Enjoy taking a shower? So does Groot—well, at least he likes to grace occupants with his presence in the bathroom. I never used to have a cat accompany me to the shower. Groot seems to like hearing the water on the other side of the curtain and he thinks the towel on the floor by the tub is put down specifically for him. He doesn’t like being sprayed by a water pistol but if you come out of the tub dripping on him, he tolerates it. This habit of his started quite soon after we adopted him. I always thought it funny how just before we enter, he scans the tub and then settles down in his spot—right in the way of where we step out. I don’t know what his fascination with showers is but I do know that he likes to drink left over water that remains in the sinks or tub, even though he has two fresh water sources he can drink from. The interesting thing is, he doesn’t drink the puddles after we’re done, so, I guess he just likes something about the routine. It is quite a feat when I try to find space on the bath mat, after I exit, to dry off. I don’t want to step on any part of him, yet he refuses to budge. He even helped with the drying process once by licking the water droplets from my calves! If we start the shower before he gets there, by the end of it, he will usually be lying in his favorite spot to greet us. Noogie never did this and neither does Gamora. Is it a male cat thing? I don’t know but I can tell you it is certainly a cute thing 🙂
Contrary to popular belief and what we have seen at magic shows, rabbits don’t have long ears for the convenience of picking them up. You may be wondering why I would even bother to write a post about this at all in my blog but Pookie almost experienced it firsthand! We had guests over one afternoon and one of the visitors was delighted by our dwarf bunny’s cuteness, while she sat in her cage. I will give the benefit of a doubt to this person by saying they probably genuinely thought that reaching for Pookie’s ears to lift her out of the cage was the most easiest way to do so. We had stopped the action before it had even begun, however. We yelled, “No!” in unison and explained that it was the incorrect way of handling a bunny. The person (who was an adult) was shocked and couldn’t believe that it was true. They figured that since Pookie was so small, picking her up by the ears wouldn’t be an issue. In fact, all of Pookie’s weight would have stressed her tiny ears and might have made the action worse for her. Her ears could have become dislocated or the cartilage could have ripped! Either that or if she struggled while being held by the ears, she could have easily twisted out of the person’s grasp and in desperation, break her back falling. We jest about it now, when we remember that day but I dread to think what could have happened if she was lifted by the ears. The best advice I have for picking up a rabbit would be to allow them to sniff your hand first and then gently proceed to hold them around their torso, resting their belly on your chest once you have removed them from their cage. Keep one hand supporting their bum, while the other rests on their back—kind of like holding a baby! I know that when we held Pookie it was in a different manner from the way we held our cats. Let’s leave bunny ears to do what they were meant for: hearing better to avoid predators and keeping them cool when they get overheated.
As with many cats, Noogie had odd habits (which I have written about in previous posts) but the one that got us guessing, was when she started to lick inanimate objects with fervor. The first time we caught her licking the bookshelf, we laughed. We were also a little disgusted because the sides of the unit were quite dusty. Was she enjoying the flavor of the dust? Was she trying to clean her tongue? Later on, we saw her licking the wall and eventually she even tried the chair leg. We didn’t think it was because she was hungry, since she hardly ate and had food available at all times. Was there a coating of magic kitty spice on these items? We could never figure it out … I remember worrying that when she would lick the walls, she might be consuming small portions of lead in the paint! To this day, I still don’t know if what she had licked was toxic. She seemed to enjoy doing it, though and it always happened without rhyme or reason. You’d have to wonder how those things tasted. I mean, for a carnivore that relished in meaty dishes, how could a wall compare? I would assume it would taste dull or perhaps yucky—certainly not like chicken! I didn’t want to prove this theory by experimenting with it myself. Did she even taste anything when she licked the furnishings? I know cats’ tongues apparently don’t have sweet receptors (they don’t know the joys of sugar) but are there other flavors that their taste buds can’t distinguish? What is certain is the fact that Noogie couldn’t be persuaded to stop licking the chair or shelf when we asked her to. She decided there was something for her in those objects and continued to lap at them as if they were a slab of steak. Whatever the reason, it’s best to leave well alone. Unless I have no food left in the house, I won’t submit myself to licking the walls! 🙂
This will be absolutely no news to rabbit owners but bunnies enjoy cleaning themselves about as much as cats do. Have you ever watched the grooming session of a rabbit? I never thought it could be something to write about but it is absolutely adorable. They seem to have enough time in the world to concentrate on keeping their fur spotless. We never gave Pookie a bath—and it was never needed, even though she was white! Besides, although giving your bunny a dip may seem fun, they certainly do not require it (according to the House Rabbit Society, it is considered very dangerous and even fatal if the bunny is traumatized by the experience). Better to err on the side of caution and trust that your rabbit can maintain its hygiene. Even if they have “poopy butt”, there is no need to give a full body bath. We were lucky—Pookie was immaculate in her cleaning routine and we never had to intervene (even with diarrhea episodes). Whenever Pookie commenced her cleaning, I was entranced. Maybe because she was so petite that she looked cute doing anything. But I must say, one of my favorite moves was when she cleaned her ears. It literally looked so dramatic—as if she were in a shampoo commercial and she smoothed them between her licked paws, as though her ears were extravagant locks of hair. Pictures don’t do the action justice; you need to see a video. Paw and face washing are equally entertaining. In this respect, bunnies proceed to clean themselves in the same manner as a human would. Totally different from cats. They enjoy a good brushing too, so don’t deny your little companion this activity. We used to comb Pookie’s fur with a soft baby brush. If you want to fall in love with a rabbit, just watch them groom: so innocent, so determined.
I always knew cats had certain rituals and were used to routine. I also heard that some cats were fussy eaters and only liked specific kinds of food. Have you ever heard of a cat refusing to eat because her bowl had changed? Let me explain. When we adopted Gamora, she was the only cat in the household for about eight months. We would serve her wet food in a plain white bowl and her dry kibble in another white one. After we took in Groot, I decided it would be cute to give them matching dishes for their soft meals. I went to the store and got bowls with fun motifs on them. The first time it came to feeding the kitties with my new purchases, I thought nothing special, as I laid down Gamora’s bowl in front of her. When she set eyes on it—which was not her regular plain white one—she literally recoiled. She jumped back as if her bowl were a hot flame! She thought she was being tricked and couldn’t care if her meal was the usual. She knew that her bowl was different and did not want to have anything to do with the imposter. I could not believe her behavior, especially since Groot was the total opposite: put food on anything and he will devour it. She cautiously sniffed at her dish and still hesitated to eat. She was not happy and would rather not feed, unless we changed her bowl back to the white one. I realized her actions were ridiculous and put my foot down. I told her she wasn’t leaving the room until she finished her wet food in that new bowl. I closed the door and left her alone with the enemy. After a few minutes, she gave in and finally ate her portion. It took her about two days to get used to the new bowl. It was hilarious how she was picky about what she ate her food in. Once, we even gave her Groot’s bowl by mistake and she quickly brought that to our attention! I fear the day when I will have to change her current bowl, if it ever breaks 🙂
Owning a rabbit certainly taught me how similar they can be to any other pet. Before we had Pookie, I never thought bunnies could emit sounds like dogs, cats or birds do. She put a halt to a few of our misconceptions about the pointy-eared, cotton-ball tailed cuties. One Summer afternoon, while the screen door was open and I was doing something at the kitchen table, I heard a distinct but soft cooing sound. It was hardly audible but I have exceptionally good hearing! I thought there might have been a pigeon or morning dove outside but that would have been odd, given the fact that we never had them in our neighborhood. I wondered where the sound was coming from and then looked down at Pookie in her cage. She was in a ball—her eyes closed, ears back and her teeth grinding. I knew this was her state of contentment because she did it often. What I didn’t realize was that when rabbits are really enjoying the moment or feeling secure, they start cooing like a dove. I went closer to the cage to see if the sound was really coming from her and it was! It was the cutest, most calming sound I ever heard. When she grew older, she became more stubborn and would make grunting noises when she didn’t approve of something. It was quite a thing to hear. Then, of course, there are the high pitched shrieking sounds that can be heard when a bunny feels threatened. I am happy to say that we never heard Pookie screech in all the years we had her but I sadly did hear it coming from a helpless wild baby hare, which was taken from its siblings by an outdoor cat. Even though it has been years now, I can still remember how Pookie sounded when happy or upset. Certainly much different from a “woof!” or “meow” (Actually, dare I say that I think the sounds for Tribbles on Star Trek were modeled after the vocalization of rabbits?). She was so small but even she had the right to express her emotions 🙂
I am slowly starting to learn how to keep pushing on, despite hardships or what may seem like “closed doors”. Our male cat, Groot, has the fearless attitude of taking risks if it will benefit him. Used to the street way of life, this guy would eat non-stop if we didn’t put him on a healthy regimen. He will do anything for extra food—what’s even funnier is that he thinks that one day, he will actually get some. It amazes me when my husband and I sit down to dinner and every night, Groot never fails to take a seat at the table, believing we will give him some morsels. We have never given him treats from our meals in the past, nor do we intend to. For him to think that we eventually would someday, says something about his demeanor. I thought about it. There have been times that he would sacrifice his fur to wet sprays from the water bottle, just to lick the remnants of crusted cheese on a pan. By now, he knows he will be reprimanded if he tries to get close to our supper but he takes the chance anyway, thinking, “One day, I’ll be lucky”. He doesn’t care whether he has been yelled or spritzed at dozens of times for attempting to steal some leftovers—giving up is simply not an option. In my mind this means that no matter how many times he has to try, he’ll do it because every moment is a new opportunity. Couldn’t get the chicken leg today? No problem, tomorrow’s another day! With all the barriers and consequences, he still feels it necessary to keep striving for that goal—whether it gives him positive results or not. In the recent months of my search for a job, I realize that I should be more like him. Keep hoping, keep trying and maybe, you might just snatch that prize on the plate 🙂
When Pookie was still a baby, she had the sweetest habit of showing affection: licking my sister’s nose! It wasn’t considered exactly an ‘Eskimo kiss’, since that involves two noses rubbing each other but it was close enough 🙂 It is too bad I don’t have a picture of it in action but when my sister would pick her up at eye level, Pookie would quickly start to lick the tip of my sister’s nose with her tiny pink tongue—as if it was a treat. We didn’t take it for granted because once she got older and then entered her senior years, it had stopped. I don’t know why Pookie only gave these special kisses to my sister (perhaps because she was the primary caretaker) or why she eventually ceased to do it but I thought it was truly an adorable way for a bunny to show affection. I had always associated licking with dogs. Even cats lick people sometimes but it seems more rare. I never expected a bunny to show affection in this way. She obviously felt no threat and wanted to express her love. At the time, we didn’t have internet or a computer, so the only source of information was through books. Looking through those, I don’t remember seeing anything about licking noses but licking fingers or hands was mentioned. She pleasantly surprised us many times with her personality and actions. Whatever triggered Pookie to lick my sister’s nose, it was something to witness.
If you ever wanted a social cat, who respected the Christmas tree and decorations, Noogie was perfect for that. Whenever the tree went up, she never bothered to make a mess of it—or anything else, for that matter. The most she would do was sit under the tree, obediently. She was also never one to chew on the wires of the lights nor the tinsel but if you tempted her with string or ribbon, she would play along. I never saw her be curious about any of the ornaments on the tree and she never knocked down the manger or figurines. All those feline Christmas horror stories that I had heard about from other cat owners, never happened at our house. Even when the presents were wrapped and surrounding the bottom of the tree, all she would do was investigate by walking among them and sniffing at them. One thing she did enjoy was when I wrapped the gifts. She would be there, overseeing the process and rolling around on the very sheet I was going to use next for packaging. It was like she wanted to assist me with taping the presents. I think Christmas was one of her favorite times of the year because there were many social gatherings, where she could be the center of attention. She was right in the middle of it all when the gifts were being passed around and unwrapped; she would walk around the dinner table at our feet to see what was going on and if there was a vacant seat, she wouldn’t hesitate to occupy it. When we found out in 2014 that she didn’t have much time left, I hoped with all my might that she could enjoy one last Christmas with the family and feel good enough to be a part of it. I did not want to let her go during the holidays. It would have been so heartbreaking. Sure enough, although she was sick and would leave us about a month later, Noogie acted like herself that Christmas Eve—while my nephews and nieces ran and yelled in excitement around her. She had her appetite and she showed no signs of pain or stress. The first picture on the left was taken when she was still living at my parents’ house. That was Noogie in her prime—as if she was part of the gift exchange (well, she did get a few cat treats and toys). On the right, is a photo of her last Christmas. I still believe she was a tough cookie and wanted to spend one final holiday period with her loved ones. My wish had come true.
As owners of a dwarf rabbit, we learned very quickly about the complications that could arise when their delicate systems were thrown off balance. Force feeding was one of the ‘joys’ we encountered when Pookie had come back from any kind of procedure that required her to go under. I think the first time we were introduced to this experience was when we brought Pookie home after she was fixed. The doctor warned us that after waking up from the anesthesia, bunnies may be susceptible to starvation. This would be due to them forgetting that they need to eat because they may not feel 100% after an operation (they could be groggy or in slight pain). Somehow, if food does not reach the stomach regularly, the digestive system shuts down and the bunny stops eating. As the caretakers, we had to reintroduce food to her and make sure she became hungry again. The quickest way to get the procedure going is to make a mush with food pellets and water. This concoction is then put in a thick feeding syringe and then it’s time to make bunny eat! We never had much difficulty feeding her but sometimes it took a while. We would wrap her in a blanket and then insert the tip of the syringe in the side of her mouth (as seen in the picture above). As we pushed the food in, she would just automatically start chewing. But her mouth was so small that it was a long and messy process—her little tongue would flick pieces of food out as she ate. Watching her consume the paste was like witnessing a senior trying to eat without their teeth. She was adorable. The force feeding did do the trick and usually after one or two sessions, she would ‘remember’ to eat again.