Friday, 3 April 2009

Cats and Rabbits

I have owned rabbits for the past 12 years, or something, I lost track. And through all that time, there have been lots of different neighbourhood cats around. Some of them have been really good with the bunnies and will sit and watch them, but face to face they won't attack. Some like to stalk them in the run and pretend to pounce on them. The rabbits have always held their own. They know when the cats are stalking them, and that the cats also can't reach them, so they will tease them. Hopping around a lot, then freezing, cats pounce and bunnies look at them as if to say 'that the best you can do?'. All very entertaining. I can watch them for ages when they're playing like that.

Currently there are 3 or 4 black and white cats who are the most common visiters. I'm not sure how many there are exactly cause they all look too alike. I think there are 3, but I can't be sure. Anyway, these b & w cats are hunters, they'll pounce on anything in the garden that moves, and normally they'll catch it. One of these cats, when he first showed up, was smaller than the rest and he's got this really cute little meiow. On top of that he's the friendliest one, human wise. You can get closer to him than any of the others and if he's in a good mood, he'll come say hi too.

However, the cats have realised that if a hutch door is open, which if one of the rabbits is in the run, there is, that hutches make great places to sit and rest. A couple of times now I've gone outside and found one of them in there, and at a couple of times when I've gone out at night to get Brax or Sunny in, I've found one of the cats in the hutch. Problem is, they're quiet. They're not bothered by me reaching in to the hutch to put food or hay in, so I have to actually lift them out. Fine in daylight when you can clearly see the mostly black cats there. But not so at night. At night you have to be careful.

Last night the little one got the better of me. I fed the rabbits, got Brax in from the run, put her in her hutch, shut them up for the night and went inside. Was in the bathroom upstairs when I heard one of the rabbits scrambling throught the hutch. Too much speed and nosie for it to be them going from one level to the other. Automatically I thought it was the fox, he's around every so often and the rabbits are good at letting me know he's there and to get rid of him. So despite them going quiet again, which normally with a fox they wouldn't, I knew something was up and I wouldn't sleep without checking on them.

Sunny is my angel, incredably friendly and just slightly nuts. He never stops moving if people are around and he craves attention. So when I went out, despite the covers being down, they knew I was there and Sunny started hopping around. Then he started thumping. I couldn't see or hear a fox, and couldn't decide if Sunny was fussing cause I was there, but ignoring him, or cause of somthing else. Brax is a totally different matter. She's nervous and doesn't like people, other than me, and she was her usual quiet self. No fuss, couldn't hear her moving around, totally normal. Except when there is a fox around, she's the first to make a fuss, and harder to settle. So I llifted one corner of Sunny's cover, put my fingers through the bars, let him know I was there and to settle down. Then did the same with Bracken, and almost had a heart attack. This was a bit past midnight so it was black out, couldn't see much, and Brax is dark in color and hard to spot. But I saw a small patch of white, and it took me a few seconds to process what I saw. But what I was seeing was the little cat nosing at the door looking around as if to say 'let me out'.

Let's just say my language wasn't repeatable and leave it at that. I snagged the other pin out of the cover and threw the door open, expecting to find an injured bunny inside. Cat darted out of the way soon as the door was open, and went to sit on the patio steps, clearly not very bothered. I grabbed Brax and hurried inside to check her over. Not a scratch. Little scared maybe, but not a scratch. Round one to Miss Brax. I put her back and realised the cat was still there. Then I wondered if maybe Brax had attacked the cat. She sees them on a daily basis and normally they can't touch her, so she's not scared of them. In her hutch, why wouldn't she defend her territory? So I coaxed the idiot kitty over and had a little look at him too. He didn't seem bothered so apparently Brax didn't take a chunk out of him either. Strange.

I swear, there was no cat on the lower level of her hutch when I shut her in. I would have seen movement or a flash of white, or when I put Brax in, she'd have fussed, and she didn't. So, I'm almost convinced the cat was upstairs. In the closed in section. Brax would have eaten her dinner, gone up the ramp and what I heard was her discovering she had a roommate and bolting back down the ramp. By the time I came down, the cat had followed her down, probably just as startled, and wanting out. No harm done to either. Just giving me a heart attack.

So, cat and bunny 1, me 0. Perfect.

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