A new pet craze is set to sweep the world, thanks to the miracles of genetic engineering.

Catsnakes, which are artificially bred hybrids of cats and snakes, have generated significant hype on social media since their existence was revealed in a surprise announcement today. Many celebrities have already signed up to buy one, signalling the likelihood that the pets will be popular when they hit the market at the end of April.

“The appeal lies in the novelty,” explains Jane Denton from Scene Magazine, which follows consumer trends. “Cats are passé. Snakes are for weird men with Satanic tattoos and an overenthusiasm for serial killer documentaries. But catsnakes? That’s new, that’s different, and people like that. Any self-respecting social media influencer isn’t going to miss out on the newest thing. They want to be ahead of the curve, and catsnakes are definitely ahead of the curve.”

It’s a view that’s shared by the catsnakes’ creator, Dr Graham Pearson.

“Catsnakes represent the next phase in pet trends,” says the geneticist, who led the research team that developed the animal amalgams at the Foundation of Organic Orientation Laboratories. “Catsnakes combine the loyalty of a cat with the cuddliness of a snake. They make excellent family pets, as well as draught excluders. I predict that within the next five years, one in three homes will have a pet catsnake.”

You might wonder how it’s even possible to mix a cat with a snake, but the process is easier than you might expect:

“It was a joke, to begin with,” says Dr Pearson. “It was a slow afternoon, and one of the guys wondered if we could cross a cat with a snake, just for a laugh. So we gave it a shot, and to our surprise it worked. So we had this catsnake sort of slithering around the lab for a week. Then some of the guys from the Artificial Intelligence department saw it and asked if they could buy it. That was when I got the idea to make more and market them as a new pet. It took off almost overnight. I reckon I’ve taken over fifty thousand pre-orders already. I’ve had calls from major celebrities, and some high profile politicians. I won’t name names, but you’ll definitely have heard of them. This thing is getting big.”

However, not everybody is on board with the latest craze.

“It’s a total abomination,” says Lucy Jessop, of the advocacy group Help Outlaw Animal Xperimentation. “Cats and snakes were not meant to be bred together. This is cruelty masquerading as progress. It’s rampantly unethical. Why would anybody choose to buy one of these things, when they could get a more ethical pet like a cute little pug, or a teacup dog? I don’t get it. Catsnakes are just weird. What kind of madness is this?”

But Dr Pearson isn’t concerned.

“For a long time now, humans have been artificially engineering pets through selective breeding. The only reason this hasn’t happened sooner is simply because the technology hasn’t been there. I’ve had a minority of complaints, but most people just don’t care. It might be a tad unethical, but when you’re making money like this, everybody wants to hop on the gravy train. Who’s going to stop me, eh? Nobody, that’s who.”

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