My Very First Rabbit
I walk you through my experience of being a first time rabbit owner.
I've always wanted a cat. Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of having cats. A fat cat, a friendly cat, even a mean cat. I just wanted a cat, but alas, my mother dissaproved the idea.
But one day, for some odd reason, my mother thought a pet rabbit would be better than a cat. At first I dismissed the idea. No way a rabbit could beat a cat.
But then I got thinking. A rabbit! That wasn't a bad idea. Besides, if I couldn't get a cat, I'll take what I can get.
I spent the next week throughly researching rabbits. Despite my research concluding that rabbits are difficult to care for and do best in pairs, I was determined to get one. Surely a fourteen-year-old is responsible enough to care for a pet.
I made a check list of all the things I would need. At the top of my list was a cage. Most of the cages I found online were way too small and too expensive. But I found an alternative: a DIY cage.
The following weekend, I went out to Walmart with a check list in hand and a plan in mind. I picked up two sets of CC storage cubes, a cat litter box, rabbit pellets, hay, and cat toys. My local Walmart didn’t have a lot of things related to small animals so cat toys were the next best thing.
And fourteen-year-old me refused to support pet stores. Which ended up being a good thing, since I later learned a lot of little boxes made for rabbits are too small. And my rabbit ended up liking the toys anyways.
I went home and used the simple instructions to assemble a 4x5 cage. I secured each part with zip ties and even made a handy door for easy access.
The next step was to set it up and make it a comfortable living space for my rabbit. I fixed up the litter box using newspapers at the bottom, paper towels and topped off with some hay and two food bowls. They would soon be filled with pellets and extra hay.
I put my DIY skills to another test. I used an old cardboard box to make a hide house with two levels! I constructed it using a butchers knife and duct tape. Any type of tape is harmful for rabbits so I covered any exposed duct tape with cardboard.
I also made about five different DIY toys; this bunny was going to have a good life. Everything was set! Now, it was just about the wait.
Sunday couldn’t approach any sooner. But at last, it was time to go and pick out a rabbit. By the time we got to the shelter, it was an hour away from closing time. Thankfully my uncle was able to drive us there and back.
The first shelter was disappointing. There were only three bunnies, none of them ready for adoption. The second shelter was better. We looked at over a dozen rabbits and found the perfect one. A three-month-old broken Holland lop who’s brother was just adopted the day before.
Since he was very young, he would require extra care but I had my heart set on him. The shelter was closing so we would have to come back the next day. And we did, we came back for an interview that went smoothly. Our new bunny, Bubba, came home with us! I remember feeling so giddy in the car ride.
During the ride home, Bubs stayed incredibly still, no doubt scared. But we tried to make it as stress free as possible for him. He ran straight into his hide house and stayed there for 30 minutes before coming out.
He sniffed his water and food but he didn’t eat or drink until the next day, which had me worried. We tried our best not to fawn over him and just let him adjust.
Durning the night, Bub started scratching up cardboard and even escaped his cage! On the very first night! Thankfully he didn’t do anything but sleep under the couch. I quickly figured out the problem. The CC cubes came in two sizes. Some parts had larger gaps than others and bubs was able to squeeze out.
At six in the morning, I started fixing up his cage. I made sure all the big parts were at the top so he couldn’t escape. I don’t think Bubba appreciated that.
By night fall we had already bonded. He was comfortable enough to sit beside me and let me pet him.
Over the months our bond only got stronger. We became the best of friends and coming home after school and watching him run to me became the highlight of my day.
Right now, I’m sitting with Bubs. I’m writing this while he licks me, showing affection. And in about a week, we’re going to pick up a companion for him.