I love all animals, but I have a soft spot for two in particular: cats and rabbits. I’ve had many feline friends over the years, but despite being tempted to have a pet rabbit, I never have. I suppose I haven’t taken the plunge because I’m not certain a rabbit would be a good fit for me. Rabbits can make great pets, but they’re not for everyone.
Last autumn, I started following the exploits of a charming wild rabbit named Mister. I visited Mister’s Facebook page daily to see what he and his “Carrot Lady” were up to. For a wild rabbit, Mister had it made because the Carrot Lady catered to his every need.
The “bunny itch” came back in full force. One day I saw a small gray bunny in my driveway. I ran inside, fetched two carrots and slowly approached the bunny. I gently put the carrots down about three feet in front of it. The bunny hopped right past my delicious offering and disappeared! Harumph!
I saw the bunny a few more times, and the same scene played out: I tried to befriend it with carrots, and was rejected. “Why can’t you be more like Mister?” I asked, but the bunny just scampered away. When winter came, the bunny sightings ceased. This spring, however, the little bunny reappeared. Every day it sat in the middle of my yard, munching on grass. I didn’t offer it any carrots, but I did go outside to talk to it.
I really enjoyed my “bunny time.” Then all of a sudden, “it” had a name – Cinnabun. I swear I don’t know how that happened! I was smitten with Cinnabun, though, and looked forward to the daily visit, one-sided though it was.
I soon realized I had a problem. Well, two actually. It was time to plant my vegetable garden, and I knew it would only be a matter of time before Cinnabun began doing what rabbits do. Would I still love Cinnabun after she destroyed my garden?
The bigger problem was my cat Mickey. Years of trying to make him live indoors 24/7 have so far been unsuccessful. He doesn’t mind being inside during winter but come spring, he begins to rip my house apart. I finally surrendered in April and began allowing him to go out for a few hours in the daytime. He was a happy cat, but I now had two animals to worry about instead of one. What would happen to Cinnabun? Would Mickey catch and kill my wild bunny pet?
Every day, I made Mickey wait to go out if I saw Cinnabun in the yard. This worked fairly well…until one day when it didn’t. I did not see Cinnabun, but Mickey did, and he flew off the deck in hot pursuit. “Run, Cinnabun, run!” I shouted.
Cinnabun dove under the gardening shed and since Mickey couldn’t fit through the small hole, the chase was over. My dilemma had just begun, though. I didn’t want anything to happen to the bunny, but I didn’t want it destroying my garden either. Could a wild bunny, a wild-at-heart cat and a vegetable garden co-exist, I wondered? I didn’t know.
To solve the cat-chasing-the-rabbit problem, I decided to only let Mickey go out with me, on a leash. The first few times wearing the harness, he did what cats typically do – he flopped on his side and wouldn’t move. He eventually got used to the harness and began to walk around a bit outdoors.
Then one day, we were walking around the yard when we came face to face with … no, not the bunny but something much worse. The UPS man! He looked at me, smirked and said something like “Oh. Walking your cat in your yard, huh?” I tried to explain about the bunny, but he just smiled. I smiled too, and then I laughed. It was official. I had become one of “those” people – you know, the crazy ones who walk their cat. Ay yi yi. I had no dignity, but at least Cinnabun was safe, and Mickey was somewhat pacified.
The story of Cinnabun isn’t over yet. I still see my little rabbit friend nearly every day. Mickey sees Cinnabun too, and seems to have less desire to chase the bunny with each passing day. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I suppose I have delusions of grandeur – hoping against all odds that a cat, a wild rabbit and a garden can all, somehow, live in harmony.
Read more articles by Julia Williams