It all started when my then 8 year old wanted a pet. As animal lovers we weren’t too surprised by this so we went through the catalog of small creatures that poop and he decided upon a rat. Yep, you read that right. We piled into the car and found a cute little rat and bought him a cute little harness with a leash. David trained the rat to do a few tricks and the thing would sit on his shoulder and nibble treats. It walked around the house on the leash and climbed up his leg. But in just a few short weeks the rat took playing dead very seriously and that was the end of the rat. No sniffles, no hacking cough, just dead. David was devastated. Enter the guinea pig.
The guinea pig was having nothing to do with any of that trick nonsense. It’s favorite game was playing keep away from the pick-me-up giant. It ate and squeaked and three weeks later had a stroke. Yep, lost all use of its hind quarters and died shortly after. David was again devastated, I was suspicious. Two critters in just a few months? I suspected we had a serial pet murderer. But with no forensic evidence and a blubbering 8 year old, we piled into the car to find…….the rabbit. (I figured what the heck. The thing was lucky if it lived 3 months.)
We traversed pet stores far and wide until we finally found Rex. He was the only living Norwegian Dwarf bunny in a 100 mile radius. He was tiny and fluffy and cute and David couldn’t put him down. We left the store with the necessary bunny necessities and began counting the days until the rabbit’s demise.
To digress just a bit….Did you know that a child could be perfectly capable of snuggling and eskimo kissing a rat and a guinea pig yet be allergic to a rabbit? Yep. Puffy eyes, sniffly nose, guess who gets to take care of the rabbit. Shouldn’t be too bad right? It’s days are numbered.
Flash to 11 long years later. The good news is we have exonerated all residents of pet murder. The bad news is I’m still taking care of this freakin rabbit! I swear the thing is immortal. Rabbits are the equivalent of lettuce. They live to be the bottom of the food chain. They eat and poop.
Which brings us to this morning. I always put it off until the last minute in the hopes that I’ll wake up one morning and Rex will no longer be in residence. No such luck today. Darn thing is still breathing. I had to clean the cage.
I began by trying to catch him before he took a nose dive into his box. As I was holding onto squiggling hind legs, I drug him out and in a deft maneuver of skill, flung him up to my chest while avoiding flailing bunny nails. We both calmed down some while breathing heavily then began the next phase of excitement: depositing Rex into the travel cage. Not a moment earlier I was trying to pry this critter out of a hole yet when confronted with the opening of a travel cage this rabbit can throw all four legs out to form an X incapable of fitting through the doorway. Pinning his forelegs to his body I managed to stuff the rabbit into his temporary quarters and shut the door. In a moment of pure maturity, I then stuck my tongue out at him because Iiiiiiii wooooonnn. Then I looked down at my shirt and noticed the streaks of who knows what and turned to see the rabbit sticking his tongue out at me. It seems it was a draw.
Maneuvering my plus sized frame into the minus sized cage opening, I retrieved various bowls, toy carrots, and towels full of rabbit fur (because as we all know rabbits in the wild decorate their nests with old towels and $4 carrot toys). I then groaned as I noticed that the poop to poop catcher ratio had been exceeded and went off to find something to reduce the pile. I believe it took over an hour because I’m so darned organized that I had nothing sitting around with which to scoop poop. That or I was avoiding it.
I settled on a cardboard box flap and began the ever so elegant task of having my ass sticking out of a rabbit cage while I spread poop around the mesh trying to make it all fall through the little holes. I believe this should be a video game as it was very entertaining. I finally felt it was safe to remove the pan hanging under the cage so I gave it a tug. Didn’t budge. So I gave it a bigger tug. Nope. I then braced my feet against the legs of the cage and attempted to rip the cage apart with my bare hands. That cage must have finally realized I was serious because that pan of poop flew out from under there at warp speed and proceeded to distribute its contents all over the floor. As I turned to give the rabbit a dirty look I could swear it was laughing.
Enter the dog. You’ve previously met Prancer as the pooch afraid of mice. Well she’s also none too pleased when any other creature gets too much of her share of attention. She was also concerned that the rabbit might have dropped anything edible into the litter and began to snuffle through it like a pig searching for truffles. I then had a floor full of poop, a shirt streaked with who knows what, a rabbit laughing its ass off, and a dog nose deep in litter. I was beginning to regret that one of my children wasn’t a serial pet murderer.
I swept up the litter, dropped the pan in the bathtub (don’t you dare judge me), and filled a bucket with hot water and pinesol. With the dog sucked to my leg for some unexplained reason, I began washing the bars of the cage wondering how much pinesol it would take to asphyxiate a rabbit when the bucket I so wisely had placed on top of the cage gracefully slid off the side in slow motion to empty itself onto me and the floor. I believe the rabbit filmed the whole episode and the footage will be appearing on UTube any day now.
Now did I happen to mention the flies? The rabbit has sublet and is sharing residence with a family of flies. I wouldn’t mind so much if they just shared his little dwelling but they seem to venture out routinely to drive me nuts. Given that my humor was fading fast, I decided if I couldn’t kill the rabbit I was going to exterminate his little friends and located one of those tubes of sticky fly paper. Feeling very empowered, I pulled that sticky swirl of death out and proceeded to the corner above the cage to set my trap of revenge. With the dog still under my feet and the floor wet and smelling pine fresh, I leaned over the cage to hang the fly strip on a little hook and slipped. Yes folks, I can now honestly say I have experienced the feeling of having fly paper stuck in my hair, across my face, and down my shirt. There are just no words. I will leave you with that image.
With wet socks, sticky hair, a streaked shirt, and a bathtub full of soaking poop pan, I washed my hands and ate a piece of cold pizza. No one deserved a bit of stress eating more than I did at that very moment.
Needless to say the adventure did finally end. I scrubbed the poop pan, unclogged the bathtub drain, cleaned the floor, reassembled the cage, washed my hair, changed my clothes, and refrained from killing the rabbit. After all, he has a clean cage and that rabbit is damn well going to live to enjoy it.
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