time for the engineer to bash in their skull with his wrench.
Please, I beg you, do not do as so many other people have done and paint this poor kitty Mann Co. Orange and rename it “Garfield.” According to tf2stats.net, over 20% of all Pocket Purrers in existence are orange. Granted, some of these are probably due to the player having an orange cat, but I have literally seen dozens of Garfields while playing TF2.
Almost anything goes with this cat. I personally use the Industrial Festivizer and the Pip-Boy with my Pocket Purrer, but like I said, anything goes.

 

Ein
It is really lonely sitting there all by yourself with nothing but your sentry and an enemy spy or two for company. The Engineer fixed this by catching a canary and teaching it how to weld, giving him a willing assistant and companion during his long waits for unwitting scouts and pyros to come in range of his sentry.
The Ein, which is short for Einstein, is a goggle-wearing yellow canary resting on the Engineer’s shoulder, giving him advice on sentry placement. Hey, if the team complains about it, the Engineer can honestly say that a little birdie told him where to put the sentry. It would be nice, though, if Ein was more concerned with helping the team and less concerned with the best spots in which to hunt worms.
I wouldn’t equip this at the same time as the Pocket Purrer for obvious reasons. However, the Mining Light and the Idea Tube or the Dry Gulch Gulp go well for the spelunking Engineer.

 

Archimedes
Every doctor needs a lab assistant, and what better than a formerly white dove? It is nice to have something that shares in your frustration by mimicking your facial expressions. Just keep it out of the chest cavity of the person you are healing, and you are good to go! Archimedes has never regretted when the Medic stole the catering van he was in, and immediately helped the Medic and Heavy make a fresh supply of sandviches.
I personally like the Medical Mystery and the Vintage Tyrolean with Archimedes, but anything will go well with him. It’s not like Archimedes is picky.

 

Koala Compact
One day when the Sniper was making his way through the bushes of the Australian outback in search of an old rifle of his, he came across this koala sitting on a log and staring at him. To his surprise, the koala pulled out a hat just like the Sniper’s and the two became fast friends. The Koala Compact is constantly trying to intimidate enemy spies away from his friend, and the Sniper doesn’t have the heart to tell him that he’s fightin’ a losin’ battle, mate.
This unfortunately rather forgettable misc goes well with the Trophy Belt and the Outback Intellectual.

 

Sir Hootsalot
A little extra wisdom goes a long way, according to this rather sleepy owl. When he manages to stay awake, his sharp eyes help the Sniper pick out distant enemy medics and heavies. However, Sir Hootsalot tends to, well, hoot a lot, frustrating the Sniper who is constantly having his location given away.
The Wilderness style actually goes well with a falconry theme, so try on the Larrikin Robin and the Huntsman’s Essentials or the Birdman of Australiacatraz and the Falconer. Don the Cold Killer and the Snow Scoper if you prefer the Snowy version.

 

Li’l Snaggletooth
Crikey! This baby crocodile is ferocious! As much as Li’l Snaggletooth loves snapping at the Sniper’s hand, his deepest desire is to become a hat. This is something the Sniper is more than willing to do as soon as the young croc is big enough. Until then, he just sits in the Australian’s pocket and attempts to put as many bite marks in his arm as he can.
You can go the all-croc route with the Snaggletooth hat and the Crocodile’s Smile if you wish. Otherwise, take your pick. Almost anything goes well with this reptile.

 

Cobber Chameleon
No one knows the importance of blending in with your surroundings than the Sniper does. Or at least, no one did until he met the Cobber Chameleon. He hangs out on the Sniper’s shoulder and watches with detached interest as foe after foe falls to the Sniper’s rifle. The Sniper keeps telling him to watch for enemy spies, but apparently it is difficult to get a chameleon to do anything other than sit there and blend in.
Anything goes well with the Cobber Chameleon, though archery- and snow-themed items go a little less well than others, so you might want to stay away from them.

 

Backstabber’s Boomslang
The Spy loves quick, silent, assassination, and so he picked the king of deadly silent strikes to accompany him on his forays behind enemy lines. This serpent’s eyes glow in the dark, and his head moves easily with the Spy’s head. Don’t expect any mercy from either of these two snakes.
The Fancy Fedora and Made Man look good with the Backstabber’s Boomslang. For a little bit of irony, try on the Exorcizor and your hat of choice.

 

The Deadliest Duckling
This dastardly duck replaces the grenades of the Pyro, Soldier, and Demo, and sits in the pocket of the Engineer and Sniper. He is more than ready to give his professional advice, though the Teufort Nine tend to view him as a quack. All puns aside, this duck comes in two styles: one with a suit and one without.
Because of this cosmetic’s multi-class nature, I’ll let you all figure out what goes well with this duck of such a despicable nature.

 

 

So there you have it, all 16 Pocket Pets. I am sure more will be added every year. My vote is for the next ones to be the Spycrab, the Whiffy Passenger, the Vulpes Velox v2, and the Vigilant Vulture.

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