Still find it hard to believe that we have a pet rabbit! Other people get dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters… We have a rabbit. Nearly 5 months since Cotton has arrived into the household. Meanwhile, she has ripped up duvet covers, chewed through my pineapple plants, and left various teeth marks on our clothes. Just the other day, I found out that on one of my favorite tops, there was a small hole right in the middle, no doubt her masterpiece.
I sent many of her photos to friends and family. Whilst majority of comments come as
“Aw, so cute”
“OMG, I am gonna put her in my bag!”
“She is so adorable!”
which have made me feel a bit chuffed.
Yet, a few ones were these:
From my mum:
“Oh, she is fat, you should put her on a diet. You know it is cruel to induce animal obesity”
“No, I tell you. lean animals live longer…”
“Besides, being too fat will make your rabbit dumb” (I look at Cotton, well, she does give little stupid impressions now and then, but it is kind of cute)
“She looks like she needs exercise, just let her run around on the balcony.”
“Are you sure it is a rabbit, not some kind of special rodent…”
“It looks a bit tubby. You should get a leash and walk her in your garden. It would be good let her eating fresh grass with water dews still on them” (Um, just a minute ago you couldn’t tell the differences between a rat and rabbit, now you are the expert)
From a distant relative:
“Oooh, I think she is fat enough to be on the dinner table…” (Um, I didn’t reply, seriously, Cotton is a pet! Besides, how can anyone eat such a cute bundle of fluff)
“Oh gosh, she’s huge!”
“You must be so proud of having a fat bunny”
These comments, at the beginning, were very amusing to me. Yes, Cotton does look a bit round, especially when she rolled into a ball, in the rabbit signature ‘loaf’ position. However, upon hearing this many times, it has started to make me doubt whether Cotton is really fat and whether I have been a bad ‘rabbit mother’, neglecting her wellbeing. Whilst other time, I felt very protective over Cotton as if all the ‘fat’ comments would hurt her esteem, despite the fact she probably has not a single clue what everyone has been saying.
After a while, I went to the vet and started asking whether Cotton has obesity. Well, I do tend to be a bit hypochondriac sometime. The response from the vet was good, Cotton is definitely within the normal range of weight. If anything at all, she is in fact very athletic. Phew, a major relief for a ‘mother’. Yet, I still feel her tummy everyday, just to make sure she hasn’t put on weight. I guess, after all, Cotton is just very fluffy and furry. And under all those thick furs is a lean rabbit.
I can have my peace of mind now…
Little nuggets of advice:
More often than not, animals cannot regulate their own food intake. Their instincts are to take as much food as possible. This is especially true when it comes to high protein, high sugar food. 80% of a rabbit’s diet should be made of dried hay (e.g meadow hay, timothy hay), or fresh cut grass. The other 20% should be composed of two cups of fresh vegetables, 2 egg cups worth of pellets and a small amount of fruit. Cotton loves rabbit pellets, but the pellets are high in protein and low in fibre, which are not good for rabbits in large quantity. Fruits are another of Cotton’s favourites, although they contain high fructose, which can cause digestive tract upset when fed too much. Besides, rabbits are known to not be able to regulate their blood sugar effectively, so fruits should only be served as treats.
Furthermore, rabbits should be allowed to run around and do jumps for exercise. Cotton loves sprinting in our corridor at full speed and jumping onto my bed. We have recently bought her a rabbit agility kit, although to be fair, it is way too easy for her.
Certainly, having an active and lean rabbit has encouraged me to pay more attention to my diet and exercise routines. You cannot have a healthy rabbit with an unhealthy ‘rabbit mummy’! 😉