Sunday, 5 March 2017

Buncedotes #3 - A Brush with the Enemy

March has arrived, bringing with it a slight rise in temperature, a shooting of spring bulbs, and the occasional appearance of the sun. And, as most pet owners will tell you, spring is the harbinger of the DFC, the Dreaded Fur Cloud. In the case of rabbits this is no different than it is with cats and dogs, though with rabbits it comes with potentially more deadly consequences.

Like cats, bunnies are groomers. Their day seems to be made up of eat, wash, sleep, wash, play, wash, and poop, wash rhythms. Unlike cats their guts are not designed to produce fur balls, so any fur that is ingested has to pass through the whole system in order to come back out. The words Gastro-intestinal stasis, GI stasis for short, drive fear into every rabbit owner's heart. Rabbit guts are constantly in motion. If that motion stops, so does the rabbit, becoming lethargic, losing interest in food, and showing signs of pain. If the owner does not catch these signs, help may come too late for the little fluffer, which is why spending time with your rabbit and regular grooming are so important. Especially in spring, because rabbits take he idea of a new me for the new year very literally.

Lola reinventing herself mere hours into 2017

Gizmo and Lola's first moult in the months after their arrival was enlightening. Aware that bunnies needed grooming I had a brush at hand at the first signs of loose fur. Needless to say, the rabbits did not approve of my preparedness. Once they realised what the brush was and what it was used for, Lola decided she had no use for such a thing and ran away, gleeful that I chased her across the flat, while Gizmo glared at me from inside his hidey-hole. Ever the caring bunny parent I got a grooming glove, believing I could trick them into thinking I was merely offering cuddles. After the first run over her body Lola was on to me, while Gizmo attacked the vicious monster that was not the hand he was slowly beginning to trust. Still, we managed and as that spring progressed Gizmo revealed that there was a bit of lionhead in his blood and day by day grew the luxurious mane which has since become his fluffiest asset.

Gizmo may sport, long, velvety strands of hair, but it is Lola's short silken coat that caused the dust bunnies in my living-room to multiply like... well... rabbits. For all its lusciousness, Gizmo's coat is very thin, while Lola's supply of fur appears almost as infinite as her hatred of the brush. Unfortunately for her, her dense coat paired with her tendency to overgroom mean that she gets brushed almost every day year round. By now she has come to accept her daily sessions, though not graciously and only with the immediate appearance of a treat as soon as she is done.

In spite of my rigorous efforts there comes a day, usually around mid-February, when Lola goes from leaving a few tufts on the rug every so often to a full on fur explosion. Fur on my clothes, on the sofa, in my nose, my eyes, even on the toothbrush half a flat away. Five minutes in the Bunny Hair Salon promptly turn into thirty-five, and Lola becomes a permanent evil glare under the coffee table.

The Glare

In spite of all the hard work and many hours of hoovering they cause, rabbits, in their heart of hearts, remain helpful creatures. Lola will happily flatten her cotton balls into the carpet to stop them from flying off, while Gizmo carries the dustpan off after all is done.

No one needs to know the colour of the carpet, anyway.

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