Friends' most famous animal stars are undoubtedly The Chick and the Duck (various episodes) who were purchased by Joey from an animal sanctuary in the third series. Living in Chandler and Joey’s flat, the pair led a charmed life and played a big role in their adventures, although the Duck caused a small crisis when it swallowed one of Ross’s many engagement rings at his bachelor party.
Chandler even briefly renamed The Duck ‘Yasmine’, after Baywatch star Yasmine Bleeth, yet both birds mysteriously disappeared in series six. In later years, Chandler revealed that they had passed away from old age, however the news was kept from Joey to avoid upsetting him.
The Chick and The Duck Junior (The Last One, Part 1) As Chandler and Monica prepared to move out into the suburbs (sob) Joey presents them with a baby Chick and Duck as a house-warming gift. Chandler tells him to keep them and Joey is delighted, although Joey's plan to add a goose to his menagerie of poultry gets a lukewarm reception.
Tutti the cat (The One With The Blackout) Not only does this pesky feline put paid to Ross’s first attempt to make a move on his beloved Rachel by jumping on him as they stand stargazing on the balcony, but he also introduces his equally irritating owner, Paolo, to the series!
Crapweasel that he is, Paolo then moves in on Rachel, before she ditches him for groping Phoebe. Bye Paolo!
NOTE: The moment Tutti attacks Ross is also memorable for being one of the few times during the entire series in which Phoebe shows any actual musical ability.
Marcel The Monkey (various episodes) Marcel first appears when Ross turns up at Monica’s New Year’s Eve party with him as a date. After becoming Ross’s pet, the capuchin monkey gallivanted about for several series, escaping, humping things and showing an impressive ability to play The Lion Sleeps Tonight on the stereo.
Marcel's outrageous sex drive led Ross to finally accept that his furry pal needed to be with his own kind and he eventually left for San Diego Zoo. Yet that wasn’t his final appearance in the show. After launching a successful career as an animal actor, Marcel returned to New York to film Outbreak 2: The Virus Takes Manhattan, allowing Ross to see him one final time.
Chi Chi the dog (The One With The Thumb) Ross and Monica’s pet dog when they were children, Chi Chi is first mentioned in the first season when Ross discovers that the pup didn’t end up chasing rabbits on the Milner’s idyllic farm in Connecticut, but in fact died.
Later on we also find out that an overweight young Monica used to ride around on Chi Chi’s back. Poor little dude.
Old Yeller (The One Where Old Yeller Dies) While we’re talking ill-fated pooches…
Smelly Cat (Various episodes) The subject of Phoebe’s most famous song, Smelly Cat pops up many times during Friends, yet the sex of the cat has always been something of a mystery. If the song is to be believed, the poor moggy’s smelliness was caused by its diet, yet it wasn’t Smelly Cat’s fault. Etc.
Phoebe taught musician Stephanie Schiffer (played by guest star Chrissie Hynde) to play the song and our favourite masseuse even recorded the song for professional release, although unbeknown to Phoebe, her voice was replaced by that of another (better) singer.
The song was later stolen for a TV jingle by Phoebe’s ex-partner and in later series the origins of the song were revealed when her estranged father explains that he used to sing young Phoebe a lullaby of the same tune called Sleepy Girl.
Rachel’s Lobster (The One With The Prom Video) OK, there are no actual lobsters in Friends (apart from the one or two that turn up in Monica’s restaurant), but who could forget Phoebe’s theory on why Ross and Rachel will end up together…
But to be honest, we just wanted an excuse to post this video. (Excuse us because we have something in our eye...)
Eddie’s goldfish Buddy (The One Where Dr Ramoray Dies, The One Where Eddie Won’t Go) Oh Eddie, what happened? Chandler’s new roommate seemed normal at first, but his relationship was doomed as soon as he revealed he didn’t watch Baywatch, and that was merely the tip of the iceberg.
The fruit-drying, mannequin stealing nutter accused Chandler of sleeping with his girlfriend and killing his fish Buddy, then replaced Buddy with a piece of cracker and named it Chandler!
For his piece de resistance he bought a new goldfish, but stuffed it in his pocket and stormed off. Then he stole all Chandler’s inner soles and refused to move out. In short, one of the finest guest characters ever. What happened to Buddy? Who can say…
Various pigeons (The One With Ross’s Sandwich) Our feathered pals crop up in Friends several times, but their finest appearance is definitely in the episode where someone eats the only good thing going on in Ross’s life.
Mike’s family dog Chappy (The One Where Phoebe Gets Married) You’d have to be a tiny bit weird to fall in love with Phoebe and while he is very loveable, Mike Hannigan certainly is and we love him for it. So when one of his groomsmen drops out of their wedding at the last minute, he decides his family dog should make up the numbers, much to the annoyance of Chandler and Ross, who had both been pathetically vying for the position.
Jellyfish (The One With The Jellyfish) No doubt distracted by Joey’s impressive hole, Monica is caught out by this gelatinous creature while at the beach in the first episode of the fourth series. Luckily Chandler was on hand to pee on the sting.
Phoebe’s Rats (The One With Phoebe’s Rats) When Mike moves into Phoebe’s apartment, he is disgusted to find she has a rat and sets up traps all over the place. Little does he know that Phoebe has actually named the rat Bob, so when he kills him she is devastated.
Yet the couple soon discover Bob was actually a female rat and has had a load of babies. To make up for the death of ‘Bob’, Phoebe vows to look after his babies and carries them around in a shoebox for the rest of the episode.
Dirty girl’s hamster Mitzy (The One with the Dirty Girl) While we’re on rats, let’s talk about Cheryl (dirty girl) an undeniably beautiful, yet slovenly, woman Ross dates in the fourth series. Her apartment would put even the grubbiest student house to shame, so when Ross sees something scurrying around on her floor he kills it.
Luckily when Cheryl – who is played by future X-Men star Rebecca Romijn – arrives back from the kitchen (we dread to think what that looks like) she confirms it wasn’t her hamster, but a rat. That’s OK then.
The bird that gets shot by Gary (The One With The Ball) Phoebe had a good thing going with Gary the cop. They had amazing sex (to Monica’s irritation), he got along with her friends and they decided to move in together after just a couple of episodes.
But the writers obviously didn’t fancy Gary as much as Phoebe did, because they wrote him out in abrupt fashion by having him shoot a bird to stop it chirping. Phoebe, who had been using Gary’s police badge to defend nature when they first met, was less than impressed.
Pat the Dog (various episodes) No soap actor’s gaudy apartment would be complete without a hideous monstrosity such as this. Bought by Joey after he was cast in Days Of Our Lives in the second series, Pat first appears when we see the actor showing his friends around his plush new pad.
The only one of Joey’s possessions not to get carried off by the bailiffs after he is written out of the soap, Pat crops up a few times during the rest of the series. Most notably when Joey and Chandler ride him into the girl’s apartment after winning it in a bet.
TRIVIA: The statue was actually a good luck gift given to Jennifer Aniston on the first day of shooting and producers wanted to use it in the show.
Clunkers the dog (The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs) “Dogs are needy, they are jumpy and you can’t tell what they’re thinking…” explains Chandler as he comes clean to the group about his dislike of dogs in season seven. Yet who wouldn’t like Phoebe’s friend’s dog Clunkers?
The Holiday Armadillo (The One With The Holiday Armadillo) Santa was unavailable so close to Christmas, so poor little Ben has to make do with this part-Jewish mammal that represents him in the southern states of America … and Mexico.
Mrs Whiskerson (The One With The Ball) Costing an eye-watering $1000, Rachel buys this rare sphinx cat because it reminds her of one her grandmother used to have.
Mrs Whiskerson is not a popular addition to the group, with Ross claiming she is 'inside out' and Joey refusing to believe she is a cat at all. Rachel eventually sells this hissing and scratching monstrosity to a besotted Gunther for a tidy profit.
The dog Phoebe runs over (The One With The Bullies) While Chandler and Ross are defending their honour in the coffee shop, Phoebe decides to visit her biological father on the outskirts of the city. However when she gets there a Jack Russell terrier attacks her and she, Joey and Rachel are forced to wait in the car until night falls.
After eventually deciding to return another day, Phoebe accidentally runs the dog over. After taking it to the vet, she returns it and meets her half-brother Frank.
Phoebe’s mum/Julio (The One With The Cat) When a cat named Julio takes a nap in Phoebe’s guitar case, the kooky masseuse is overcome with the feeling that the feline is her long-dead mother reincarnated. One of the many flaws in this theory is that Julio is actually male, but let’s not get into that.
Sharks (The One With The Sharks) When Monica takes a trip to Tulsa to surprise Chandler in season nine, she disturbs him just as he's settling down form some 'personal time'. He quickly changes the channel to some wildlife show and she thinks he has a perverted thing for sharks. Hilarity ensues.
Comedy Central's Friends Fest will begin a six-week tour of the UK at the end of August: Click here for more details
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Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.
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