Me & Tigger, in the shot my Mom wanted to take of her. Tigger sweetly held still even for a non digital camera 🙂
So how do you know with rabbits? Since bunnies are prey animals, they aren’t used to letting anyone who isn’t a bunny in on how they feel about things. They are hiders. Over the years, we have learned sometimes it isn’t so much what they do, but what they don’t do anymore.
They will stay out in the open and not hide as much. When they feel like it, ours will come when we call. Some might actually hop up to greet you when you come home. My first bunny Thumper and Portia, the one we lost a few years back, would both come up and pull at pants legs or paw at ankles to get attention.
You will see a difference in their attitude and behavior if you have been away from them for a while. I know someone who took a day trip and could tell her bunny missed the family, he was so excited on their return. Another person I know has moved and isn’t at home with the bunnies as much right now and one is acting out a bit.
Shadow will bounce up, flop down and stick his head under our hand. In return for head pets, he will lick whatever part of us he can reach, hands, arms, legs, faces. Shadow also gives invitations to play. He will zoom up, zoom a little away and look back over his shoulder. He wants to play chase.
Tigger is a very kitty style bunny, a standoffish Princess. It has always been harder to read her. However, she started to show just how much she cared and trusted us at vet visits and when ill. She hates to be picked up and held, but at vet visits I started to notice when I would try to put her down on the table, she was clinging to my shirt. One time while there, when the vet let her lose to hop back into her carrier, instead she jumped up into my arms. I truly believe she is telling me she wants me to protect her and recognizes me as a protector for her.
Recently while very ill, Tigger had Blaine very misty eyed. We had to pick her up a lot to medicate, feed and clean her up. After putting her down, each time we expected her to want nothing to do with us. However, one time she hopped up beside Blaine, flopped down and clearly wanted to be petted and comforted. They stayed together enjoying each others company for a good while.
One of the most obvious ways that bunnies show loving approval is by tooth purring. We don’t always hear it, sometimes we feel it as they gently click their jaws and we feel their jaw movement as we pet them.
One vet said one of the best guides to knowing we had bunny love and approval was that we were being shown their true personalities and that only happens when a rabbit feels completely comfortable in their environment.