Saturday, 4 April 2015

New Box

Using a cardboard box as a toy seems an economic and relatively easy way of entertaining a bunny, but it's been at least two months until we found a new, suitable box for Jippie. Previously, the boxes that we've got from purchasing various goods just couldn't fit the requirements. They were either too flat, too short or too cellophane-taped.

Saturday was the local supermarket's no-plastic-bags day, so they provided boxes for people to carry their groceries. Finally, finally, finally ... a good, hardy cardboard box. (Hey, we didn't grab it greedily or anything, it was needed for our day's shopping anyway.)

I cut away the flaps and cut out two holes, making the box into a tunnel. My younger sister drew a cartoon of Jippie onto the box. She loves drawing comics.

A frolicking Jippie!

I drew a picture of a carrot and apple, but I'm not good at drawing so ... y'all aren't going to get a glimpse of how it looks like. Anyhow -

Psstt - Jippie!! We got a new box for you!

"What? I'm busy."

Ah, there's the old brown box. There're actually urine stains on it ... All because once, Jippie urinated on the floor and well, the liquid flowed right towards and soaked the box. We were going to throw it away, but as a replacement wasn't given to Jippie, he became depressed and sulky. And so, the box was placed back to his play area.

Now, back to the present. Jippie, don't you want to check out the new box? *eager, sparkling eyes*

"I'm busy, hoomin."

... Fine. Never mind, folks. He'll be sure to explore it later once we place a veggie strand or two on its top. (Okay, he did sort of inspect the box five minutes after these photos were taken. He poked his head into one of the holes, with his ears erected and alert, as if checking to see if there were anything suspicious hiding inside the box!)

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Three Years Old!

Our beloved boy has turned three years old. Oh, how time flies! This sounds old-fashioned but - it seems like only yesterday that we brought him home.

This little prince has opened up even more parts of the bunny's world to me. Through him, I've learnt how bunnies would also have special needs. I thought I'd already know everything after reading lots of bunny books, but it turns out there's still so much to learn.

Jippie never let his disability get in his way - his binkies are spectacular! Sometimes, he would trip on the splayed leg when turning a corner (when he runs too fast), but he simply stands up and resumes his energetic hops. 

He's a shy fella, though. It took a really long time before he completely trusted us. In the past, when we were eating apple and cutting out a small piece for him, he would stand beside his treat bowl politely, waiting for us to place the apple inside the bowl. Getting too close to humans wasn't something he felt comfortable with. 

Now, the apple routine has changed. Jippie's steps his feets on ours and uses his nose to bonk our legs impatiently! (... And occasionally his claws would poke our skin at a certain angle ... Ooouchh!!) 

Every single night before I go to sleep, I gently rub Jippie's cheeks and tell him, 'Good night, Rup. See you tomorrow, boy.' And I say, 'I love you.' Maybe animals can't understand human language, but they can feel and understand our voices. 

The arrival of bunnies in my life is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Without them, I would never have anything else I have today. They changed my life. Even if they have crossed the Bridge, they're still close to my heart. They're with me, just not physically. 

Jippie's our special boy and we love him so very much. Happy birthday, little Jup. xx May we have many bunderful years ahead together! 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Litter Training Your Bunny

What is litter training?
Litter training is the process of training an indoor pet (in this case, bunnies) to dispose of his/her waste materials in a litter box. Bunnies can be trained to urinate in a litter box.

Benefits of litter training:
  • your cleaning work is eased and the process is made faster. Further benefits from this include:
    • you'll have more time for your bunny.
  • the bunny's play area space can be expanded. Further benefits from this include:
    • more toys can be placed into the play area.
    • you'll have more space to sit when you're hanging out with your bunny.
    • bunny will have more space to hop, run and binky.
  • the bunny can be given full access to all places of the house. Further benefits from this include:
    • interaction between bunny and human naturally increases even more.

The advantages listed above obviously benefits both bunny and human. However -

Expectations and reality facts:
  • the bunny will still be extremely likely to poop at random places OR while hopping around.
  • occasionally (or even a few times a day), bunny may still urinate outside the litter box.
  • the litter training process may take weeks or months; the time varies between bunnies.
  • young bunnies (below 6 months old) tend to be more difficult to litter train.
  • adult bunnies (above 6 months old) tend to be easier to litter train.

Beginning with the Right Attitude
  • DO NOT scold, hit, or punish your bunny in any way when he/she does not use the litter box. The bunny would associate the litter box with bad treatment in this way, and this does not help the training process.
  • When you spot your bunny using the litter box, DO
    • give lots and lots of praise!
    • reward your bunny with a piece of his/her favourite vegetable each time.
  • Bunnies learn by doing the right thing and being rewarded, NOT by making mistakes and being scolded.

Things needed:
Note: Various suggestions are listed in (i), (ii) ... etc.

1. Litter box
  • Purpose: The litter box is where the bunny hops inside to urinate.

(i) Household-item-turn-litter-box
This is the litter box my bunnies use. It is a two-layered basket-like object - its original usage was for people to place washed vegetables and fruits in it to dry.

  • Notes on litter box:
    • If the litter box purchased has two layers, check that the holes on the upper layer are smaller than your bunny's feet. This is because if the bunny's foot gets stuck in one of the holes, there is a dangerous risk of the leg breaking as he/she attempts to pull out the foot in panic.
    • You can place rubber matting on the upper layer to better ensure safety.

      Rubber matting on upper layer of litter box

(ii) Cat litter box*
More on using cat litter boxes for bunnies here

2. Litter
  • Purpose: To be placed in the litter box to absorb the bunny's urine.

(i) Newspaper
  • the cheapest and safest kind of litter.
  • you can tear newspapers into shreds or simply into halves before you line them on the litter box.

    Dutchie amidst shredded newspaper.

(ii) Carefresh litter*

  • Notes on litter:
    • It is strongly advised that you DO NOT purchase the following types of litter:
      • pine OR cedar shavings - phenols, natural volatile chemicals in the wood, have been found to cause respiratory problems and liver damage in bunnies.
      • clumping OR clay-based litter - causes potentially fatal blockage if the bunny consumes it.
    • Personally, I also advise that you DO NOT purchase any shavings that are sold in different scents. Once, I bought a "natural" scented shaving and I noticed that my bunnies (and also me) sneeze a lot when the shavings are used. When I stopped using the shavings, everyone returned to normal.

3. Some poop and urine-soaked litter
  • Purpose: To be placed in litter box. This tells the bunny that the litter box is where he/she should "go".

4. Puppy pens
  • Purpose: To confine the bunny to a limited area and used throughout the litter training process.
    Puppy pens
  • Note on puppy pens:
    • The puppy pens should be able to be hooked and unhooked, so that they can be rearranged to create different play area sizes.

      One of the hooks

5. A shallow storage box (optional)
  • Purpose: To contain the litter box. I use such a box because sometimes, my bunnies back up so far in the litter box that urine goes over the edge.

    The storage box lined with a layer of newspaper

*Recommended by many bunny owners, but I personally have not tried this.

The litter training process
1. Place your chosen type litter into the litter box.

A layer of newspaper at the bottom and shredded ones on top.

2. Place urine-soaked litter and several poop into the litter box.

Placing urine-soaked newspaper into the litter box.
(Alternatively, you can use a paper towel to mop up a puddle of urine and place that.)

Placing poop into the litter box.

3. Place the prepared litter box in your bunny's favourite toilet spot.
  • Also, make Timothy hay available right next to the litter box. Bunnies like to munch on hay and use the litter box at the same time.
I've made two holes in a paper towel and stuck hay into them; the paper roll is hung onto the cage using a S-hook.

Jippie eating hay

4. Confine your bunny to a limited area using puppy pens.
  • When your bunny successfully uses the litter box for a period of time, eg: a week, rearrange the pens to create a larger space. Then, after a week, if he/she successes again, expand more!
  • Example:

Week 1
Week 2

Week 3

The cleaning chores
  • Litter boxes should be cleared and washed daily
  • Rinse the box thoroughly with water. 
  • DO NOT leave out any areas, or they'll get really foul-smelling.

As an additional note here, I would suggest that you buy more than one litter box, so that while Litter Box #1 is being washed, your bunny can use Litter Box #2.

The cleaning process:
  1. Wear a mask and a pair of plastic gloves.
  2. Throw out the litter and wash the litter box.
  3. Place new litter into a second, clean litter box.

General tips
  • If your bunny has chosen a new toilet spot right after the litter box is placed in his/her old one, move the litter box to the new spot. It's easier to follow the bunny's choice rather than instruct (which is quite impossible) him/her to urinate in a spot you have chosen.
  • If your bunny has many favourite toilet spots, you can supply the bunny with more litter boxes, one for each spot. Reduce the number of boxes gradually as your bunny develops the habit of using a litter box.

Lastly, as a reminder, be patient when litter training your bunny! Bunnies learn by doing the right thing and being rewarded, NOT by making mistakes and being scolded.

First published on 04/08/2011

Monday, 9 March 2015

Taken 3

Taken 3, the third movie in the Taken series. Taken was epic, Taken 2 was great, but Taken 3 ... I personally think it's okay as an action film because a plot exists and Liam Neeson stars in it.

What I didn't expected was the movie to be unintentionally hilarious at certain points. :P

#1: Stuart St John's "poems"
Oh, this made us laugh like hysterics! We still laugh about it till now. Stuart owes money to Malankov, and is terrified by him, but when Bryan Mills demands Stuart to tell him everything he knows about Malankov, Stuart begins dramatically, "Oleg Malankov".

He then proceeds to talk about how Malankov is a skilled, evil man. This wasn't supposed to be funny at all, but the way Stuart says it was as if he was eulogizing Malankov's "achievements" in a poem.

Oleg Malankov
He's as tough as they come
He served in the Russian army when they invaded Afghanistan
He was Spetnaz
It's like our Navy Seals ...

The second "poem" was about the security in Melankov's bulding. Stuart began, once more, with "Malankov."

He works out of his penthouse apartment
He has a private elevator with two bodyguards ...

Why does he have to state Malankov's name each time? XD

#2: Battle between Malankov and Bryan Mills 
Mills was as cool as usual. Malankov, on the other hand ... Despite using a machine gun, he kept missing Mills, who was only holding a small pistol gun and was probably exhausted after fighting off the bodyguards outside. So much for skilled evil. :P

What made it even funnier, was how Malankov here was simply wearing a bath robe and underwear. And as known by the audience, Malankov died in the end. In the underwear, in a very hilarious posture.

#3: Doltzer and the bagels
The police inspector throughout the movie is shown eating and being amused by bagels. He ate the bagels right at the crime scene (!), he ate bagels at a shop, and revealed at the end "It was the bagels" that somehow, made him believe Mills was innocent.

Still, #3 was nowhere near as funny as Malankov.