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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A I don’t know what to do (seeking advice)

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    • Anonymousghost
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        So I recently got a bunny for the first time. I have Autism, Adhd and signs of depression, which greatly limits me. I got my first bunny within 3 days, something I wouldn’t love to admit being an impulse buy. My bunny is around two months and a half and I am trying to train her to be inside. We currently also have a cat who does not get along with the bunny necessarily leaving her in my bedroom.

        Already upon reserving my bunny, I started having my doubts about if it was something I could handle and if I could really be a good owner for her. I struggle a lot with skill regression and I can’t even really leave my house most of the time which leads to the fact that I can’t really take care of myself, so I worry I won’t be able to care for her properly. So I worried a lot about getting a rabbit, even before getting her It made little sense as I’ve always been very much a cat person as most other animals scared me and or I couldn’t properly provide for. But I had a hard time declining once I had already said I would get her. She has been in my room for around 24 hours in a nice setup I made. I am afraid I am not fit for a rabbit owner, and I can’t help but think her life would be much better spent with another family maybe a bit more mentally ready and or able to care for her in a better way than I.

        I just also fear confusing her or stressing her out with the constant moving around. I don’t know if I should try to wait it out and continue or if I should give her a better option for her life. It just saddens me, cause I really want to take care of her well, but I’m afraid of it being a ‘right pet at the wrong time’ type of thing.  I would really like some help cause I don’t know what to do anymore-

         

        I’m afraid keeping her with my declining mentality isn’t- good for her.


      • DanaNM
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          I think it’s admirable that you are being honest with yourself, and I don’t think there is any shame in rehoming or returning her if you realize a rabbit just isn’t the right pet for you. Far too often rabbits suffer because people are too ashamed to get help, or they are impulse buys that are abandoned, especially this time of year.

          BUT, I also think it would be good to give yourself a little bit of time and compassion while you adjust to the routine of a new pet. Where did you get her from? Would it be possible to simply return her to the place you got her from?

          I have both bunnies and cats, and I agree bunnies are more work than cats, and are more sensitive. They are more sensitive to illnesses and changes in diet. Your bun is also quite young still, so will need to be spayed or neutered once she gets older (I say neutered in case she ends up being a male, young bunnies are very often mis-sexed).

          For bunnies, the most important things are that they have plenty of hay and water available 24/7. Lots of people order hay online so they can have it delivered regularly. I personally get mine from a feed shop as it’s much cheaper that way. For a young rabbit, you would also provide alfalfa-based pellets in basically unlimited amounts until she is 6-7 months old. Then those would get tapered down to a smaller amount and transitioned to an adult rabbit formula (timothy based).

          The other key component is exercise and interaction. Cats and rabbits can and do usually get along, but I agree with a baby bunny having some separation is a good thing for now. So making sure you spend time with her and she gets some exercise (about 4 hrs a day is a good starting point) in a bunny-proofed room is important. I usually spend a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening with my buns, and more on the weekends.

          I use clean my rabbits’s litter boxes every other day, sometimes every 3 days when I’m busy. So that’s the other key part of regular care. I use the same litter for my cats and bunnies boxes, pine pellets, which makes it easy to keep stocked up.

          So I think my advise is that it’s OK to return or rehome her, but it’s also OK to give it a couple weeks and see how it goes. You may find that having a more scheduled routine with her will help you. Many rabbit rescues are overrun this time of year, so you may be a better home for her than you think.

          It can be very easy to get overwhelmed with being perfect with bunnies, but it sounds like you are a caring person and what to do a good job with her, which puts your bun in a much better position than many rabbits out there. If you get overwhelmed it helps to focus on the essentials: food, water, sanitation, and exercise time and you will be at a very good starting point.

          . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


          • Anonymousghost
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              I thank you so much for your advice! I had to kinda sleep on it and relax a bit. I had a hectic weekend on the day of getting her and it took a lot of communicating with my housemate to calm myself down a bit. With my Autism, I am a very routine person, so it probably also freaked me out that I had a new responsibility to work into my routine, As my Autism has made me so sensitive that- like… for example, if my hairbrush isn’t in the same spot as usual, I’ll panic, I won’t be able to make it to work that day-. When you watch a lot of videos in a short span- trying to learn everything to be the perfect bunny owner from the beginning, it made me overthink it and even become overworked mentally before I had even properly gotten to know her… I had convinced myself I was gonna have to talk to her and play with her all the time when that’s simply not the case… Of course, I am giving her plenty of attention! To the best of my abilities at least when she wants, while also being able to give myself space to continue comfortably doing work and or other chores… even eating outside of my room.

              I got her from a pet store in my town, it’s a very local place and the owner is really nice so- if it eventually becomes too much for me in the end I think I’ll be okay. But- I think it just took a bit of time.

              I’m not very okay- like, mentally or physically lately, but, My bun seems really happy… And is even skipping around her playpen whenever I give her a few pets and or when I wake up. And she even runs circles around my legs when I step in… and or she’ll give me a few licks when I pet her. She hadn’t even gotten properly used to her new home before I freaked out, and I hadn’t gotten used to sharing my space with another being. So I think it truly just was taking some time to adjust to the new situation.

              She constantly has food! (I am allergic to grass pollen- but providing her with the hay I’m available to get doesn’t hurt me too much except for a few sneezes). I constantly refill her water… And even in just a few days of being here- she is litterbox trained (which is- beyond wild to me but apparently came easy to her).

              I really love my bun. And- I think she’s shown at least that she’s alright around me… After calming down and just, letting myself relax I think I’d regret if I had immediately gotten her re-homed. Where I’m from, House rabbits are very rare… So if I even were to rehome her she’d most likely end up in a cage. Seeing a young bun like her- just static to get just a little bit of running space is something I wouldn’t be able to take away from her…

              If I end up panicking and or get stressed or overthink I’ll know to just relax… but If my mental health gets to a point where I cannot provide her with necessities I will most likely rehome her as that would be the best for her. But for now… I think we’re okay.

              The only issue now really is trying to… discipline her- so she doesn’t accidentally hurt herself- (she has learnt that if she climbs on certain things she can get onto her litterbox- which she slides off of.) But I’m working on it! and… it will take time… but that’s okay!

              I thank you for your advice! truly. and I’m gonna be taking it into account! and… just doing my best to keep her happy without completely overwhelming myself!


            • DanaNM
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                I’m glad you feel better! Youtube can definitely be an overwhelming source of information! There are lots of opinions about the only “right” way to keep rabbits, when the reality is they are just opinions and every rabbit (and every human owner) is different.

                If you have any specific questions that pop up, the Rabbit Info section on this site is a really wonderful compilation of information that has been vetted by multiple experts, and tends to take a more balanced approach. You can browse the dif sections here: https://binkybunny.com/house-rabbit-information/

                I’m glad you are settling into the new routine with her. Many people find bunnies to be a very calming presence, so I hope you do as well.

                One thing to keep on the horizon is that she is likely young since you got her at a pet store. When she hits puberty (usually around 4-6 months of age) she may lose litter box habits and develop some hormonal behaviors or aggression. It’s really recommended to spay female rabbits for health reasons (they have high rates of uterine cancer otherwise), which will also help her litter box habits return and the hormonal behaviors die down. With male buns neutering helps with hormonal behaviors as well (spraying, excessive humping, etc.). Just something to keep in mind (lots of people are shocked when their perfect baby bun starts acting crazy lol) and plan to do in the first year or so if possible.

                . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


              • Anonymousghost
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                  Yeah… Youtube- or the channels I have viewed have been very- ”do this or you are not fit for a bunny”, ”your bunny hates this” or ”You need this item for your bunny to be happy.”… so it’s- definitely a bit stressful at times so I try to take it with a grain of salt…

                  I am definitely looking to get her spayed- just in case and for her own safety- She’s around two and a half months or so as of right now. The pet store in my town can wary with the pet ages- Some of the pets she sells are definitely mature- and usually, they are not as small as my bun. She’s a Hermelin? (Polish rabbit?), and I believe they are just naturally very small… But yeah, definitely keep in mind to get her spayed! I’m lucky I have a vet in my town who also has Bun services! So I’ve tried to prepare myself for the eventual switch in behaviour- if it comes…

                  But thank you so much for the information- and I am definitely gonna look into it!


                • DanaNM
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                    That’s great there’s a bunny vet in your town, that is important! You might inquire about becoming a new patient before you actually need to, just to get into their system.

                    And yes haha, many of the popular bunny youtubers make my eyes roll LOL. Although of course there are good ones too, there is a series of videos by Howcast on rabbit care that we often recommend here (they have a great one on nail trimming). We often have people asking for help on the forum because they saw on youtube or social media that they ONLY way to have a bunny is 100% free roam, and then the bun is destroying their house so they are considering re-homing…. rather than just using a pen when the rabbit is unsupervised.  New bunnies are a lot like puppies… they need some boundaries at first!  I used to volunteer at a shelter and lots of rabbits were surrendered due to misinformation or lack of information as well (such as people not knowing about the importance of neutering and then giving up the bun due to poor litter box habits).

                    Anyway I will stop ranting!

                    . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


                  • Anonymousghost
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                      I honestly appreciate the ranting! It just makes me more informed! Which means the world to me especially when this sort of thing is out of my usual comfort zone!

                      But I’ll probably look into it… Our cat is 13-14… and we’ve had her for a while, she wasn’t domesticated when we got her but she’s registered at that vet, apparently they love her down here…  but she wasn’t registered before last year apparently? even though she’s spayed. But I’ll attempt to make some calls down there to see if adding my bun to their system would be a possibility!

                      I will have to check out those videos! I like to take videos- at least a lot of those who give you legit steps on how to take care of your bunny more as advice… since every bunny is individual! I did have one litterbox training video that worked like a charm! I don’t remember which one- but she had a few accidents the first day… and the second day after she got used to her litterbox- she started slowly only using it! And of course, when the signs come, I’ll have her spayed, she learns- so quickly it’s super impressive to me… She’s not even skittish around new people? And not even skittish around my cat… My cat is more scared of her to be honest…

                      But I definitely need to watch some videos on nail trimming-… that’s a thing I’ve never done? Also since in the cat world it’s sort of like a rule that you don’t trim your cat’s nails or get them removed… so that’s also super new to me! But I’m managing so far in every other category!

                      I really do appreciate your words of advice and knowledge this far- might not seem like a lot but to me it means the world!


                  • LBJ10
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                      Dana gave you some wonderful advice. I agree that there is no shame in rehoming, especially if it is so she can have a better life. But it has also only been a day or so. I don’t think there is anything wrong with waiting a few weeks to see how things go.

                      Being completely honest here… I think everyone goes through that “OMG, what did I just do?” shock after bringing a new pet home. Even when it wasn’t an impulse buy. If you are not used to having a routine for them, it can feel very overwhelming at first. But once the routine is established, it becomes so much easier and you start to have a hard time imagining what it would be like if they weren’t there.

                      I’m not trying to downplay your underlying issues, of course. I’m just trying to show you that these feelings are normal. For some people, these feelings are easier to overcome. For others, they really have to work at it. You may have to work harder, but that doesn’t mean the feelings will never go away or that you won’t be able to provide a good home for this bunny.


                      • Anonymousghost
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                          Thank you! I really truly appreciate it- just even a little reassurance is really nice. I’ve never had a bunny, nor an inside bunny! So now that it’s been a few days and things have calmed more down, I’ve of course gotten a bit more comfortable…

                          I’ve always been known as ‘the cat guy’, and the guy who’d end up being a crazy ‘cat grandpa’? so a bunny is nothing I myself had even ever imagined- but I fell so in love with my bunny when I saw her that, All logic kind of left my head, or any habits I had- and I just knew I really wanted to give her a home. Which clearly made me panic once- realization set in that- her life is in my hands now- her and the cat.

                          I’m at least fortunate that- I do not live alone, which means If it gets too hard or I do not know what to do or if… I end up having an Autism meltdown that might leave me unable to care for her for the rest of a day- I know she’ll be taken care of- (heck my roommate loves her more than the cat so-) I’ve slowly at least established a routine with her. Of course, I know it is gonna be hard- but I think I need to maybe be a bit nicer to myself sometimes- cause I know for certain I’d do anything to make sure my bun is happy.

                          Shall my mental health ever come to a place where I am simply unable to care for her properly- I will try to look for a better home for her. But for now at least… I just need to try and avoid my fuzzy head and relax the best I can!

                          but honestly- do appreciate the reassurance! so much!… (and I apologize for the long messages… I get a little carried away ^^)

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