Posts filed under 'Tips & Tricks'
Oh my gosh, just one more hour to go and the blogathon officially ends! I gotta get my act together and catch up.
Looks like there are some new pledges made too. A big thank you to all!
Well, my topic for this entry is grooming and the tools to use for clipping nails. Some owners are rather afraid of hurting their pets especially during the clipping of the nails, as some rabbits refuse to trance and may kick violently and suddenly when held in a way they don’t like.
But you certainly won’t want to wait til your rabbit’s nails look like these!
Actually, grooming your rabbits regularly can be a form of bonding with your bunnies, as they grow accustom to the handling. You can use the opportunity to gentle massage your rabbit. I know for my bunnies, they absolutely adore the treats that follow each grooming session (for being good of course!) and would grind their teeth softly in glee at the massages and strokes. In fact, I find it therapeutic to pet my bunnies and with every stroke, my worries melt away.
So here are simple steps on how to trim the nails of your rabbits. When in doubt, ask a fellow rabbit owner to do a demonstration for you or a trip to the vet can help answer your queries too.
To assure your bunny stays in good health you will need to clip their nails. This can be a frustrating job at first, but with patience and practice it will become an easy part of your care routine.
Rabbits need to have their nails clipped short for your protection and theirs. Long nails can leave nasty scratches on owners arms. Rabbits with long nails can get them caught on furniture or wire cages and rip them clear out, causing pain for the bunny. A little routine maintenance can prevent these problems from happening in the first place. You’re going to need :
- Clippers. You can use something like in the picture below.
- A long sleeve shirt and jeans to help prevent scratches.
Rabbits nails need to be cut about every three weeks on average. The first few times you clip the nails, you will probably want to have help available, since the rabbit will probably not be too happy about the clipping. Remember, rabbits are easily frightened of new things, but with patience they learn it doesn’t hurt them, and become willing participants.
The most important thing to remember is that there is a vein that runs up the rabbit’s nails. You will want to cut BELOW this vein for two reasons. First, the nail below the end of the vein has no nerve endings in it, and the rabbit will not feel you clip the nails. Secondly, if you cut into the vein, the rabbit’s nail will bleed - sometimes quite heavily.
Look at the nail, and make sure you can see the vein. If you cannot see the vein, shine the light from the flashlight behind the nail. The nail will be more transparent, and the vein will appear darker. It should look like the picture above.
Sit in a chair with your bunny between your legs, tummy up, head toward your knees. If you put a bunnies head lower than the rest of the body you can put the bunny in what’s known as “bunny trance”. Be careful because the bunny can snap out of this trance at any time. With a bit of practice you can become good at “trancing bunnies” and it will make the job of nail cutting much easier.
Carefully place the nail clippers just below the vein, and clip firmly. Now repeat the process for the remaining nails. If you cut too high, and the nail bleeds, use the styptic powder to stop the bleeding.
December 2nd, 2006
I firmly object to the notion that rabbits and cats cannot live together in harmony under one roof.
I was a feral cat with all possible expected instincts to prey on my long-eared family members but I didn’t. I suppose I could but I still didn’t.
Based on personal experience, the following are some tips on encouraging cats and rabbits to accept each other better as BitBit, MaoMao, Dash, Socks and I did.
Tip #1 Bell the cat
We, cats, cannot help but walk silently because we are born with soft pads and retractable claws. Unlike dogs, our nails don’t clack-clack on the floors as we move. Instead, we are stealthy and quiet. It’s really not like we can draw out our claws and walk like ducks with spreaded feet. It just doesn’t work like that. Similarly, my rabbit pals are easily frightened by sudden appearances. Now, we don’t want that, do we? Hence, please put a bell on your cat. The ting-a-ling sounds that the bell makes may be soft but my rabbit pals have acute sense of hearing. The sounds will soon be associated with the coming or going or simply the presence of the family cat. Both parties benefit.
Tip #2 Allow supervised interaction
If you want a cat and a rabbit at the same time, it really makes no sense to separate them both for the rest of their lives or living in fear that one fine day, Kitty’s gonna get Bunny. Instead, have a little faith in them. BUT always remember that instincts can be stronger than habit. So always monitor the two animals when you allow them to interact. Watch for erect and forward-facing ears on Bunny and the claws on Kitty. Another tip to bear in mind is to NOT grab both of them and dump them together. Open Bunny’s cage and let them meet halfway some way, some how. A few minutes of progressed prolonged interaction every day will help to strengthen the bond.
Tip #3 Big bunnies
You have to forgive a cat if it can’t to tell the difference between a really big rat with a cottontail and, say, a guinea pig. A small rabbit such as a youngster or a Netherland Dwarf can easily be mistaken as a small rodent and trigger instincts to jump it. Hence, if you do have a rabbit as small as the examples, it is best to keep the idea of a cat to a later date. My rabbit pals are humongamous rabbits, honestly. They were as big as me when I was 5 months old. So y’know it would be SUICIDE for me in case they turned out to be WERE-RABBITS. Size does matter.
A note from BitBit: The above tips are purely based on my analysis and observations. I could be wrong but I feel that I am theoretically correct. I am a person who thinks a lot and wonders a lot. Therefore, I usually come up with theories with enough evidence. BUT I could be wrong. You can leave your comments to discuss any loopholes. Like I said, I COULD be wrong.
December 2nd, 2006
I have tried everything I could before I made the ultimate rearrangements. But, as a caretaker to my rabbits, I felt that continuously living on tiled floors would not solve my and the rabbits’ problem. Hence, my rabbits were all shipped back in the confines of cages for their littertraining process.
1. Wire-bottom cage: 2 rabbits were housed in each cage. Each cage was lined with rubber bathroom mats on top of the wire-bottom. Wire-bottoms, I feel, are useful in the littertraining process because stuff just falls through and it’s easier to clean.
2. Litterbox: A plastic box about A3 size and 10cm high is placed inside. Undisputedly, recycled paper bedding is used.
3. Hay, pellets and water: These consumptions or items that hold the consumptions should be placed IN the litterbox or arranged in such a way that the rabbits must get inside the litterbox to reach what it wants.
4. Small playarea: After cleaning out the smells of the previous playarea, reduce the size of the playarea so that monitoring is easier. Gradually increase the size as the rabbit gets better at using the litterbox. Remember that rabbits continue to require daily let-out exercise.
5. Feed in the Litterbox: To encourage the rabbit to use the litterbox, feed vegetables and treats only when the rabbit is IN the litterbox. It will soon learn that it is The Place To Be to get what it wants. Positive training is always the best alternative.
6. SHOO: Whenever you can, shoo the rabbit into the litterbox. When you see a tail lifting outside the box. When the rabbit tries to be lazy by stretching instead of going into the box. A gentle tap on the buttocks is usually enough to make a rabbit lift its rump and into the box.
Whatever you do, don’t hit the rabbit like you would a child. It is not a child and does not speak your language. It does not understand your intentions when you inflict pain. It will however associate things: litterbox with good stuffs.
Believe it or not, I re-littertrained my rabbits this way for an entire year. Well, you have to take into consideration that I have to train 4 simultaneously. Once one gets it the other may not and may end up influencing the trained one to be de-littertrained. Arghh!!!
*breathe in breathe out*
December 2nd, 2006
There are quite a number of misconceptions out there about rabbits, some of which I myself once held before I was a bunny owner. One of these is the common assumption that all pet rabbits belong in cages and they do not really need alot of space, unlike cats and dogs as these animals usually free roam.
Did you know you can observe a rabbit’s natural behaviour and the most comical of cheeky antics, simply by offering playpens as an alternative? I had to house my little ones in a cage when I first got them and took some time reading up on the appropriate rabbit housing and house-hunted around for awhile before coming to this conclusion.
I could only see our Thumpy’s famous high-jumps (binkies) when he was out for exercises to stretch his paws. As for Bugs, being shy and a little reclusive at the start, she didn’t like the idea of my arm reaching into the cage to pet her, as it seemed as though I was invading her personal space. After we moved them and the babies to their very own playpens, this soon all changed.
It’s hard to imagine the above photo was of the same Bugs, who was often tensed and ready to growl (that little black shadow is Mr Blacks when he was still small enough to sneak out from under the pen *faints*)! As for Thumpy, he just couldn’t get enough of the new space, as he raced about and lazed around happily.
It was also then that we could start to litter-train the furkids by placing a litter-tray in a corner of the playpen. At the same time, we found many creative ways to do some interior decorating, like making rabbit hidey-holes out of carton boxes with windows cut out of them (and personalized with their names *grin*), creating shelves and obstacles courses for our bunnies to sleep under or jump up on and the areas were just strewn with rabbit toys and other rabbit-safe chewables to occupy them.
So if you’re out shopping around for your bunny’s new home, why not consider playpens?
Photo courtesy of FurryC - Leo & Rico
as compared to:
It’s alright to not have alot of room. The advantages of playpens are endless. And they are more cost-effective than a cage, believe it or not. They’re also expandable, so anytime you want to extend your rabbit’s “room”, it’s as simple as adding more panels to the existing setup (and build a mini-playground for them!). Also, playpens are much easier to clean than the base of a cage - mop and wipe the flooring and change the litter-tray often. I also love to spend quality time with my bunnies in their own space by sitting in the playpen and having them run around me or lean on me.
But if you have room to spare, you can even recycle the ol’ cage by attaching panels of playpens around it and using the cage (like the one above) as a huge litter-tray or hiding burrow so that your rabbit can hop in and out as it pleases and have plenty of room to run about and exercise in the area secured by the playpen (and at the same time having the peace of mind of bunny not being able run amok in your home chewing on everything *hee hee* when you are not at home).
Bunny is happy, owner is happy.
Related links for more info and photos:
Plenty more ideas if you search on our forums using the keywords “housing” and “playpens”.
December 2nd, 2006