One pet over the line

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Sweet Jesus, am I one pet over the line?* 

I think I may have maxed out on my capacity to take care of all these little creatures under my care. At current count, there are five of them – three cats and two rabbits.  I think the addition of Mr. Peabody (or shall I call him Mr. Peebody since that seems more appropriate) has finally tipped the scales into the unmanageable.

A year ago, I only had two pets who lived with me – my cats, Alaska and Saquatch.  Nomie had recently died, and since Nomie never really got along with the boys, they didn’t miss her much, and were pretty happy with having me all to their selves.  And, I was pretty content too.  I have always felt that two is the ideal number of cats to have.  Any more than that, you start flirting with being a cat lady.  There were no plans to replace Nomie, and besides bringing a new cat into the house would probably stress out the aged Alaska.

But, soon a little red Mini Rex bunny literally hopped into my home.  The first time I put up signs and made a real effort to find his owners.  And they did come, eventually, to reclaim him.  But, a few days later, the little bunny showed up again and hopped into my house.  Something was definitely wrong.  Rabbits are not  supposed to be free roaming in the neighborhood, and to let them do so was completely irresponsible.  So, this time rather than being proactive in contacting the owners, I wanted to see if they expressed any interest in finding the little guy.  They did not.  (And later I figured out that it probably was intentional b/c Mr. Binkles turned out to have a pretty nasty disposition.)  And I had already fallen for the little guy, so I boned up on bunny care and behavior, and made him part of the household.

A few months later, one of my ferals, Tangerine got into a fight and ended up with a oozing, pus-filled infected wound that needed to be treated.  I was hoping the vet would just lance the wound and give her a shot of antibiotics so I could just re-release her.  But no, she needed two weeks of antibiotics and warm compresses in order to heal properly.  My office became Tangerine’s temporary abode while she recovered.  While not crazy about me, she allowed me to hold her while I gave her medicines and tended to her wounds.  I didn’t know what was I going to do with her once she was healed, but re-releasing her was definitely an option.  That was until the boyfriend left the office door open and Tangerine was free in the house.  Great, now I had a feral cat hiding in my house.  With the freedom of the whole house she became unmanageable, and no longer wanted anything to do with me.  But, soon,  Alaska and Sasquatch accepted her and she really liked them.  And she had befriended Mr. Binkles, something other cats refused to do.  Fine,  you can stay.  

For the last few months everything has been fine.  Sure, I should be spending more time trying to socialize Tangerine, but she is much less fearful, so I figured she’s fine.  Alaska’s health is always a concern, and with his digestive and kidney issues, there are a lot of unpleasant cleaning tasks,  but it’s all been manageable.  That is, until Peabody entered the picture. 

He’s a sweet, sweet little bunny.  Unlike Mr. Binkles, Peabody doesn’t bite or lunge or chew the baseboards.   He’s friendly, curious and hella soft.  I figured he would make a good little buddy for Mr. Binkles.  Rabbits are very social animals, and when they bond with another animal, it is for life.  From what I have heard and read, bonded pairs are calmer, better behaved, and not that much more work than one bunny.  That is, once they are bonded.  Two unbonded boys, one of whom is a territorial little bastard, has proved to be quite hellish.  Did you know that rabbits are fierce little buggers?  I mean, fight to the death kind of fierce?  Trust me on this, I have the wounds on my legs to prove it.

It takes a lot of work to get a pair bonded, and it takes a lot of work to give them separate but equal living quarters in the interim.  And then there is making sure they have equal amount of free roam time, and ensuring the other one doesn’t escape and attack the other.   I also need to work on getting Mr. Peebody litter trained.  Unlike Mr. Binkles who took to the litter box like a pro, this little guy is not grasping the concept at all.  So, keeping his pen clean is also a lot of work.  Work, work, work.  Ugg.

So, I’m at a point where I’m considering making some phone calls and seeing if I can’t find Peabody a nice home.  I won’t take him to the shelter, because most shelters have too many bunnies and he may end up getting put to sleep.  And no, I’m not going to list him on Craig’s List.  Don’t get me on the soap box.  So, I don’t know what to do.  I should probably get him fixed before I make any decisions.  That may help a lot with the litter box issues and make it easier to bond the two boys. 

Sigh.

*apologies to Brewer & Shipley

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13 responses »

  1. I see the early signs of rabbit ladyhood. I don’t want to say I told you so…but, you know, I did tell you so. Still, you must be picking up heaps of merit. In some future life, Mr Peebody is sure to repay your kindness.

  2. What’s wrong with being a cat lady?

    After all, considering the typical crowd seen on a TV screen in an evening, from news through prime time, villains and egomaniacs most of them, there are certainly a lot worse in the world than cat ladies.

    Maybe we need more cat ladies; if I get a few more pups, can I be a dog man, too?

    Conversely, and in answer to your question, I think cat ladies have seven cats or more.

    I do not think rabbits should add to that count, either.

    Those I know with four to six usually got that far via rescue, anyway — and then invariably begin wondering if if they are on the verge of padding around the property in slippers and bathrobe, seemingly talking to themselves or making odd animal calls, *reasoning* with their felines in a musical voice (“you really should come try this food, it’s nummy I can tell, and you will hardly notice the medicine at all”), gradually disconnecting from human company.

    Maybe the world could use more cat ladies, ya know?

  3. It does seem like you pour a tremendous amount of energy into your brood. Karma and merit and zoological identity aside, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with deciding 4 creatures is enough to love and care for.

    You can send Mr. Peabody to me, but I’ll probably feed him junk-food and rename him Rambo.

  4. Wisdomjunkie – I know rabbit ladies, and I, my friend, am not a rabbit lady. No where near . . . yet. I’m on a couple of rabbit mailing lists and these rabbit ladies are 5, 6 . . . more rabbits. I am feeling quite pressed with just 2 at this point. I just need to learn the word “no”.

    Shu – When all are healthy and happy, it is indeed wonderful being surrounded by my crew, as motley at they are. As much as I would love to adopt you, you have a lovely home as it is, and people and creatures who love you very much.

    Adam – It’s funny, yesterday I had an appointment for a dermatologist to look at a thing on my leg. I was a little embarrassed when I exposed my lower leg with all the scratches. “Sorry for all the scratches. I got in the middle of a rabbit fight.” “…uh, that’s fine.” and about her business she went. I’m sure later that may give her pause.

    Ombuds – You’re right. There is no shame in having a big heart that is willing to take in animals that need rescuing. Hell, given the choice of being someone like say, Dick Cheny, or even Sarah Palin, I’ll gladly be a cat lady any day.

    Am – I still haven’t made up my mind about what to do about Peabody. I kinda want to give it my best shot before I give up. You’re right though, there is no shame in saying “I’m doing the best I can do, and this is all I can handle.” However, I always like to push my some a bit to see if I can handle more. But, I can say with certainty 5 is the absolute max.

    BB Golly – Noooooooooooooooooo. I’ve seen Big Buc in action and I don’t think I want any of my creatures near him.

  5. From one crazy bunny-mummy to another: 1. get Mr P neutered, that will help with the peeing and the litter-training, it will also help Mr Binkles accept him as he won’t smell of ‘rival’, all those pheromones are not good!

    2. have a couple of stiff drinks, by yourself, in a locked room.

    🙂

    Good luck!

  6. I seem to collect wayward children that way, although not in my home. They only attack me in my office and for the most part are potty-trained.

    Could you change the name of the blog to Lazy Buddhist Cat Lady?

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