Archive for September, 2009

6 things you’d better get used to.

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

So you get a rabbit. He’s adorable (duh, he’s a rabbit), he does cute things every freaking day, he’s learned to use a litterbox, and you’ve got him conditioned to perk up his ears and come running every time he hears the vegetable crisper slide open. But there’s still some things that aren’t exactly perfect. Will he ever be the ideal pet you imagined when you first thought of getting a bunny? No. You can throw out that idea right now. Some things just take time and patience and effort, and of course we love our furry funny friends for all their flaws, but some things will probably never, ever, ever change.

1. Poop. It happens. Some rabbits are more polite than others, some have fantastic litterbox manners, most will keep their pee strictly in the box, but no matter what, expect to keep finding one or two little rabbit pellets rolling around somewhere forever. The good news is bunny poo is really clean. No joke, I looked at some under a microscope the other day and it looks exactly like what they eat. Actually, it’s significantly less messy than what they eat. Which brings me to number 2 -

2. Freaking hay freaking everywhere. My boyfriend found hay on the floor near his desk this morning. At work. Twenty-six miles away. The good news is if someone points out that you have a piece of it in your hair, you can finally use that line about the farmer’s daughter you thought up in college.

3. Jerkface co-workers making hasenfeffer jokes.

4. Rejection. No matter how many times people (and rabbits) tell me rabbits don’t like being picked up, I still wanna pick them up every time I see them. This has resulted in the rabbits running away every time I reach for them, even if I just wanna give them a little nose rub. If you have that rare bunny that likes being picked up – be freaking nice to that bunny.

5. Paranoia. Rabbits are experts at destroying things. Including their own digestive systems. You will learn to watch out for carpet nibbling, carpet digging, cords laying within reach, shoes laying within reach, houseplants that you thought for sure were out of reach, and bite marks on anything from scented candles (which by the way kill) to spider plants (which rabbits have no qualms about killing).

6. Being wrong. “They won’t jump up there. It’s too high.” Wrong. “They wouldn’t eat that, it’s not even food.” Wrong. “They won’t go in the cat box. It smells like predators.” Wrong. “They won’t escape from that pen. I used like four million clips.” Wrong. You get the point.

Despite these things, it’s impossible not to love our little lagomorphs – and even harder not to brag about how awesome they are and what wonderful pets they make.

By the way, my rabbits are completely awesome.

Cats + rabbits 4eva (or: Stop licking my eyeball, you sandpaper-tongued freak.)

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

We love kitties. We love bunnies. But what happens when we want our little fearsome predators and our little gentle herbivores to coexist? Horrible, horrible things? Love at first site? General awkwardness? Cuddles?

My boyfriend Gary and I decided to try it out. He has two cats, Wallis and Tibault, and I have two rabbits, Ellis and Linda. I had received the seal of approval from both of his cats, and he had received the seal of only-mild-disapproval from my rabbits. (Which is about where they rank me.) So, we decided to move in together.

Then he confessed his fear of the blood-drenched horror that could ensue. He, like many a cat owner, had seen his fluffy friends do unspeakable things to smaller animals. I tried to reassure him by telling him I wouldn’t write off the bunnies so fast – they’ve got some sharp teeth themselves, and those back legs could probably gut an inexperienced attacker. Somehow, this only made his vision of the worst-case scenario even more ghastly.

I asked around. Marcy, the founder of SaveABunny, has cats herself, and while she doesn’t let them near the rescue buns, the cats and the rabbits she lives with seem to coexist peacefully. Several of the other SaveABunny volunteers also have cats. The all-around advice was to take it slow and keep an eye on them.

The day Ellis and Linda and I moved in, we decided to keep the bunnies in the bedroom with the door shut and allow minimal contact. Better safe than sorry. “Right?” “Right.” “Right.” “Ah, what the hell, let’s throw ‘em in together and see what happens!”

We took it one cat at a time, in the smallest room of the house – the bathroom.

If they could all speak English, it would have sounded something like this:

Ellis: “Hey, a corner. I like corners. Yay.”

Linda: “Ooh, a laundry basket. Neat! Hey what’s that?”

Enter Wallis.

Wallis: “Holy crap what are those things?!?!”

Gary: “Wallis, these are rabbits. That’s Ellis, and that’s Linda.”

Linda: “Hi! I’m a rabbit!”

Wallis: “Gary where did you find these unspeakable abominations?! And why did you bring them into my house?!”

Linda: “You smell funny.”

Wallis: “God why do they hop like that???? I can’t take it!”

Exit Wallis. Enter Tibault.

Tibault: “Hey guys, I’m here. What’s up?”

Me: “Tibs, these are my rabbits. Ellis and Linda. Bunnies, meet Tibault. We call him Tibs for short.”

Linda: “Oh hi! You smell funny too. Hey look it’s Ellis!”

Ellis: “I do indeed like corners. The darker the better.”

Linda: “Oooh, I wonder what’s behind the toilet!”

Tibs: “Bunnies you say. Hmm. I’m a cat!”

Fast forward three months. Wallis has finally stopped fleeing the room every time she sees a rabbit. Ellis approaches the cat situation like he approaches most situations, with mild disapproval. Linda, after an initially strong curiosity about the cats, now mostly ignores them. Tibs, the attention whore of the family, has had a hard time accepting the unwillingness of the rabbits to either play with him or let him lick their eyeballs, which for some reason are irresistible to him. Gary and I are trying to resist the temptation to fit just one more adorable rescued animal in our one-bedroom condo. The answer, according to both physics and the homeowner’s association, is always no.

Overall, the cat-rabbit experiment has gone significantly better than our worst expectations, and significantly better than my previous dog-rabbit experiment. We keep trying to get all the animals to cuddle together on the bed, but so far no luck. I promise I’ll post a picture if it ever happens. So far I just have these:

Tibs: "Let's play! I'll be the cat, and you be the rabbit."

Ellis: "How about you be the cat, and I'll be over here."

Ellis: "Don't. Go anywhere. Near. The eyeball."

Tibs: "Dammit. Why does he thump at me every time I try to wash his eyeballs?"

A sort of harmony. Note: Wallis is nowhere to be seen.