I have never had a bunny "wabbit" until now in my old age. And yet I thank God for this experience because hopefully, sharing it at Eastertime, it will stop unthinking parents from buying a live baby rabbit or chick for their children as an Easter gift. Trust me - a chocolate bunny or chick or a stuffed one is a much better gift and even more-a loving and compassionate one. A family down the street had gotten one for Easter a couple of years ago.
And yes, they said it was a mistake. Now the poor bunny was relegated to a small cage on their porch until
they could find someone to adopt him or her. I never found out what happened to the bunny. I think I was too
afraid to ask. Why hadn't I offered to take him? I guess having 7 cats and a dog seemed quite enough for me at the time.
This past year Monica told me that there was a one-eyed "throwaway" bunny in her yard and he had been helping himself all summer and fall to the largese of her vegetable garden. Since Monica and her kids love animals - they didn't mind sharing their veggies with him. But now it was December and I told her that if they could catch him, we should take him to the no-kill APL in Cleveland because this was no wild bunny but a domestic one, and winter time was no place for him to be out and about.
She agreed, and though bunnies are not easy to handle or catch for that matter, Martin, her teenage son, was able to snag him. They put him in their large cat carrier and brought him to my place temporarily until the snowy weather subsided and Monica et all could drive him to the APL. Sharon Harvey, the director is such a pleasant and wonderful woman. We are very lucky to have her. I had e-mailed her earlier re my concerns about "Jack" and asked would he be safe and cared for at the APL. She said -yes and not to worry. So, now we just had to determine when we would make the trek and notify the APL to schedule a date.
Well, I kept on telling Monica each time I saw her that we should really take Jack soon, until one day I was hooked and said-no, we can't take him because I've decided to keep him. I think she was secretly pleased and relieved. Now, there was a lot of learning for me to do in order to keep Jack vibrant, healthy, and happy.
Now three or four months later, I've learned some things about bunnies. First, even though they look cuddly, THEY DON'T LIKE TO BE HELD. At least this is the case with most of them, though I have heard of exceptions. Perhaps with little bunnies its different. I don't know -but little bunnies do grow up, and my Jack also doesn't like to be held.
We all love "little and cuddly" and this sadly brings to mind a former young man who was my neighbor for a short time. He just loved his little puppy, but as she grew, he became disenchanted with her, and even remarked that she grew up too quickly. This led to neglect of "Lanie" who finnally ran off. She was later found pregnant in a shelter. I had told him about early spaying and even offered to help with the expenses. Sadly, he was neither thoughtful or compassionate in this regard. I also loaned him my large cage so that Lanie would not destroy his apartment when he was at work. It was never returned to me even though I asked the landlord after he moved about it. He said it was gone.
One reason I had hestitated keeping Jack was that my partly finished basement was the home to 5 cats. Could Jack be safe with them or they with him? I began searching the internet and was getting mixed messages about rabbits and cats living together. Well, I was very grateful to Lily, a friend, who before she died, had given me two large cages. Now, I was able to put them together and found that this provided ample room for Jack to move freely between them.
And so now -how to feed Jack. I made mistakes as would anyone who isn't smart enough to check with the internet first. We all imagine rabbits eating carrots. What about frozen broccoli? Well, that wasn't too smart. Bunnies like raw veggies- not cooked ones. I had placed a little pyrex dish of cooked broccoli in his cage. He promptly turned it over! However, I soon found out that he often did this to get food out of the containers I placed before him when it proved difficult to reach. My little bunny had NO table manners. Just kidding - this is the way they are, and I still have much to learn. I placed a little soft throw rug in the cage with him and he soon started to tear it apart. Ummm. I guess he should have hay or straw in his cage. Yes, I'm still working on this and need to get a rabbit book or do more searching on the internet. When I lay newspaper down - he just loves tearing it apart. My bunny is a "slob." But a handyman seeing him just said -"Yes, that's just the way they are."
I learned that you should never give bunnies lettuce because it could kill them. Who knew? Well, Jack now gets some rabbit pellets and an assortment of veggies and fruits. I have a 3 compartment plastic dish. Into one goes a half a cup of rabbit pellets. Into the larger section go parsley, broccoli (fresh) cabbage, a carrot chunk and a brussel sprout if I have any. In the fruit "compartment" goes some apple, pear, banana, and a dried apricot. I found his favorite veggie is parsley and his favorite fruit is a dried apricot. The "verdict" on the pellets is still out but I'm sure he likes them even though sometimes I find some of them on the other side of the cage.
As for cleaning his litter box- because of the "watery" veggies and fruits, one small corner of the box is saturated with his urine. I also see little sparkling black pellets of waste throughout the box. Everything is scooped up with
my handy scooper and pail.
From time to time I disengage the two cages and let Jack "explore." The cats and he already have peered and sniffed at each other - so now it's more of an opportunity for exercise and "exploring" though there isn't that much to explore in this closed off part of the basement.
So, if any prospective buyers of Easter bunnies has learned something from this post which will deter them from buying live bunnies or chicks for Easter, I am happy. Of couse, I failed to mention that the likelihood for suffering to them is also very real if the buyers just throw them out to the elements when they and their children tire of them. How much better to buy a cuddly stuffed bunny or a tasty chocolate one rather then a live one who
might- because of callous disregard be tossed out to suffer on their own. Their lives are precious to them as ours are to us.