Hoppy days are here! Kevin and I adopted a Dutch rabbit last week. His name is Leo which must be Dutch for "adorable" bc that's exactly what he is. We saw him on petfinder around mid-December and first made contact with the rescue group, Hug-a-Bunny, then.
We applied and were approved. Since this was a first bun for either of us, we had -- and still have -- to do some research on rabbits. Jamie from Hug-a-Bunny is super helpful about educating us so that we can properly care for our handsome Leo. We got all the accoutrements that the well appointed bun requires and set up his home. Jamie brought him here this past Friday.
We could have gone there or met somewhere in the middle, but Jamie offered to bring him here and I was glad to take her up on that offer. If we were adopting a cat, I wouldn't think twice about bringing it home ourselves. But this is our first bun and I wanted an experienced rabbit person to see the cage we'd set up, give us some in-person advice, show us how to properly handle Leo, etc.
Here he is in his cage:
The white triangle in the corner is his bed and the grey box in the other corner (he's sitting in it) is his litterbox. We understood that he had very good litterbox habits, but he seemed to get confused between his bed and his litterbox so we've since switched those two things around and put some fabric in the bed. That seems to have done the trick.
Here the incumbent roomie is checking him out:
We had been thinking about getting a bun for a while and then thought about a bun as a roommate for Pinchita, who's confined to that room bco her feline leukemia positive status. Pinchi is very cuddly with us and she's curious about the cats that she knows are on the other side of her door. When we saw her in Aruba, she often hung out quite companionably with a black cat friend. We thought she might do well with a roommate.
Of course, we could have gotten another feline leukemia positive cat. The thing with that is that our Edison is currently on Prozac for inappropirate urination (aka marking) and over-aggression. A new cat might well be too stressful for him. Plus, there's no guarantee that Pinchi and this new cat would get along. So, believe it or not, we decided not to get another cat.
So we decided to cruise petfinder for a cat-loving or at least cat-tolerant rabbit. Leo interacted successfully with cats in two foster homes. I'm a sucker for special needs animals so Leo caught my eye immediately just bco that. Well, that, and his classic good looks. His special need is that he needs his greens chopped up small. Rabbits are rodents and, as such:
All of the teeth grow continuously throughout the rabbit's life, and are kept worn down by the action of chewing and grinding of tooth against tooth. Rabbits do not require sticks or other items to chew in order to keep the teeth at the proper length, because the teeth take care of themselves by grinding against each other whenever the rabbit is eating.
That info is from the very helpful House Rabbit Society website. Anyway, Leo was born with maloccluded incisors, that is, his incisors were all out of whack. This made it very difficult for him to eat greens properly. House rabbits need to have their continuously growing incisors trimmed every 6-8 weeks. Hug-a-Bunny decided to have the incisors surgically removed such that they'd never grow back. This literally removed the problem teeth, but it did mean that he would need small bits of greens. That's not a problem at all bc we often chop greens up for the chickens.
Now, Leo wasn't eating greens or dried grasses very much. It's thought that his original owners might have only offered him pellets due to ease of use and so he never developed a taste for it and/or perhaps greens and grasses are now too foreign to him. If I understand his history correctly, he could eat the pellets with his funky teeth, but a pellets-only diet is not optimal.
I'm very happy to report that we've witnessed with our very own eyes Leo eating greens! He's not chowing down on them, but he is eating some, which is good news for him. I don't think he's eating any dried grasses; it's hard to tell if any is gone from the feeder. We try him with different greens, depending on what we have on hand.
He also likes fruit, but that's strictly limited due to its sugar content.
This is a very happy Kevin with his new bun:
Leo and Pinchi seem to be doing very well. Pinchi was very, very curious about Leo the first day or so. We supervised their first times together to see how they get on. Leo noodled around the room, seemingly oblivious to Pinchi for the most part. Occasionally, she'd reach out a tentative hand to touch his tail (who wouldn't?). She tracked his every movement. We'd put him back in his cage for a while and she'd collapse into a deep snooze. She was like an overwhelmed nanny.
The novelty seems to be wearing off. There have been times when he's been bopping around and she doesn't even bother to get down from her cushion.
Yesterday, the two were on my lap. She was lolling around like she might fall asleep, but every once in a while she'd reach out and lazily bop Leo on the head. He just sat there. I pulled him a bit away from her, just out of reach, but he went right up to her and put his head next to hers. She cleaned his head a bit, then bopped him lightly. Their future together looks bright indeed.