Asking someone if someone is a cat or a dog is that last year. The question in 2022: Are you a rabbit person?
Turns out, after I own six dogs, I exist. As well as a large number of others.
Search “cakes,” “rabbits,” or “rabbit life” on Instagram, and you’ll see feeds full of bunnies roaming people’s homes, looking impossibly cool – and getting millions of likes and views.
One of these feeds belongs to my Baby Funk, which is an acronym for Funkhouser (as in Marty Funkhouser from “Curb Your Enthusiasm”). As we call her “Mrs.”
Tell people we rescued Baby Funk from the streets of Los Angeles, and now she’s living the best of her life. This is the short version. My daughter Clara and I were walking to a hairdresser’s appointment in Highland Park two days before Christmas 2019 when we passed a pop-up bunny rescue, and packed up as it got dark.
A woman was cuddling a white rabbit with a small tuft of hair sticking out between her ears and two giant eyes, one of which was sky blue. We stopped and oh-a-ah, whereupon an amazing woman Willow stepped onto the sidewalk and announced that the rabbit’s dramatic blue eye matched my daughter’s blue eyes, and thus was meant to be ours. Without another word, she was scurrying toward sunset.
It was all in L.A., and we later decided the super pretty lady might have been a vegan. But anyway, I felt for whatever reason we should obey her (I’m too impulsive), and she handed Banes of North Central Women’s Shelter $20. We walked into the hairdresser’s shop with a rabbit in a box.
Back home, we made a little hay litter tray out of the box and our new pet hopped right in. I have used the litter box since then with quite a few accidents. In fact, when we take her out to play in the garden, she will run inside when she needs to “use the bathroom”.
Therefore, rabbits are neat and intelligent. It is also true that they chew. You can’t pay much attention to unimportant things, like table legs, and you have to hide all electrical wires. (I block them with mirrors and framed photos.)
Baby Funk occasionally nibbles on a wooden drying rack near the washer, but I keep her occupied with lumps, twigs, and Critter Pops — her version of potato chips. Internet searches will warn that Critter Pops is the equivalent of fast food for rabbits, but I do eat Taco Bell, so whatever.
Apparently, an increasing number of people are willing to move beyond chewing. A 2020 article on Discovermagazine.com says that after dogs and cats, rabbits are the third most popular pet in the United States, and a previous article from insider.com corroborated this, listing rabbits as the second most popular among Californians. .
The rabbit as a pet dates back to the Victorian era. But for decades, they lived in open-air huts. Exactly when people stop stuffing their rabbits in cramped cramped cages and give them the same freedom as cats and dogs is hard to pin down. But the phenomenon of free home buns is definitely in full swing, judging by social media channels.
My house has hardwood floors in all but one of the rooms, which is a good thing because rabbits don’t like hardwood floors. Their furry feet glide over them, making them nervous. So, the lady stays in our carpeted den. That’s why our den now looks more like a children’s playroom.
We’ve sent a few antique store poo to put under tunnels and pet store tunnels so you can travel from place to place. Rabbits are prey animals so they are fickle in the open. Indeed, a hawk once pounced to snatch her, and his claws, in front of Clara and I in the backyard. We shouted and the lady rushed toward the honeysuckle vine just in time. The hawk flew away, but the lady wouldn’t be back outside for weeks. Cats also love to chase rabbits, so they don’t make the best bunk companions.
Rabbits prefer other rabbits, but they are nonetheless territorial, so it is best to bring rabbits that are already pegged into your home at the same time. Since the lady is the ‘only baby girl’ we bought her a few stuffed rabbits that look like her. She likes to lick them (satisfying her innate desire to groom) before snooping for a nap – her favorite activity.
She spends her nights with us in the living room. At about 8pm we bring the lady to the sofa to enjoy the TV (hence her Instagram account @couch.bunny). She had her head held high, ears up and eyes sticking out, staring at me until I gave her two raisins from a box on the coffee table. Then she jumped on the velvet cushion on the back of the sofa like a little queen.
We keep jars of dried rose petals from the garden on the coffee table so you can snack with us when we go for olives or cereal.
I’m not going to lie, the lady has chewed a few holes in the expensive anthropological couch cushions when we’re done for the kitchen/bathroom break – but it’s worth it. They inspire and entertain us. We joke that we wouldn’t have survived the pandemic without her. While riding the stroller around the building, we recorded her “talk” as she slept, trying to guess what she’d say if could Talk, and most therapeutically, snuggle with her.
Here’s another thing: a rabbit can be a very calm companion. Especially since they don’t bark or make any noise at all. They can only emit a soft grunt when they are happy – or unhappy. So, the lady rumbles as she cycles around Clara in a circle each morning — a common rabbit greeting, according to online pet websites. And sometimes she grunts sadly at the end of the night when we take her off the couch to take her back to the den for bedtime with her stuffed bunnies.
It’s a long way from mean streets.
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