Sad rabbit injustices #barbarablogs

Barbara Rabbit
For more of Barbara’s blogs, visit the archive at #barbarablogs!

Hello, my furry and not-so-furry friends! It’s Barbara Rabbit here again, and today I’d like to talk about a very serious topic. I’m usually pretty happy, but some days, I’m quite a sad rabbit.

Lots of things in my life are very good. I like where I live, mostly. I have nice brothers. My human parents are pretty good. But sometimes things are not quite to my liking. There are often times when I don’t consider life to be fair. And I’d like to tell you about some of those times today.

What makes me a sad rabbit

Sometimes I have to go in my cage. They try and call it a “house” to make it sound better, but really. Come on. I know it’s a cage. It might be big but it’s not as big as having the whole room to play in.

Gingee goes on the stairs. The stairs worry me. I don’t feel happy until he’s back.

Barbara and her daddySometimes, after we’ve had cage time, Ned and Gingee get let out before me. I’m the oldest and the biggest and it’s really not fair.

When my daddy is carrying me down the stairs, there is a mirror rabbit who has the exact same daddy and that is just weird. And she stares at me quite rudely.

The vacuum ate my poo and won’t give it back.

The radiator isn’t always on. I love the radiator. It’s nice and warm and I get to cuddle up to it. But for some reason, like for the whole of August, it wasn’t on. Why not?

On a similar note, sometimes the sun isn’t out and I can’t sit in my sunny patch of floor. I love having daytime naps in the sun (inside only, of course. This lady doesn’t go outside!). Why can’t the humans arrange a bit more sun for me?

Sometimes one of my parents is sitting in the exact spot that I want to be sitting in. How rude!

I am not allowed to eat cheese. It smells good and I like most food. Why can’t I try it? Also I had a chocolate biscuit once and I’d like to have another.

When my daddy cleans out our room, he closes the door. So we can’t go in while he’s in there. And then he comes out and yes, it’s lovely that we have new hay and my toys are more visible, but the room doesn’t have my lovely scent all over it again.

My parents get disproportionately annoyed with me when I try and nibble at their cables. If you don’t want them eaten, don’t have them, is all I can say.

My ear fur gets white patches in the summer and my parents call me Mouldy Ears. So rude.

So many problems! No wonder I’m a sad rabbit from time to time.

How I show my displeasure

Barbara the sad rabbitIt’s okay though, because I have some tricks up my sleeve. (Note: I don’t wear sleeves. But sometimes I like to put my head in other people’s!)

  • Thumping. It’s an old trick but a good one. Run around your house thumping and you’ll certainly get everyone’s attention.
  • Making a run for it. If I get the sense that my humans are trying to give me a “cage feed” (read: leave me imprisoned for the day but think some pellets will make up for it), I will push past their hand, ignore the pellets (this is difficult, I admit!) and run out either into the main room or maybe even into the hallway. It feels good to assert my independence!
  • Peeing on things. I am really good at this. I like carpet a lot because it’s so soft.
  • Chewing some wires. When they try and take them off me, I just clamp down more. Sometimes while thumping and shaking my head. I’m pretty strong.
  • Flicky feet. My humans speak pretty good rabbit, and they know that this means I’m very annoyed. Also, I can get up quite some height when I do this!
  • Finding somewhere to hide and glaring. I’m really good at glaring.
  • Convincing a smaller rabbit to get revenge for me. I’ve got Ned to chew up a phone charger before now. He’s small and cute and had never done it before so no one suspected him!

My friends, I hope that these tricks help you to find relief from a sad rabbit life and move into being more in control.

Do feel free to tell me the dreadful injustices you’re suffering. I know it’s not just me who goes through this!

Until next time!

 

How to keep healthy humans #barbarablogs

Barbara Rabbit
Barbara Rabbit here again! Check out my previous blogs if you haven’t already – I have some good things to say!

Today I want to talk about a really important topic: how to make sure your humans keep healthy.

As we rabbits know, managing our own health is hard enough. Lots of us have been bred to have very flat faces which can give us breathing or eye problems, we are very susceptible to GI stasis, sometimes washing can be tricky and that can lead to infection… The list goes on and on. Fortunately, there are lots of great rabbit vets out there who can help our humans take care of us.

However, did you know that our humans can also get ill? And, as they take such good care of us, it’s only right that we return the favour!

I try to do little checks on my humans fairly often to encourage them to keep healthy. Here are some of my top tips:

Sleep is important if you want to keep healthy

Barbara sleeping next to her human to keep healthy

Me and my daddy

Personally, I like to sleep for at least 18 hours a day. I’m getting on in years a bit, and it’s important that I get my rest. I think that humans don’t sleep enough.

It’s not always easy to make sure that they get lots of sleep, but there are definitely ways to encourage them.

For example, my mummy is having a human baby. Pregnant rabbits should sleep a lot. So when I first realised what was going on, I made a real effort to lie on the bed with her to encourage her to sleep. I’d pretend to sleep next to her (okay, okay, sometimes I was actually sleeping!) and she’d usually drop off as well.

Barbara makes sure we keep healthy by sleeping!As a bonus, human beds are usually ridiculously comfortable – have you ever tried one? You might need to get them to lift you up there if you’re less mobile, but oh, the flopping possibilities – look how comfortable I am!

But time your sleep right!

You need a good balance of sleep time and play time, and humans don’t always understand where the boundaries lie.

This morning, I noticed my daddy was sleeping when he really should have been awake. That’s okay – it’s my responsibility to make sure he gets up. I went to peer at him first, and then made some loud noises to ensure that he was definitely awake by the time I was done. I didn’t want him to miss out! After all, it was food time.

My brother Ned sometimes takes a more extreme view on this and will hurl himself into the side of his cage or a wall to make a loud noise. His way looks more painful and I don’t think I want to try it. Thumping works just fine for me, thanks.

Make them problem solve

Humans are quite clever, like us. That’s why I think it’s really important to challenge them sometimes.

Barbara stuck in a cat treeEverybun knows the usual tests we put in place for our humans: can I crawl under the bed, is this wire tasty, can I break free of the cage, etc.? But they’re getting wise to those, so we need to think up some new ones!

I’ll share a fun one I tried a few months ago. My brother Gingee had a cat tree that he used to climb up. We were running round the room and I decided I’d try something new. I tried to squeeze between two parts of it and wedged myself in there. My daddy had to get out his tools and unscrew it completely to set me free! What a great problem-solving opportunity!

Don’t neglect their mental health!

Remember, stroking a furry friend is very important for humans. It can keep their blood pressure down and make them feel less stressed and depressed.

You are that furry friend. (Or, if you don’t like being touched, your sibling or mate can be encouraged to do their duty. You work hard enough!)

I don’t mean you have to give them free access to you at all times, obviously. I just mean that you need to keep an eye on them, and sometimes know that it’s particularly urgent that they give you a head rub. Those are the times you need to pester them. If they don’t do it of their own accord, nudge at them with your head, put your face in front of theirs, or maybe nibble at them a little bit. Even if it takes a slightly painful nip, you’re doing this for their health. It’s very important!

Barbara close up

Are you already doing any of these? If you’re not, I hope you start soon! Remember, your humans are depending on you to remind them to keep healthy!

Until next time, my furry friends.

Rabbit baby preparations #barbarablogs

Barbara Rabbit
Hello all, it’s Barbara Rabbit here again! Would you believe it, my mum said that as my last blog was so popular, she’s going to let me do this as a regular thing! #barbarablogs

We have some exciting news – there is going to be a baby in the house. Not a rabbit baby (we call them kittens), but a human one. It will be joining us in November.

Does this look like a rabbit baby to you?

I’m obviously not gestating it. My human mum is. If I were doing the gestating, I’d grow more than one at a time (far more efficient) and I’d have been done long ago – this non rabbit baby has been growing for months!

This is incredibly exciting news for me in particular. Both of my brothers are strongly bonded with one of the existing humans. Ned with our mum and Gingee with our dad. I like both humans, but not as much as the boys seem to. So I have decided that this new human is mine!

Ned and Gingee, being boys, don’t really know too much about how new rabbits are made, and they’ve had lots of questions for me. If you’re a fellow rabbit feeling a bit daunted about the arrival of a new human baby, I’m here to share my advice with you as well!

Rabbit baby vs human baby – some frequently asked questions

How long do humans take to grow their babies?

I’m not sure, but it seems to be taking forever! I first became aware that something was going on in about March. I could have had about five litters in that time! (If I weren’t spayed, that is, and if the humans had given me intact males to live with.)

How many human babies are born at once?

It usually seems to be just the one! I know, how inefficient! Apparently my human dad’s grandmother had a litter of two once, which is still on the small side in my mind, but it sounds like my humans are just planning on one at a time.

Why is my human mum not nesting properly?

Mine struggles. I judge her nesting skills a lot, actually. I don’t think she knows how to do this. She’s not put out any extra hay or anything. I haven’t seen her pull any of her hair out, either.

Some tips on how to encourage your human to nest properly:

  • If she’s not putting any hay out, take her some. Lay it on the floor of her bedroom or wherever you think she’ll want her nest to be. If she doesn’t use it to nest with, all rabbits know that eating hay is also really important during pregnancy. Mine wasn’t particularly appreciative of my bringing her the hay, but it was always gone by the time I went back in, so she must have been eating it.
  • Small dark spaces are good to give birth in. Does she go into any of her own free will? If not, try to lead her into some – under the bed, perhaps. Go in there and she’ll eventually have to try and follow you!
  • If it’s getting to the point that you think the baby will be born soon and she’s still not doing anything, take it up a notch. Lately, I’ve decided I have to make it clear just exactly what she should do, so I’m treating Ned as my baby. He’s small enough. I’ve started pulling some of my fur out and making it into a nest for him in his house. She’s noticed and commented on it, so I hope that encourages her to do the same!

How do I best communicate with the human baby?

Before it’s born, a human baby is much the same as a rabbit baby. You can sometimes see and feel it moving around. I try and give it a nuzzle or a headbutt at this point to encourage bonding.

I hear human babies are very loud and smell bad. Is this true?

I think so, unfortunately. Ned is the luckiest in this respect, as he’s deaf. Gingee and I will suffer more. The smell can’t be too bad though – I live with two boys, remember. I’m sure smells won’t be too much of an adjustment. (Gingee would like to say that I smell worse than he does. I disagree. Impertinent boy!)

What do human babies look like?Barbara - no longer a rabbit baby

From the pictures I’ve seen (see above), they’re black and white with no discernible features. I presume that, like rabbit babies, they grow into their features later on. I mean, we’re born hairless with our eyes shut and tiny ears. Look at me now – huge eyes, magnificent fur and my ears are just the right length.

What do human babies do?

I think they eat a lot. And sleep. And poo. This is why I think I’m going to have such a great bond with this baby – we will have so much in common!

What’s in this for me? Wouldn’t it be easier to ask for a new rabbit baby?

It’s a good question, and I have asked myself this a few times. Life will probably get a bit less nice – I won’t have as much peace and quiet, there may be odd smells around, and, rather worryingly, I may have to be left alone on Bonfire Night if that’s when human baby is born. (I need to be held comfortably in a warm, dark room with white noise to cope with fireworks. Just one of those little quirks that makes an old lady’s life a bit happier, you know!)

But it occurs to me that there are also lots of fun possibilities coming up too. Firstly, my mum is going to get a whole year off work. That’s a year where she’ll be home during the day. More playtime?

Secondly, when the baby can open its eyes and walk (that’s at a few days old, right? It would be if it were a rabbit baby!) chances are it will be a bit bigger than I am. But it might not know the rules yet! So I can probably convince it to open the food bin more regularly and hand out treats.

Similarly, opposable thumbs! Baby can use knives and cut up apples for me on demand! Open doors! And, as I don’t think they can talk at first, there’s no way I can be asked to go in for a bit or told no!

Also, I hear the number of blankets in the house will increase. I like blankets.

Human baby, you and I are going to have a lot of fun.

Until next time, my furry friends!

The rabbit guide to training your human #barbarablogs

Barbara Rabbit

Hello, I’m Barbara the rabbit. I’m taking over this blog today, with some words of advice for my fellow rabbits. I want to talk about how to make sure your human is taking proper care of you.

Barbara the rabbit

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

How to get adopted properly as a rabbit

I have two humans, and I came to live with them in December. I worked hard on making this happen – I’d been living at my adoption centre for nine months, but hadn’t found anyone to take me home.

Firstly, I wanted to meet them before I made my decision. It’s a big commitment, taking on new humans and new brothers, and I wanted to be sure it was the right thing to do. Take your time in deciding!

My new mum came to visit me two or three times, firstly. I mostly ignored her. Test them! Make sure they’re really interested in you. She passed the test and I got interested too.

Next, they brought my new brothers in to visit and bond. This is always a bit daunting – I’d been living on my own for a while and I wasn’t sure about meeting new bunnies. Particularly young ones – I’m a more mature lady, myself, and these were young lads of not even two years old! I decided that the smaller one would be the most helpful, as he was less likely to attack. The moment they put him in with me, I snuggled up to him. He was a bit alarmed, but all of the humans were very impressed. Get a small, non-threatening ally who can help your cause. Ned is literally half my size, so I felt very safe in using him here.

One more test before I committed to this adoption: test their knowledge of health problems! I decided to have an upset stomach the day before moving in. It meant that my homecoming was delayed by two days, but it also ensured I got a vet visit immediately upon getting home. I wanted to check out my new vet for myself – and I was quite pleased.

How to set up your room, rabbit-style

Now, I know somebunnies are very happy living outside, but I’m an indoor kind of girl, myself. In my first home, I lived outside, and that just wasn’t for me. I explained this very clearly to the people at the adoption centre, so my new parents knew that I was going to be a house rabbit right from the start. This wasn’t a problem for them as my two brothers had been living inside already.

Make it very clear you don’t want to be outside. The moment we left the adoption centre and I knew we were outside, I started thumping and didn’t stop until we’d got into the car. When we got home, the window was open. I thumped my disapproval of the birds outside until the window was shut. Result!

Humans will have an idea of how the room will look. Their design skills aren’t very good. I prefer to think of them as a guideline – take your room as a blank canvas! I think my carpet looks much better with hay on it (easy snack!), and the occasional pee stain adds character. Feel free to make changes to the carpet as necessary. After all, you’re the one who’s closer to it!

Move your furniture around as much as you like. Particularly at night. Humans like hearing noise in the night and may even come to play with you! But, seriously, if they’d put the litter box in the left corner of my room rather than the right to begin with, I’d not have needed to do it!

How to bond with rabbit siblings

I hadn’t had too much experience with other rabbits before meeting my brothers, so I was a bit nervous. The adoption centre had tried to bond me with some other boys, but it hadn’t gone well. But I’m here to tell you that it can work out!

I’m lucky because my two new brothers are both smaller than I am. This means that I have an advantage – so, if possible, select very little siblings. You can overpower them more easily.

Don’t let them get complacent. When Ned and I still lived in separate rooms, I learnt how to open his door. He’d come running out, expecting human fuss, and I could ambush him. I never hurt him, but he learnt very quickly that I wasn’t someone to be trifled with! Even months later when we were getting on much better, I’d still occasionally nip his tail to make him drop whatever food he was holding and then eat it myself. Needs must, you know!

However, that doesn’t mean you always have to be cruel. With Gingee, I took a different tactic. Learn their psychology. Gingee wanted to protect me, so I’d sit unmoving on the floor during our bonding sessions. He loved this and really thought he was in charge!

Now we all live in the same room and I have them well trained. Ned knows that he needs to guard me as I sleep, and Gingee knows that he’s in charge of investigating anything that happens on those scary stairs. They both know that the largest share of the apple is always mine. They’re pretty good boys, all in all.

How to get the humans to bend to your will

So here’s the hardest bit. Humans are big. They can pick you up. They can take you the vet. Sometimes they might not give you as many treats as you’d like. It’s hard to train them but it’s so worthwhile. Yes, it can be tricky – no one likes seeing their human upset or frustrated, but you mustn’t back down.

Here are my top five tips:

  • The silent treatment. This is surprisingly effective. I know the weekly routine. There are five days where we are left alone between 7am-6pm and get to play in the evenings, and there are two days where we get human interaction throughout the day. What I don’t like is when the humans try and intrude on the sacred Five Days of Rabbit. So if they do, I sit with my back to them, or flop dramatically on the floor and fall asleep immediately. They quickly work out that I don’t feel like interacting – sometimes this works amazingly well and they’ll even take one or both of my brothers out of the room to play so I’m not disturbed!
  • Make them feel guilty. This is easy for me. I have arthritis in one of my front paws, although it rarely bothers me. I can run just as fast as my brothers, despite being much older. But if someone is trying to coerce me into something I don’t want to do, I can hold up my front paw and hop forlornly on the other three. They quickly come around, and you might even get some yummy Loxicom! (The trick to this is putting your “bad” paw down again very quickly so you don’t end up with a vet visit!)
  • Responding to words. I don’t mean commands. Learn which sounds they use to represent your favourite treats, for example. Mine say “apple” and “food”. If I hear one of these sounds, I go up to the human, nuzzle them and give them about 30 seconds to produce the “apple” or the “food”. If they don’t, thump angrily. The treats will appear, trust me. Ideally, you’ll also get praise for how clever you are!
  • Remind them that you make the rules. My humans say “Barbara, are you going in for a bit?” when they want me to have some cage time. Fine, I’m happy to go in there sometimes, but they need to know that they don’t get to boss me around too much. I like to do a lap of the cage before I go in. That way they know that I understand them and that I’m clever, but they also know that I make the decision about when I’m going in for a bit.
  • Physical punishment. I try and keep this as a last resort, but sometimes it does need to be done. Occasionally my mum hands out the food too slowly, or she sits in my way when I need to take the quickest route towards the bookcase, for example. A small nip usually does the trick. Purr and nuzzle immediately afterwards to show that you still love them, you just needed them do what you asked.

I hope this has helped, and that you can use this advice to create a happy rabbit-human bond in your home. Remember, you’re in charge!

Barbara the rabbit with her arthritic paw

Until next time, my furry friends!