Monthly Archives: September 2011

Helping Your Living Rabbit Handle the Death of his Bonded Pair

When my rabbit Meadow lost his best friend Cinnabun, this was a new field for me. I’d had rabbits before but always one at a time. Cinnabun died suddenly, and without cause, so naturally I was very worried about how Meadow would do without him.

I did some immediate reading on how to help Meadow cope with Cinnabun’s death and the first thing I found was from a vet who specialized in rabbits. He suggest I take Cinnabun’s body and show it to Meadow. It was awful and really difficult to do this, but Meadow hopped over, sniffed his dear friend, and said his goodbye (fairly quickly) and hopped away. And that was that. He knew he was dead and this way, would not be “waiting” for him to get back. If it’s not too late for you to do this step, I suggest it.

That first night, I slept in Meadow’s room. Camped out on the floor, left his cage open so he could be with me and have a cuddle buddy if he needed it, or give him the option of just being by himself. I don’t quite remember which he chose, but I think it made me feel a little better and get a bit of sleep, which I know I would have got none of staring at the ceiling in my bedroom.

The next few days I was a mess. We did a nice funeral for Cinnabun. For Meadow, we gave LOTS OF LOVE, HUGS, and of course TREATS. Lots  and lots of treats. And my Meadow loves massages, so lots of those too. I tried to be with him as much as possible. And again, I think it was more for me. I am not sure how animals grieve but I tend to think my animals have personalities and are smart, so I am sure he was sad. When I am sad, I don’t like to be alone, so I gave Meads lots of love and attention. For days, weeks, and months. Me and him. If his best buddy had to leave him, I certainly wasn’t going to. We both were going to be okay.

….And you will. You will all be okay. You, your family, your children, your other bunny. I can still think about my very first bunny Rabby and how I threw myself on the cage after she died, weeping. I can still remember how hard my mother and especially my father took her death. She was a great pet and she gave us all such happy family memories, it is still hard to think about her and not get sad.

As far as moving on and finding him a new buddy, make sure this is something you want to do. Because it may or may NOT work out. Seriously. For me, it didn’t, the first time around. ( I wouldn’t do it any sooner than 6 months, if you are thinking of it  – Please let your family and your rabbit properly grieve. ) Anyway, after about 6 months, we got a lop and turns out big ol’ lops aren’t the most lovey-dovey. Meadow is a European dwarf and ended up going from the dominant in his relationship with Cinnabun to the submissive with our big lop Blackberry. It didn’t work and honestly I was not about to put poor Meadow, who lost his best buddy, through being tortured into a submissive position. So these 2 had to be separated. You can read my other article about how to try and bond pairs and how it may not work – and also my other article on how I got my “engagement bunny” Bobby Carats, and how well he is working out with Meadow. Lucky for me, second time was a charm and lightning struck twice for my Meadow, who is now happy and cuddling with a new buddy. It’s a relief and I feel it was heaven sent for him from Cinnabun.

XO

Rabbit Litter Pan Training Made Easy

STEP 1: Rabbits instinctively use a specific corner of their cage as a toilet. Watch carefully for which corner your pet uses. Attach the litter pan in this corner.

*TIP* Discourage your pet rabbit from using the other corners by placing a bed in one corner, a water bottle in one corner, and a food dish in the remaining corner.

STEP 2: Place litter in the bottom of the little pan. (I like to use the small bits of recycled paper they sell. I have experimented with all different types of litter but my rabbits like this best because sometime they can read (haha I mean chew!) a small bit of paper while they “go”. Lock the littler pan in the predetermined spot.

*TIP* During the litter training process, to insure recognition of the litter pan as the toilet, place a small amount of your rabbits wet bedding and droppings in the litter pan on a daily basis. This will help your recognize this as the spot to use!

STEP 3: Routinely clean the litter pan. I put in just enough to soak up a few days urine, and clean the pan twice-three times a week. This way the room never gets smelly and also my rabbit’s bottoms are always nice and dry. If you have rabbits like mine, sometimes they like to sit in the litter pan for awhile, or even mini-nap!

*TIP* Don’t use strong cleaners on the littler pan. The toilet needs to smell like their toilet. If you empty the litter and change it routinely, you can just do one major actual cleaning of the litter pan a month and that should be fine.

Good Luck!

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How to Bond Pet Rabbits

My bunny Meadow was bonded for years to Cinnabun. They were truly best friends. Then Cinnabun passed away. Later, we fell in love with Blackberry and thought we would try to bond the 2. It was short-lived and Blackberry did not seem like the type of bunny who actually liked other bunnies. Now, months later, with my engagement, a new bunny, Bobby Carats, came to be a member of our family. Knowing what we know about Meadow, how loving he is, and how he has bonded before, we thought we’d give it another try. AND IT WORKED!

Bonding your bunnies is a nice thing to do, if you can. While you are at work, they will have a friend to pass time with, cuddle with, share food with, play with. I mean, imagine living a life alone in a cage with no friends?! Sounds awful to me. Unfortunately, sometimes, like with Blackberry, one bunny does not have a temperament conducive to bonding.

There is no guarantee your bunnies will bond, but it  is worth a try. It has now worked for me twice. So here are some HELPFUL BONDING STEPS  that may help your rabbit bond with another buddy.

1. Make sure both bunnies are fixed. In both my cases, I had one bunny first, fixed, alone for a few months. Then I decided to get a second a few months later. Keeping them separate from the very start, I only introduced them weeks after the second had been fixed and was well recovered from surgery.

2. Introduce the bunnies in small doses of time, in a neutral space. Neutral space can be a room they have both never been in, or even a bathtub.

3. Do this for a few weeks. It will definitely take some patience, but it is important.

4. Keep the bunnies living quarters separate, but move them closer. Since Meadow lives in a hutch I put the hutch separator in and let the other bunny live on the other side. This way they get to know one another, and after a while, they long for the separator to be taken out, so they can finally lay together! If you don’t have a hutch with these capabilities, stick their cages right next to one another.

5. If things are looking good, try them together, supervised of course! Maybe put out a nice treat of parsley for them to sit and share, and see how this first, longer dinner meeting goes!

Trick:  A trick that works is to bond bunnies over a “scary event”. Put them in a carry case together and take them on a bumpy car ride, or run the vaccuum with them out. Sometimes it takes a scary event to bring humans together, so there is no reason this couldn’t work for rabbits.

Helpful Tip: Give bunnies separate poop stations. With both situations I have been in, the bunnies seemed to like to have separate places to do their business! It may keep the peace!