Bathroom business

As first-time pet rabbit owners, we’ve learned a lot these past few months about what it means to have a free-range bunny in the house. Cecil is an amazing pet in many ways but does possess a laundry list of behaviors that we’d prefer to eliminate if possible. One of these is a strange pattern that appears to be cyclical; he’ll go weeks without depositing his little round pellets of excrement outside of his litter boxes, followed by a week or so when he feels compelled to mark all of his favorite spots in the house multiple times a day. The little pellets aren’t really that bad; in fact, we all agree that they are less repellent than guinea pig scat, and we’ve certainly seen worse having diapered three children. Not to expound too much on this subject, but the pellets are almost perfectly spherical and, because his diet consists primarily of dried grass, they essentially lack moisture and odor. I think of them like miniaturized hay bales, though I realize this may be a somewhat euphemistic interpretation as a way to minimize my annoyance at having to pick up after him repeatedly during these phases.

Another example of unwelcome behavior is his constantly being underfoot, begging to be picked up and petted. He’d be content on a lap with a human hand stroking his fur for hours upon hours every day; I think it’s realistic to say that he literally cannot get enough of this kind of attention. He follows me everywhere I go, or at least tries to, licking and nipping at my ankles as a way of begging for my palm’s undivided devotion. Based on the success we’ve experienced having added a second guinea pig to our milieu, we’ve been on the lookout for another bunny to hopefully ameliorate Cecil’s physical attention deficit, thinking that the benefits of increasing our menagerie would outweigh the detriments. In perusing Craigslist, I came upon this post:

At first, I thought this was completely preposterous. Here was a person trying to SELL his or her pet dung, going so far as to buy bags with cellophane windows to showcase the very thing I literally threw in the garbage every single day, and composing an almost poetically scientific paragraph on its benefits. When I got to the word “tea”, I almost laughed out loud. When I showed the post to my husband when he got home, he branded it “genius”, which made me think. Was this actually a good idea? Had I been foolish to dispose of so many litter boxes full of this stuff, ignorant of its horticultural benefits? I had a vision of myself at a booth at a farmer’s market, sitting on a folding chair and petting Cecil while my children merchandised the fruits of his digestive system, aided by “before” and “after” pictures of my plants to corroborate the utility of our wares. It was laughable, I know, but what an idea: marketable waste! People buy all sorts of crap, so why not see if they’ll buy the real thing?!

I don’t think I’ll get into the business of peddling poop, but this idea did reframe the way I began to consider Cecil’s territorial demarcation habits. Now, when I go around with a tissue to collect the deposits, rather than double back to throw them in the trash can, I drop them into the nearest potted plant (there is no shortage of those in this house). If the Craigslist poster will go to such lengths to sell the stuff, certainly it can’t hurt to try using what’s literally on hand. Now the nuisance of removing his leavings from the floor seems less of a chore because I see it as our pet doing his part to help fertilize. And maybe I’m imagining it, but I swear these plants are looking more enriched and prosperous than ever, perhaps due to the salubrious seasoning supplementing the soil.

As for the Craigslist vendor, I hope he or she is successful in this uncommon entrepreneurial venture. I do appreciate that one of the images included in the post captures the creature whose biology is responsible for its owner’s unlikely source of income, despite the fact that the animal appears nonplussed. I can’t really blame the little guy, though; who WOULD want pictures of their feces pasted up all over the internet?

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