Simplify Your Life Week – Clips for Bunnies 2

Tigger & Shadow on top of their cages

Tigger & Shadow on top of their cages

Tigger made it quite clear as a baby that she intended to hop up on top of her cage. She would sit up on her hind legs as far as she could trying to see the top, which wasn’t at all possible since she was just two pounds and the cage top was 18 inches high. However, we knew Tigger, whether she could see it or not, she was going to go there. That presented a problem, because the spacing of the bars on the cage top was too wide for even a full-grown small rabbit to safely land, let alone a baby. We needed to do something fast to make it safe for whenever Tigger decided to make the leap.

At first we took a piece of cardboard cut to the size of the cage top and used ACCO binder clips to fasten the cardboard at the four corners to the top bars of the cage. Tigger made a safe but very slippery landing her first time hopping up there. So I hit the discount stores and found a small throw rug exactly the size needed. If I hadn’t, I would have cut a carpet remnant to size. We put the carpet on top of the cardboard and used giant 4″ metal paper clips to clip the carpet to the cardboard at the four corners.

Close up of the clips in action

Close up of the clips in action

That was a complete success on several fronts. It made the cage top safe for Tigger to hop up. Then when Shadow joined us two months later with his own cage, we fixed his the same.  Since he could see her hopping up on top while she would free roam, he learned even more quickly than she did to hop up on top. They were kept safe from harm and it gave them an added space that they love, a bunny rabbit high ground to survey their territory. Since the cardboard and carpet are clipped on, it is very easy to take apart to clean cages, the carpets or replace the cardboard.

When they were younger they would just hop straight up and down from the cage top.  Now that they have become senior buns that is a little bit too high.  The cages are pushed up against a loveseat and the seat there is a few inches lower than their cage tops.  So now they hop up on the loveseat and then hop over to the cage tops.  In the future we may need to look at some pet steps if the loveseat begins to be too high.

For now everyone is happy with the bunny high ground.

Simplify Your Life Week – Clips for Bunnies

ACCO binder clips and beyond jumbo paper clipsThis post is about hitting the office products department to help with bunnyproofing and make your life with rabbits simpler.  Both clips in the picture are 1 1/4 inches wide.  The black ACCO binder clip is 2 inches long while the giant paper clip is 4 inches long.

How do we use these? These clips are great for holding cardboard together to make replaceable walls to keep bunny away from baseboards, furniture or doors you don’t want chewed.  To see cardboard walls and pictures we created, here is a link back to an article I wrote at the end of June, The Great Wall of Cardboard.

A little bit later today, I will post some pictures showing how we used these clips, cardboard and carpet to both protect the bunnies and create a fun place to hang out.

Simplify Your Life Week – Drop Cloths for Bunnies

Waterproof Flannel Pads for Babies

Carter's Waterproof Flannel Pads on

When Tigger and Shadow first came to us, they were babies with no litter box training.  Tigger came first and we started her out in kitchen and bath areas that had linoleum floors.  We temporarily put away our good throw rugs and invested in some inexpensive ones from discount stores that could be easily thrown in the wash for cleaning.  We put several down to allow her run space.  Still, it was a bit slippery for her.

Two months later Shadow came home.  Tigger was litter box trained by then. We had both of them in side by side cages in a bedroom designated as theirs.  This room was carpeted wall to wall.  So to allow little Mr. Shadow run time while still being litter box trained, we needed a plan to protect the carpeting.

I do what has become a regular event over the years, I hit the discount stores and would walk up and down the aisles looking for any products that could be used for our needs.  I found what I was looking for in the baby department, 100% flannel pads that were waterproof and machine washable.  They had lap cloths, bassinet size and crib size.  I pretty much bought out the store’s supply, creating a bunny layette.  It turned out to be a very good investment.

The two crib sized “drop cloths” allowed coverage of all the open carpeted area if we put down two side by side.  If we had Shadow up on a twin size bed, we could protect the bed with one crib sized pad or a couple of the bassinet sized ones.  The smaller basinet and lap size pads could be used when holding him on our laps, for other small areas, or as a patchwork on the floor if the larger crib sized pads were in the wash.

After Tigger and Shadow were both litter box trained, I found a place to store the pads and held on to them.  I had a feeling they were going to get more use.  Prior to losing our third bunny Portia, she had a urinary tract infection.  The vet wanted her to have a lot of free run time, but the infection meant she had lost her ability to make it to the litter box on time.  So our drop cloths came back out and protected the rug in little Portia’s area. 

After she recovered, a few pads needed to be replaced since she was quite messy and also had chewed some holes in some to vent her frustration while ill.  We put the pads back into storage and they came out again this year when Tigger started having some bouts with stasis.  The pads are helpful in my lap and over my shoulder as we medicate, feed her and give her extra water.  We have found that things can be coming out of both ends of the rabbit when you have to do force feedings.

The waterproof flannel pads were a great purchase.  Since they are designed with messy babies in mind and keeping things protected from baby accidents, they work extremely well for messy bunnies too.  The clean up is great, just put them in the washer and dryer per instructions.  Then they are ready again for the next round.

Just Thinking …


I just love this photo from!

It is Saturday, a day to unwind, review, mull … zzz. Whoops have to catch myself. Actually, I have been hopping and bopping around the internet to various sites. I am always on the look out for great bunny things or funny bunny ideas.

I am thinking about bunny poo today, lots and lots of bunny poo.  Part of that is because I see lots and lots of bunny poo.  Even when I don’t see the bunnies, I see evidence of the existence of bunnies here.

We didn’t realize that the careful leaving of rabbit droppings in specific areas is part of rabbit territorial marking.   Now we do.  However, we keep telling Tigger and Shadow it really isn’t necessary to mark the area around their litter box as theirs by ringing it with poo.  No one else is going to be claiming those boxes.  We have found that a kitchen skimmer (dedicated to the bunnies, no going back to the kitchen now!)  is a great tool to scoop those up and drop them in the litter boxes.  The cat scoops always had holes too big and allowed the poos to drop right through.

So where am I going with all the poo? Oh that would be telling today and I am going to make you wait and come back another day to find out.

Rabbit Radar

Shadow has Rabbit RadarOnce again Shadow’s radar ability astonishes. I don’t know how he does it, whether it is sensing or hearing or a combination of both. He is so fine tuned to knowing where and when something is happening that needs his rabbit investigation:

  • Open a closet door, Shadow will be hopping in shortly
  • Start petting Tigger’s head, no matter where he is in the house, Shadow will  come running, me too!
  • Sit down to read a book or magazine, he will hop up
    wanting to chew the pages

Tigger has the same radar ability, but has less interests than Shadow does.  If you turn on the faucet in the kitchen or start to open a bag of greens, Tigger will be there, dancing on the edge of the dining room rug.  Sometimes she comes skating across the linoleum on the kitchen floor in her excitement to get to new food.

Both have one interest in common, treats!  Rattle anything that sounds like a container with treats and they are not only there, but dancing up and down on their back two legs like crazy rabbits.  Fresh bananas are a special treat and we need to sneak them out to the patio, garage or other areas if we want to eat them in peace.  I thought it was the smell that they were fine tuned to, until I realized that Shadow was repeatedly showing up before I even had the skin off the banana, usually when I first snapped it.  The boy recognizes the sound of a banana about to be opened!

It continues to amaze me just how much rabbits are able to recognize if you give them the chance to interact and roam around freely.

Best Toy Choices

Tigger & chewed cardboard

Did I do that?

Yesterday I wrote about our Great Wall of Cardboard which got me thinking a lot about cardboard and just how much the bunnies love cardboard.  Hands down, the things that have kept our bunnies the most occupied over the years were made of cardboard or paper.

If you want to keep a bunny occupied, they are a lot like small children, much more interested in the box than what came in the box.  Remember that before you go investing in expensive bunny toys that you think are cute but the bunnies ignore.  When you use up the paper towels, save the rolls for the rabbits.  When that new phone book comes, give the old one to the rabbits.  If you have an office paper shredder, you might want to take those old newspapers and shred them up.  Then fill a big cardboard box with them to let the bunnies dig it out or tunnel through it. 

If you want to invest in purchased bunny toys, a great place to start is cardboard tunnels.  You can get them online or at pet stores.  Or you can just go to the home improvement store and get the cardboard rounds that are used for pouring and molding concrete.

Online stores that cater to rabbits are carrying boxes, cottages and tunnels made out of cardboard that have been designed with how rabbits play in mind.  Since I know how much our rabbits love cardboard, I would see those as a good investment in something they would spend their time playing with.  One key thing in finding things rabbits like to play with is that it reduces the amount of time they might be playing with (chewing on) things you would like to keep bunny free.

Bunnyproofing – The Great Wall of Cardboard

Wall of Cardboard with Shadow & Tigger
Wall of Cardboard with Shadow

Well, I had some technical issues today getting the scanner to play nice with me over these photos.  Going forward I am trying to find a better way to get the old 35mm film shots of Tigger and Shadow converted to digital.

When we first got Tigger and Shadow, we were living in an apartment.  Right off the bat, we realized that their fearsome tendency to chew everything they could was going to put our pet and regular security deposit in huge jeopardy if we didn’t do something major to keep bunny teeth away from baseboards, doors and plaster walls.

So we ended up creating the Great Wall of Cardboard.  You can see it running around the rooms in these pictures.  We used either pieces of cardboard or cardboard mailing envelopes and hooked them together with ACCO binder clips at the top and bottom or large 3″ metal paper clips.  We liked the cardboard mailing envelopes because they were not only a uniform size, but there were two thicknesses for the rabbits to have to chew through before they could get to baseboards, doors or plaster.

The clips holding the cardboard together allowed it to be taken down and put up easily if we wanted to completely disassemble it for company coming.  It was also easy to replace pieces of the cardboard wall as they became too chewed.  The wall was a foot tall, so we could easily open a door and step over it into another room.  Unless a bunny was right there and ready to leap, it stopped them from zooming through.

The Great Wall of Cardboard served us well and when we moved out, we did get our security deposit back.

Bunnyproofing a Digger

Bunnyproofing for diggers

Yes, there is a bunny in the back left corner hiding under the shredded paper

We thought when we brought Shadow home two months after Tigger that we had done all the bunnyproofing necessary and were fully prepared for the new bunny. He proved us wrong really fast. Shadow was quick to catch on to using the litter pan, but added a new twist to it.

He would hop in, use the litter pan and then dig it out. His excavation skills were exceptional. We would find ourselves with a huge pile of litter on the floor everyday. We would scoop it back in and he would dig it back out.

We went out and got some litter boxes with tops and found ourselves with a whole new set of bunnyproofing needs. Tigger and Shadow were still just a few months old and pretty small at under four pounds each. We had to buy plastic stools for children so they could hop in and out of the boxes. Then we had to put carpeting on top of the boxes when they started to hop on top so that they wouldn’t go sliding right off the slippery plastic. At one point we solved that problem by buying covered litter boxes that had round domed tops. They couldn’t hop on those.

Shadow continued to dig, but the small size of the door kept down the level of the mess. We thought we had our excavator under control. When they got to full adult size, we were able to get rid of the stools.

Things went well for a number of years, then a few years ago, we noticed that they were sometimes not hopping into the boxes but going beside them.  We realized that as they aged perhaps hopping up and in was getting harder. So we invested in some litter pans designed for puppies that have a lowered edge on one side. Tigger and Shadow seemed to really appreciate the ease of getting into and out of these. Shadow really appreciated the ease of digging out these new pans and went back to excavating full force.

I headed back to the stores to try to figure out a work around. I discovered some large flat boot trays that turned out to be just the right size to put one on each side of the litter pans and one in front of them. Now Shadow digs out into the boot tray and we can dump it easily back into the litter pan. However, we do have to watch to make sure that the little stinker doesn’t try to dig out the boot tray too before we can dump it back in.

Our biggest regret is that we haven’t ever had a place to put a sandbox. Our little digger would probably think he was in bunny heaven if we could give him a real digging outlet. We do make him very happy when we give him a pile of shredded paper to go burrowing in and he does love to dig underneath the hay pile in the hay bin. He comes up covered in paper or hay and if he takes off running, the mess goes with him.

Dig on little buddy!

Mystery & Rabbits

Mysterious rabbitI saw an article in a magazine that talked about what a person’s choice for a pet revealed about their personality. It said that rabbits are a favorite for people who like mysteries, because rabbits are unpredictable. You never know what a bunny will do next.

This is both the fun and exasperation factor of having a rabbit. Watching a rabbit is wonderful entertainment, but can also be nail biting suspense when you realize your rabbit is doing something bunnyproofing never anticipated.

From the very first time that Tigger and Shadow set paws in our home, they have been determined to stretch all the boundaries of known bunny activities. They have thrilled us, made us laugh, and had us holding our breath hoping their stupidest stunts would work out okay. We’ve never been able to reach them fast enough when they have appeared to lose their little bunny minds and go for the all out stunts and acrobatics.

Shadow must think that he is part flying squirrel. He launched himself off the back of the sofa with his legs spread out like wings. Fortunately, he was only winded from the four-foot drop to the floor. However, it was obviously a thrill for him. We keep catching him up there looking out, obviously thinking about trying it again. One night he was on the floor and sat up on his hind legs as if he was begging and then launched himself straight up into the air about three feet and came forward into a binky and landed four or five feet from where he started and raced off top speed.

Tigger loves to do the bunny commando crawl. She has wiggled her way under almost everything in the house and seems to be attempting to rescue all the dust bunnies, since she brings so many of them back from her adventures. She didn’t limit the commando crawl to just the floor either. When she was just a two-pound baby, she decided to scale the wall behind the privacy screen of a desk. I walked into the room to see the tips of her ears peeking above the back of the desk and one tiny paw hanging below the privacy panel. The inevitable fall to the floor that occurred before I could reach her took my breath away.  Fortunately, it was a well padded carpeted floor. She just took off running to her next adventure.

After ten years with Tigger and Shadow we have learned one thing for certain.  We have no idea what they might try next. We have become bunnyproofing experts over the years trying to protect our little death-defying stunt rabbits. One vet told us that their willingness to do so much is an indication that we have created an environment for them where they feel completely safe and free to explore. 

We intend to enjoy every moment of the rabbit mysteries that they still have ahead for us!

Rabbits As House Pets

Cute Trio of Baby Rabbits
There are more and more places where people are seeing baby rabbits available to bring home as a pet.  Babies can be irresistably cute. If you haven’t had a rabbit as a house pet before, is it a good choice for you?

It depends on how much you know about rabbits.  Unfortunately, many baby bunnies are taken home during Easter season and are given up just a few months later because new owner’s weren’t prepared for what they got.

Size Does Matter.  There are dozens of recognized rabbit breeds.  Of course there are innumerable combinations if breeds mix and well bunnies do mix and mingle and multiply freely when allowed to. The size of a full-grown rabbit can range from 2 or 3 pounds to over 20 pounds.  You could get a lot more bunny than you bargained for if the baby rabbit turns out to be one of the giant breeds! 

Whoa, They Live How Long?  Many think a bunny will be like guinea pigs or hamsters and live just a couple of years.  Well cared for house rabbits can live for ten years or more.  Bringing home a bunny is a long-term committment. 

The Importance Of Being Altered:  Like cats and dogs, rabbits make the best house pets when they have been spayed or neutered.  Rabbits become “teenagers” at four to six months of age and have raging hormones making them harder to handle.  Since rabbits are social animals, it is good to get pairs, but if those pairs turn out to be boy and girl, you could end up with way more bunnies than planned.  Baby bunnies can easily hide their true gender even from experienced vets.      

To be successful with a pet rabbit, you need to be aware of the importance of a good diet and just how well a bunny can hide being ill.  It is good to have knowledge of common rabbit diseases and illnesses and the early signs that say bunny needs a rabbit savvy vet. Vets for rabbits are usually exotic veterinarians and their fees can run higher than those for cats and dogs.

For good health, rabbits need a minimum of 30 hours of free runtime a week.  If they are in the mood they will run top speed around rooms, up and down stairs, and bounce on and off furniture.  They hit speeds up to 25 miles an hour.  Bunny lovers call it the Bunny 500 and just sit back and enjoy the show. 

Where Is The Bunny And What Is He Doing?  For your sanity and the rabbit’s safety, you need to learn how to bunnyproof your home.  Rabbits can wiggle into unbelievably small places and like to chew everything in sight.  They are very curious and sometimes very stubborn. 

Okay, We Are Rabbit Crazy:  Once people learn these things about rabbits, they can’t understand why we actually have multiple rabbits.  It’s because rabbits are unbelievably fun as a pet.  See yesterday’s post for all the playful things they like to do. They can be litter box trained and can learn their names and understand many words and commands.  However like cats, whether they respond to a command depends a great deal on whether they are in the mood.  

To Mystery:  We read an article once that said rabbits are the pet of choice for people who love mysteries, because you just don’t know what they will do next.  We have always been well entertained by them.  It is hard to stay in a bad mood when a bunny decides to play the clown or hops up beside you on the sofa and flops down to be petted.

Surfing Time:  Rabbits are not for everyone.  If you are thinking of one as a pet, do some Internet surfing to get a good handle on whether a bunny is your pet of choice.  A good site to start with is the House Rabbit Society.  They have loads of information and also local chapters in many areas where you can check into adopting a rescue bunny.

Bunnies Just Want to Have Fun!

Shadow loves slinkies

You should have seen him when he took off running with it!

Had a delay here today while storms rolled through causing the power to flicker.  That is always the signal to power down and take a break.  Sunshine is back and here I am to share some bunny fun!

Previously, I posted about ways to protect your space and your bunny with bunnyproofing. Now its time for fun! A bored bunny is a destructive bunny. Helping a bunny have fun will aid your bunnyproofing. Find things they enjoy doing and they will leave other things alone.

What each bunny likes is different. There are jumpers, chewers, diggers, throwers, and a few do like to play chase. Do some trial and error to find out what your bunny likes best.


You can find toys at pet stores, baby stores, or online sites.  Don’t limit yourself to just rabbit toys.  Look for untreated wood chews or wood toys. There are cardboard chews, cardboard tunnels and rabbit “bungalows or cottages” available.

Hard plastic toys are great:  Here are some ideas and the sections we found them in: keys on a ring (infant/baby), linked chains (bird), balls with bells inside (cat / ferret), bounce back treat dispensers (small animal), rattles (infant/baby), and Slinkies (kid) are all possibilities.

If you have a problem area where your rabbit likes to misbehave, try “mining” the area with belled toys. When you hear the bells, you know it is time to check and see if your bunny has taken advantage of the toys or needs to be escorted out of the forbidden zone.


If you have a safe space for it, you can try a sandbox for a digger bunny.  If not, try filling a box with shredded paper and watch your bunny go burrowing through.

We remembered the fun of childhood sheet forts and created a sheet tunnel. We took two cardboard boxes with cutouts at each end and on one side, placed them five feet apart, and stretched a sheet over. The bunnies love to run through, burrow in and out under the sheet, and sometimes just nap. We play peek-a-bunny by lifting the sheet up and down at the side peering in on them.

Tigger Loves to Throw

Tigger flings this like a shot putter does. She will grab it with her teeth and whirl around to get it airborne and throw it.


Some bunnies like to play chase. Our Shadow will start to run and look back to see if we’re following. He will run back and start again until someone chases him. His happy binkies tell us we have the right idea. Be careful to know your bunny well with this one, since most bunnies fear being chased.

Our rabbits love to hop up with us while we read magazines and try to chew them. We take the pull out ad cards and hold them sticking out a bit at the edge of the magazine. They grab the edge of the card, yank it away from us, and run off with it. Shadow and Tigger like the game so much that if we want to continue reading, we usually have to gather the cards back up and keep letting them “steal” them away.

We take cardboard tubes from paper towels and load them into a small lightweight plastic wastebasket which we set upright in the play area. Tigger and Shadow love to overturn the basket and unload the tubes.  We also put a boatload of cardboard tubes under one bookshelf Tigger liked to commando crawl under.  It would take her awhile to pull enough tubes out to try to get under.  That would give us an opportunity to stop the secret carpet chewing that would occur if we didn’t catch her in time.

The more time you spend with your rabbit learning about their play style, the more you will learn about just how playful and fun a rabbit can be.  Just be careful to stay back a bit until you learn whether your bunny is a thrower like our Tigger. 

Tigger likes to pitch and bat.  She will pitch her weighted bounce back bunny as in the picture, or small wire or plastic belled toys.  She will take cardboard tubes from paper towel rolls and use them like a bat to hit things.  I had one vet visit where I brought one along to keep her distracted while we were waiting, not realizing how she would use it.  She was smacking everything she could with it so loudly that even with a closed-door, the vet techs kept coming in every few minutes to make sure everything was okay.  Silly me thinking I could get her to be playful and forget where she was.

Let the games begin!

To Cage or Not to Cage?

Portia in Front of Baby GateEven if you intend for your rabbit to be mostly or completely free ranging, a cage or enclosure will give your bunny a place they recognize as theirs.  This can add to feelings of security. They do like to have a place to use as their home base where food, water and some toys are located and where they can retreat for privacy.  I know many have a cage that a bunny can call its own even if  the door is never locked on the rabbit.

Things to consider in making the free range vs. cage decision:  Discussions in bunny circles and groups can get heated about caging or penning rabbits as opposed to allowing them to be free roaming house rabbits.  Our rabbits don’t seem to understand the principles of gravity and don’t realize the danger of a tummy full of carpet.  Their free area and time are restricted by their inability to be trusted when we aren’t around to watch and prevent their stupid rabbit stunts. 

So, don’t feel guilty if you have to set limits to keep your bunny safe and healthy.  We would not have 10-year-old rabbits if we had allowed them to roam freely 24/7 and chew indiscriminately.  Some rabbits need the safety of one well bunnyproofed room, a large cage or exercise pen when someone isn’t available to watch them. 

Just be sure to allow the adventurous bunny to have plenty of free roam time when you are available.  A minimum of 30 hours a week of free exercise time with a number of hours each day out is best for bunny rabbit well-being.  Also be sure that any cage or enclosure is large enough to allow them room to move and run a bit and be able to stand up to their full height comfortably.  There should be room for a litter box, and containers for their food, hay and water.  Give them some toys to play with or chew too. 

You can buy a cage or animal exercise pen or bunnyproof a small room or use a baby gate to isolate an area.  It all depends on your rabbit.  Tigger and Shadow have always had cages with four walls, because those are the only things that would contain them.  Portia who did not leap, had a 3 foot tall open-topped exercise pen.  When the three would run free, we would have a baby gate blocking the bottom of the stairs in Portia’s area and a 4 foot tall exercise pen blocking the top of the stairs in Tigger and Shadow’s area.  We needed to make the stairs a no bunny zone with double gates at each end to keep the three apart. 

Here are links to some great articles by the House Rabbit Society on housing for rabbits whether you are buying or creating them yourself:

Next week on Wednesday, I will share how to make bunnyproofing fun!