Posts Tagged ‘bunny issues’

5 things you can do with your rabbit instead of giving him back

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

With the holidays coming up, people are getting their travel plans together, and realizing – “Hey! What am I supposed to do with this rabbit while I’m gone??” Unfortunately this train of thought often leads people to simply return the rabbits to wherever they got them from. Like SaveABunny, for instance. This sucks for us because we don’t have a lot of space, and it sucks for the rabbit because he’s losing his home, his family, and everything he’s gotten used to and started caring about since he was adopted. And it especially sucks for the rabbits that we now can’t take in because we don’t have the space anymore.

So, in an effort to get you or someone you know thinking twice before returning a rabbit (or any pet, really,) here’s some alternatives:

1. Boarding. We offer boarding at SaveABunny. We have a lot of excellent resources on hand to spoil your bunny with while you’re away and all the funds go straight back into saving other bunnies. Learn more about our boarding services here. There are other pet boarding options out there, too, all you have to do is look.

2. Pet-sitting. My boyfriend and I have 2 cats and 2 rabbits, and we’re leaving them in the competent hands of Tales of the Kitty for ten days in January while we’re out of the country. The Bay Area is teeming with pet sitters, and many SaveABunny volunteers either offer a rabbit-sitting service themselves, or know someone who does. Send us an email if you’re curious. If you happen to offer pet-sitting, feel free to leave a post in the comments section so other readers can contact you.

3. Asking a friend. I know how hard this is for some people. No one wants to impose on their friends. But when the choice is asking a friend or giving up the rabbit, just take a second to remember that the space that rabbit takes up in the shelter could easily cost another rabbit her life if we don’t have room for her. Suck it up and ask around – you will probably be surprised about how eager a good friend will be to check in on your adorable bunny rabbit for a few days. Just make sure they know the basics and have the vet’s phone number on hand just in case.

4. Taking him with you. I’ll be honest, most rabbits hate traveling, and if you’re not careful, it can be dangerous for them. But that’s not an excuse to just give him back instead. How bad would it be if you brought an adorable fuzzy bunny home for the holidays? Who could possibly complain about that?

5. Not getting a pet in the first place. When you adopt an animal, you assume responsibility for it’s care. Until it dies. Please think carefully about this before adopting any pet from anyone, ever. If you have doubts about your ability to give a rabbit long-term care, you can donate, foster, volunteer, or sponsor a rabbit instead.

Thanks for listening, and if you do have it in you to foster or adopt this holiday season, Alfalfa, Buckwheat and Spanky are just three of our adorable new rabbits that desperately need a home:

RabbitVision 5000

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

How does a rabbit see the world? Is it blurry? Colorful? Packed with strangely carrot-shaped items? All excellent questions – and I found a great article that answers many of them. (Except the carrot one. Only rabbits will ever know that.) Here’s five facts about RabbitVision you may not have known:

1. Rabbits can’t see directly in front of them. In that picture of Malcolm up top, he’s not looking at the camera. He probably can’t even see the camera. Yet he seems interested in it – as rabbits often do when they seem to be looking at you face forward. What they’re actually doing is using their fine-tuned sense of smell to fulfill a chemical curiosity – not a visual one.

2. Rabbits have basically no depth perception. That’s part of the reason they hate being picked up, and why they’re so tentative about jumping on to/of off new places. The anatomical reason is the same as number 1 – the field of vision in both eyes barely overlaps, because each eye is on the opposite side of the head.

3. Rabbits can see above their heads. Imagine walking down the street and being able to take in a whole skyscraper without straining your neck. That’s basically how your rabbit looks at you from the floor.

4. Rabbits probably can’t see the color red. They seem to only have the receptors to tell blue and green apart. Great for picking out parsley – bad for, um, driving and getting dressed in the morning.

5. Rabbits can’t see fine details as well as you can. That means they mostly identify you by shape, smell, and movement. So when you stumble home on a Sunday afternoon carrying a tweed suitcase and smelling like watered-down airplane vodka, don’t be surprised when he scurries away as soon as you come over to cuddle.

Come fly with me. Away from the litterbox.

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

(Just to let you know in advance, this post is about poo. And flies.)

You know how a cat box will sometimes attract those big fat houseflies that love eating cat poo? Yummy. Anyway, rabbit boxes will sometimes attract cute little fruit flies, because rabbits are cute little vegetarians and have cute little poo. (What, they do.) Of course, fruit flies are still annoying and probably bad for the rabbits to be around, so here’s a rabbit- and environment-safe way to get rid of them:

“At the Oakland shelter, we have used fly traps near the litterboxes (but out
of rabbits’ reach) to control the fruit fly population in the rabbit room.

Here’s a recipe for a very easy, non-toxic fruit fly trap that works (this
is what we use at the shelter):

- 1/4 cup of. Vinegar
- 1/4 cup of Sugar
- Water

Put first 2 ingredients in and put enough water in a jar to make it about
1/2 full and punch a couple holes in the lid.

Let us know if it works for you!”

Extra thanks to our volunteer Anne Martin for the great advice!

Other suggestions included replacing the whole bag of litter, and making sure there’s no composting vegetable matter laying around in house that they could be laying their eggs in. (We all know it happens.)

And to make up for ickyness, here’s Itsy and Bitsy:

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.

This is what happens when you abandon your rabbit in the wild.

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Read the full press release here.

“Oh but it’s just one rabbit,” you say. “Oh but he’ll be happier in the wild running around with cottontails and jackalopes,” you say. “Oh but I’m an irresponsible jerk who didn’t bother to learn about rabbits before getting one and now I can’t keep/afford/stand my rabbit so I’m just gonna drop the little bugger off on the side of the road and forget about him,” you say.

If you’ve ever wondered why we insist on spaying and neutering all our rabbits before we adopt them out, this should give you a pretty good answer. They’re rabbits. They breed. Think about it.

We save bunnies because we like bunnies. Not because we like saving them.

In related news, we really, really need foster homes.

Ever considered fostering? Now might actually be a pretty good time…

Monday, June 29th, 2009

At SaveABunny, we work in partnership with Bay Area shelters and other organizations, taking in rabbits that they don’t have room for or are about to euthanize. But sometimes (way more often than we’d like, in fact,) we don’t have enough room, either.

On Saturday 10 rabbits were rescued by Sonoma County Animal Services. This is from the email we got:

We have 10 rabbits that arrived at the shelter today. We have 6 female
babies, 1 female adult, and 3 male adults (one we were unsure of). The adult
female along with the adult male was in pretty good condition.
Unfortunately the other 8 have severe urine scalding. The 6 babies and the adult lionhead were the worst. We bathed all of the rabbits using bunny bath:) and tried to get as much of the urine off as we could. We didn’t bathe 1 of the
adult males because he seemed to be pretty clean. From what I heard the
scalding was caused because of their horrific living conditions.

The officer that transported them had told me that the cages themselves
looked pretty clean but what the previous owner had done was put a whole bunch
of lettuce in the cage. All the lettuce in the cage was preventing the
urine and feces to drain down to the bottom tray so the rabbits were basically
sitting in the feces and urine.

If you’re wondering what urine scalding is…

this might give you a pretty good idea

this might give you a pretty good idea

Sorry it’s not the most pleasant thing to read about  – but if I only wrote happy blog entries, this would be a severely skewed view of animal rescue.

If you’re in the Bay Area, let us know if you can foster to help us make room for these bunnies. Here are a couple more photos of them:

A little cleaning up, a little medical care...

and a little love - then theyll be ready for adoption.

Bunnies. Don’t eat them. Just… don’t.

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

It goes without saying that SaveABunny does not condone the consumption of bunnies. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to, you know, save them.

So when we see rabbit on the menu at local restaurants, our knee-jerk reaction is to grab the waiter by the apron and cry at him, “How could you??? THEY’RE BUNNIES FOR CHRIST SAKE! BUNNIES!!!” Fortunately we’re able to contain ourselves (most of the time), but unfortunately for those restaurants, we have a blog with which to let out all that pent-up frustration.

Before I go naming names, I’m going to back up a little and try to give this issue a fair analysis. Because it’s not just one or two restaurants – it’s a growing trend. And it’s restaurants we used to like, serving people who care about the same things we do. (Except apparently bunnies.) So what’s the deal?

A report was released by the UN a couple years ago about  how the livestock industry is a larger factor in global warming than transportation. That’s right – you might drive a Prius and carry canvas bags with you to Whole Foods, but if you’re still eating steak, we get to blame you when Florida disappears. (Or was it thank you?)  Now if you haven’t heard about this yet, it’s not because I’m making it up – it’s because no one cares. The agriculture industry is in the pockets of every politician between Fresno and – well, anyway, I’m not here to rant. I’m here to talk about bunnies. My point is, it’s the high-end, organic, local-produce-touting restaurants that are serving rabbit – because it’s more eco-friendly than beef. Which sucks because we liked the high-end, organic, local-produce-touting restaurants. I mean come on, we’re based in Marin.

I can’t really argue with their reasoning – I’ve mentioned how eco-friendly rabbits are before. I might even be flattered that I somehow influenced their decision – if they weren’t TOTALLY MISSING THE POINT AND KILLING THEM INSTEAD OF LOVING THEM.

What I can do is say this, to all of you who might go to these restaurants or work in them or even own them:

1. “Meat rabbits” are not somehow different than pet rabbits. Many of the rabbits we rescue were bred and raised for meat, and they are loving, affectionate, intelligent creatures who make wonderful pets.

2. “Eco-friendly” does not mean cruelty-free. The rabbits raised for meat at these restaurants spend their lives in tiny cages, live short, unstimulating lives, and simply get culled when they get sick. They never get to run free, hop in the grass, stretch out in the sun, dig a hole, chew up a phonebook, do binkies on a fluffy bedspread, have their ears groomed by another bunny, or grow old. They’re born, they spend some time in a cage, and then they die. That’s it.

3. Rabbits are intelligent, social animals, who live ten years or more. They learn tricks, have unique personalities, and form lasting bonds with each other, with humans, and with other pets.

4. The real eco-friendly option is to not eat meat at all. As illustrated by the UN report on agriculture that I mentioned earlier.

On that note, the restaurants we no longer go to because they serve bunnies can be found here.

If you know of any others, send ‘em over.

It should really be, “Get neutered like rabbits.”

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

You’ve heard the phrase “breed like rabbits”. It’s not exactly a good thing. In fact at SaveABunny, we know just how counter-productive a rabbit’s skill at reproduction can be – we save the cute, yet unwanted consequences from shelters every day. This is the main reason we neuter all our rescues, and recommend neutering for all pet rabbits. But there are other reasons, too – ones that other kinds of pet owners don’t have to worry about.

When I got my first rabbit, Ellis, from SaveABunny a few months ago, he was already nuetered – and he’s extremely well-behaved. Of course, I didn’t have anything to compare him to until I got my second bunny, Linda. She was just starting that obnoxious teenage phase when I got her, hormones raging. As social animals, rabbits go through developmental stages similar to the way dogs do, and if you’ve ever had an adolescent puppy (which I did, briefly,) you’ll understand how hard it is to train a young rabbit.

Let’s just say I’ve gone through a lot of stain remover since I got her. I’ll admit I’ve also been kind of lazy about following the training guide and doing it properly. But I got her right before Thanksgiving and the whole holiday season just makes me want to hide away in a dark closet and drink. No excuse though. I’m just a mediocre bunny-keeper. But the point is that rabbits are harder to litterbox train before they get neutered no matter how mediocre or determined you are.

Plus, female rabbits have a distressing tendency to get cancer if they’re not neutered. It’s the downside of that amazing ability to produce offspring.

Linda finally had her spay appointment yesterday, which means 1. I’m really excited to see if she’s easier to train now, and 2. I can tell you how it went so you’re prepared when you take your bunny in. Girl bunny, of course. Can’t tell ya how it went with Ellis, cause I didn’t know him then.

Firstly, the vet asked me to stop feeding her at 10 the night before. I then totally forgot to take the hay out of her pen and when I came out in the morning, she was munching away. After some cursing, I called the vet to see if it would be ok, and she said they could just do her last and it would be fine.

UPDATE: As it turns out, rabbits should NOT be fasted before surgery. If your vet, (or veterinary assistant, in my case,) tells you to fast your rabbit, it would be a really good idea to let them know, and maybe start looking for a new vet. Thanks to our readers for commenting on this and letting us know! But back to the story.

So I dropped her off, declined the vet’s offer to tell me exactly what they were going to do to her in the procedure (sorry, in retrospect it would have been nice for this blog, but I hadn’t eaten yet, and I’m not super functional mentally before 11), and went to work. They called me after lunch to tell me it had gone well and that she was fine. Yay!

When I picked her up after work, they gave me some pain meds for her and said to make sure she is eating and pooping.

Eating: check.

Pooping: check.

Pain meds: What the – they sort of look like syringes but they’re oral? I was pretty certain these were a terrible idea and she would never go for it, but apparently metacam is delicious and giving it to her was really easy.

The only real problem was that when I brought her home, Ellis decided she was no longer cool enough to be his friend now that she was missing an internal organ, and started chasing her around and biting her. Soooo yeah. Had to keep them separated for a few days. They’re mostly friends again now though. Note to self: take advice of blog comments! I should have stuffed him in the carrier with her and made him spend the day at the vet, too, then at least they would both smell equally funny to each other.

So, Linda is doing well, she has a funny shaved spot on her belly and a big ugly scar, but time is especially good at healing those kinds of wounds. I’ll let you know if her manners improve.

One last thing though. At SaveABunny, we spay and neuter all of our rescues, and that bill adds up fast. Really fast. But by doing it, we help make sure shelters everywhere end up less crowded. We have a whole slew of new rabbits that we’re scheduling appointments for, so if you can help out, please donate! Even small amounts make a big difference. Thanks!

Golf clubs, please, tax away. But vet bills? Really?

Monday, November 24th, 2008

I’d like you to take a moment and read this quote from the website of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s a new proposition for offsetting California’s financial hardships:

Broadening the Sales and Use Tax to Include Certain Services:  Effective February 1, 2009, the sales and use tax rate will be applied to appliance and furniture repair, vehicle repair, golf, and veterinarian services.  Effective March 1, 2009, the sales and use tax rate will be applied to amusement parks and sporting events.  This is expected to generate additional General Fund sales tax revenue of $357 million in 2008-09.

Oh, ok, well it is a recession and everythi- wait, he wants to tax veterinarian services????

Now, from the point of view of someone who has probably only ever owned several-thousand-dollar, purebred animals, if any, I can see how maybe a pet seems like a luxury. It doesn’t make him a good pet owner if he sees them that way, but I can see some logic in the train of thought, at least.

But how many people paying vet bills see their animals as a luxury? And that’s what this means – under California law, pets will become a luxury, because in order to have a pet, it must be properly taken care of or you could be fined or arrested for animal cruelty or neglect. And properly taken care of means shots, neutering, check-ups, and care into old age.

By Schwarzenegger’s logic, foster and adopted children are a luxury. Aging parents who we choose to care for and bring into our homes are a luxury. Disabled siblings and spouses who we choose to support are a luxury.

Not only is this proposal poorly thought out, it’s discriminatory, classist, and inhumane.

Sign a petition through PetPAC or learn more about what you can do through Social Compassion in Legislation.

I try to keep this blog politically neutral, but this is an issue that directly effects everyone in California who has a pet or is thinking about getting a pet, and morally, it should effect everyone, everywhere who has ever cared for another living being. So I hope you can forgive me this once.

I also have some contention with the vehicle repair bit, but that’s just unrelated.

Rabbit vs. Litterbox

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

As anyone who has been around rabbits for more than half an hour knows, our furry little friends are extremely effecient at filling their main ecological niche: turning plants into fertilizer.

But we love them anyway. That’s why it can be so frustrating trying to litterbox train them. Litterbox training a rabbit is a process mostly unique from what other pet owners go through, in some ways easier and in some ways harder.

Easier, because rabbits are weirdly OCD. Once they start doing something a certain way, they keep doing it that way. So the trick is to get them to do want you want.

And it’s harder, because getting a rabbit to do what you want is completely impossible.

So how do you do it? Honestly I’m still not sure. I’ll share what I read, and what I attempted, but in the end, I’m convinced my rabbit just ended up litterbox training himself.

The first thing I unpacked when I moved to Albuquerque was my new bunny friend, Ellis Jose Francisco. I let him out of his icky cage that smelled like a three-day road trip, deciding then and there that I never wanted to put him back in it. Since I hadn’t exactly told management that I was going to have a small animal running around the house all day, I decided to keep him out of sight in my bedroom. Plus, I was lonely.

I put down a little rug, on which I placed his litterbox, some hay, and a water dish.

He promptly peed in the corner. So, having remembered that the litterbox should usually just go where the rabbit likes to go, I cleaned the pee and placed the box directly on top of the soapy spot.

He peed in box. All was good! Until I wasn’t looking. Then he peed in the other corner.

Not having two litterboxes for him, I cleaned it up and hoped for the best. That didn’t work out too well.

You see, rabbits are very territorial. They mark exactly where they think their home is. And there’s no mistaking it once they do. Fortunately, I had modern veterinary medicine on my side and he was nuetered. (As every adopted rabbit should be!) This not only made him less hormonally inclined to pee everywhere, but it made his pee smell better, too. Relatively.

I realized that after having free run of my room, he’d decided it was, in fact, his room.

I should explain that at this time, I also came down with a nasty sinus infection. I was barely capable of driving to Target to buy Puffs, much less developing a litterbox strategy. Little Ellis Jose peed wherever he wanted, including on my bed, (fortunately I was sleeping on an air mattress, which only required a sheet change and brief scrub with an eco-friendly cleaning wipe,) and all I could do was cough negatively at him.

As a side note, please don’t tell my building management this story. That would be bad for me.

While stuffing my only bottom sheet into the washing machine for the third time in two days, I glanced down at the cage. I’d stashed it in the laundry room until I figured out which key opened the outside storage closet. (Turns out, none of them open it! I’m still waiting for that one.) Since I couldn’t smell anything anyway, I momentarily convinced myself it was fine, and brought it into the bedroom. The litterbox went inside. It was a terrible arrangement, however, and I ended up putting everything and the rabbit on a mat in the laundry room.

This actually worked really well. Since my laundry room has laminate floors that are impossible for furry little bunny feet to gain traction on, Ellis Jose stayed entirely on the mat. I opened the cage door so he could come and go (so to speak) as he pleased. He consistently peed in the litterbox, and almost solely pooped in it so long as I kept it clean.

But just to be safe, I resorted to the one thing I always dread resorting to: Instructions.

That’s right, when you adopt a bunny from SaveABunny, you get an instruction booklet. At least I did. I think it’s $2 extra, but if Marcy has anything to do with it, you’ll end up with one whether you asked or not.

Just as I’d hoped, there were two pages about litterbox training in there. Since a) it’s an entire two pages, and b) you should really put down the two bucks for a copy, I won’t recount everything I read in there. But I’ll share what was most valuable to my experience:

1. Your rabbit needs a place that’s just his. (An icky, road-trip-smellin’ carrier cage does the trick in a pinch – just, uh, try to clean it first. And DON’T put faux-sheepskin liner mats in the washing machine. It won’t be pretty. Trust me.) In order to make your rabbit feel like the place is just his, it’s essential that you not force him in or out of it. If he’s not already terrified of the place, it’s pretty easy to herd him into it. Do that if you need to. I just leave the cage door open with a tiny mat clipped to it, and it makes a nice ramp. He goes in there when he’s mad, scared, bored, or (yay!) has to pee.

2. Keeping some hay in the litterbox seems to help.

3. Be patient. I can’t tell you how to do this. I failed. But I’m sure things will work out better if you can pull it off.

4. Keep the litterbox clean. Seriously. I change it almost every day but it’s extremely worth it. It’s good for about two or three pees and then he stops using it.

The laundry room situation lasted about five days. I ended up feeling bad for him because the mat he had was so small, and he couldn’t get any sunlight (which, I don’t know about him, but is very important for my mental health,) and he looked really bored all the time. I gave him two paper bags to play with (more on those in a future blog), and I laid down a table cloth for him to get across the kitchen to the living room where he could run around, but he stopped using it after the first time and refused to leave his tiny mat. I had to find a better way.

On my first day at my new job, I found a giant stack of carpet tile scraps. If you’re not familiar with this seeming oxymoron, a carpet tile is a rubber tile, in regular tile size and shape, with carpet on one side. Carpet = traction. Rubber = pee-proof.

I made off with half of them. The receptionist gave me a funny look on my way out the door, but I had a plan! Sort of.

After trying many positions and layouts and many variations on those positions and layouts, I ended up with a carpet-tiled area in the living room, under a window, with ample room for the cage carrier in the corner, chew toys, paper bags, hay, a water dish, and even a little bit of hopping around. The plan was to get an x-pen to put around the area, but by the time I was finished with my creation, the pet store was closed, so, with high hopes but low expectations, I just let Ellis Jose run free in the living room for the time being. It’s not like I had any furniture yet anyway. I had one lamp, but the cord and plug were strategically hidden behind two boxes. And I had plenty of eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner.

After some momentary confusion, Ellis Jose became a very happy bunny. He now had the entire living room to run around in! And because he was happy, and he hadn’t peed on the floor yet, I was happy too.

I let him run free while I was gone the next day at work, thinking I would stop at PetSmart for an X-pen on the way home. I forgot, of course. But when I got home, my carpet was happily pee-free. He had somehow become litterbox trained.

I ended up buying an x-pen anyway for when the washing machine repair person gets here. I haven’t used it yet – which is both good and bad.

So take what you will from my story, if you managed to find anything worthwhile. Every bunny is different, so if you find something else that works, by all means go with it. And share, please!

Or if all else fails, read the instructions.