Where I blab about bunnies and encourage your bunny (and other animal) stories.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Getting rushed

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I wanted to share the wonderful feeling I get every morning. Once the first foot lands on the ground, Hops is right there -- awake and having come running from wherever he was: under the bed or in the girls' cage or playing in the living room (he only ever really ventures right outside the bedroom door and into the bathroom if I'm not in the living room -- not sure why -- theories are welcome!). Then I sit on the floor by the foot of my bed (grabbing the raisin container and the papaya jar on the way down). Ariel and Hops climb all over my legs, Kayla pokes her nose out from under the bed and SweetPea sticks as much of her face through the bars of her cage as she can.

They're all looking for love from their Momma. No, they're really not. But I kid myself into believing they are. They're really looking for raisins... They all have very different styles. Another case study that proves the theory that bunny personalities are as varied as people's.

Juniper Hops is very, very excited for the treats as illustrated by his climbing up my legs and his dancing around, but takes the raisin very politely from my fingers. He used to always bite each raisin in half, drop the second half, chew the first half thoroughly and then pick up the second half. Repeat process with second raisin. But since being bonded to Ariel and Kayla (about a year and a half ago), he's not been able to find the second halves that he's dropped, bc Ariel has scarfed them up. She's learned to be right next to him at raisin time to get the dropped halves. And they say bunnies are stupid! HA! So now he eats the whole raisin a time. He loves her dearly, but giving up half of every raisin he gets is where he draws the line.

Ariel will bite off my finger if it meant getting a raisin, and she frequently does give me a nibble. She's always been my Fatty, the hungriest one. But she's beautiful and voluptuous and perfect, so I forgive the finger nibbles. Ariel can take three raisins in her mouth at the same time and beg for more four seconds later. It's usually one raisin at a time, but sometimes she'll steal more than her share from me.

...As opposed to Kayla, who is so timid she hesitates taking anything from me (even yummy raisins) unless she's in her cage. Frequently, she'll hop into her cage at raisin time just to take her treats. When she occasionally gets more than one raisin, she'll nibble one off the bunch and let the rest drop below her. If Ariel gets wise and tries to steal it, Kayla will growl at her and sometimes bat her away. They're twins, Ariel and Kayla, and they adore each other, but they also have a very delicate relationship when it comes to food. Kayla would no doubt have already starved to death if she hadn't developed this attitude toward her sister.

Meanwhile, SweetPea is still sticking her nose up to her cheeks through the little bars of her cage. (She's the only "contained bunny" and only bc she and Ariel fight like fiends when they're out together -- the baby gate works, but only when I can curb Pea's naughtiness in the living room. When Pea's out, Hops decides whether he wants to hang out in the living room with her or in the bedroom with the girls. His decision is made apparent to me by his nibbling on the baby gate to get to the other side of it, at which point I go lift him over.) Pea takes the raisins very, very gingerly. She'll NEVER bite my finger. She barely bites the raisin. She sniffs it and tests it for texture and taste before she finally sets her teeth on it. It takes a good five to seven seconds to get her to take each raisin. She loves 'em, she just wants to be sure what she's getting is actually a raisin (and not some plastic replication of such?).

So that's round one. By the time I sit there with my fingers holding the raisins for Pea to test it to see if it really is an actual raisin, Hops is done his, Ariel's done hers and Kayla's usually done hers and still under the bed. Ariel and Hops are climbing all over me, wishing I had built-in stairs ("This Momma sure is a slippery one!") so they could just walk up my body, across my arm and get the damn raisins themselves. Round two is pretty much like round one, except if Kayla got more than one raisin to start, she won't take another. She on a diet or something? ("Too many sweets and I'll end up looking like Kayla!!")

Then comes the papaya pills, which Kayla, if she's under the bed, won't take, but will instead run into the depths of her shelter (if she's in the cage, she'll eat one gladly). The papaya pills have an enzyme that breaks down the fur they eat so it doesn't clog their fragile systems. Some bunny people say this is a bunch of hooey, but I figure one pill a day for each of them couldn't hurt them and they love them, so I do it. The enzyme can also be found in pineapples. Factoid about bunny health: the bunny digestive tract only goes one way -- they can't puke up hairballs like cats can, but they clean themselves like cats do. If their junk gets clogged, their systems go into statis, which could kill them. Unlimited hay is a good way to keep the systems moving along, but this papaya/pineapple enzyme helps, too (say some).

From Rabbit.org, the House Rabbit Society's Web site:

"Pineapple juice, papaya and/or enzyme products are helpful in treating hair-balls in the rabbit."

Because the rabbit can not spit, it ingests a lot of hair when grooming. It is commonly thought that this ingested hair leads to gastric hair-balls...For at least three decades rabbit owners have treated this problem with a host of digestive enzyme products including pineapple juice, papaya, or papaya tablets (all of which contain the digestive enzyme papain), or a number of pharmaceutical enzyme products including Prozyme, Viokase and many more. Several well performed scientific studies have shown that these products neither correct nor prevent the accumulation of hair, nor will they dissolve the accumulation of food and hair that forms in the stomach of the rabbit. We have found, however, that pineapple juice may have some positive effect in the rehydration and return of normal stomach acid levels in the stomach contents of rabbits with gastric stasis.

See more myths here.

After two raisins and papaya pills, the kids know the morning ritual is over. They turn away and hide under the bed or play or hop in their condo (which, as I've said before, is always open). Sometimes Hops sticks around for some pets and snuggles and a few kisses, but then I gather up the empty salad bowls and go wash them and get my day started. But there's really nothing like the unbridled love and affection I get bc I'm the Mommy (well, um, okay -- because I can open the raisins and disperse yumminess).


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