A Happy Rabbit

Thomas jumped off the sofa and looked toward the sideboard. We usually put down a towel for him under there, some hay etc. It wasn’t there because I’d recently cleaned the room. I got up to get the towel — he followed my movements with his eyes, and when I approached with towel in hand he danced. So cute! I love these moments of sympathetic communication. Now he’s under there, attacking his hay. Good bun.

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The World According to Chance

According to the Chancellor, there’s an uncrossable barrier in our hallway, right before the steps down to the bathroom and kitchen. Certainly, it can’t be crossed; realistically, it shouldn’t even be approached.

Granted, that first step is a little daunting. It’s wooden, and edged in corrugated metal — not too comfy for bunny paws. It’s a little deep, and irregularly-shaped — even some humans have struggled with depth-confusion. So, I wasn’t especially surprised when, in the first few weeks, as Chance took to the hallway and attempted to take our bedroom, he steered clear of the steps. I wondered when he’d breach the divide, but I wasn’t surprised.

Now that many months have passed, I am surprised. Our last rabbit, who was just half a pound bigger than Chance, never hesitated at this (or any) step. He found it awkward, often scrabbling on the way up, but it didn’t phase him. And Chance doesn’t struggle with any jumps in his living area, like the steps in his condo, and our sofa. So, what’s up, Chance?

two illustrations: one, rabbit-POV facing the invisible boundary; the other, a blueprint of our flat

Not that I’m complaining. It’s convenient to have a neutral zone, in case of future bunny dates.

Rabbits as Individuals

It’s so wonderful getting to know a new rabbit and learn new rabbit habits.

For instance, Chance plays with blankets in all the ways Frank did (digging, bulldozing, biting — even forming long thin ridges in the fabric; watch the video of Frank on the bed!), but he does something else, too: tunnelling — pushing right underneath! Frank was never comfortable being covered up.

Chance is also more vocal than Frank was. Frank growled at me once, I think — maybe twice. For him it was a serious sign of anger — loud, and accompanied with direct eye contact. It happened when I was holding him down for some forced grooming early in our relationship, and he had had enough of it. Probably, if I hadn’t listened to him, he’d have attacked. Chance, however, growls at me practically every day. It’s in response to handling, as well — or, touching, anyway; but it’s about not getting something he wants. Like, when I’m turning him out of the bedroom (he’s not allowed in there), or reaching a finger into his cage for a conciliatory nose pet when really he wants out to play. He didn’t growl once when we were clipping his nails, although he certainly struggled enough to let us know he hated it, and we had to hold him down to a degree we never did with Frank. Chance’s growls are neither as loud nor as serious as Frank’s were. Chance HAS attacked me (some boxing, and once a lunge and a bite), whereas Frank never did — nope, no warnings from Chance. His growls are more like swearing in exasperation than a war cry, and more likely to go along with a turned-back-insult than eye contact.

Chance is also more comfortable to let his guard down. I do believe Frank trusted me with his life, and he’d follow me all over demanding attention, but when he bunny-flopped or slept it was only with some distance between us. Chance, on the other hand, has flopped down beside us on the sofa many times now; and this morning he flopped over and slept. Yep, slept, truly and deeply, with dreams to boot. He’d wake now and then, give a stretch or eat a cecotrope, and I’d pet him for awhile and then he’d fall back asleep. It was lovely.

Chance also digs out his litter box. Almost every day, he digs out a little bit; this morning he practically emptied it out. What a mess!

And licking! Chance licks everything, especially when he’s snuggling in. On the sofa in the evenings (microfibre), I have to keep a paper towel on hand to soak it up!