I freely admit to being cheap. My mom says I remind her of her own mother, whom I never met but who apparently placed a high value on thrift, even going so far as to reuse tinfoil. Kirck is just the opposite. He would rather spend an extra $10 or even $100 on a high-quality item that he plans to use a lot than go cheap and have to replace whatever it is in three months. I still roll my eyes every time I think of that extra (totally unnecessary) $40 we spent on our first vacuum cleaner.
Every rule has an exception, however, and for me that exception has six ears, 12 legs and three sweet little wiggling noses. I happily, merrily, gleefully blow cash on my bunnies pretty much all the time. Some of it is necessary (hay, pellets, greens); some of it is … less necessary (new hidey boxes, sheets for digging, treats, ramps, rugs, etc.). Kirck fusses about the expense occasionally, but literally nothing gives me more pleasure than to come home from the bunny house or Petco loaded down with new bunny stuff, dump it all in front of the bunny area, and watch them rummage around. It is so much fun. And then, once they’re really excited, I coo, “Do my babies need a treat?!” And – this is crazy – they ALWAYS do!
But even if I weren’t a fanatically devoted spendthrift bunny mom, the buns would still need supplies, and bunny supplies are not cheap. No, sir. In fact, sometimes I even think of rabbits as “the rich-people pet.” Not because they’re fashionable, mind you, but because you really do need a decent income to sustain them and the humans in your house. You can’t just go to PetSmart and buy a store-brand 60-pound bag of dry food and dump some in their bowl every day. Nor can you just pick up an extra head of lettuce once a week at Kroger. You can’t go cheap on bunny stuff. Either your buns’ health or your home will suffer and you’ll end up spending way more than you would have had you just not been stingy in the first place. Here’s the breakdown at my house:
Purina Fibre-3 Rabbit Chow (7-lb. bag) – $8.24
Oxbow botanical hay (15-oz. bag) – $4.39
Oxbow Western Timothy hay (40-oz. bag) – $7.88
Greens: romaine hearts ($3.50 for three), endive ($3.50 per half-pound bunch), parsley ($.74 per bunch), dandelion ($3 per bunch)
Applesauce, unsweetened (Publix brand, small jar) – $2.34
Oxbow Simple Rewards (banana, 1-oz. bag) – $4.63
Dried papaya (5-oz. bag) – $3.68
Southern States pine pellet bedding (40-lb. bag) – $5.99
Natural Chemistry Healthy Habitat all-natural cleaner/deodorizer (24-oz. spray bottle) – $9.99
Nail clipper for small animals – $6.99
Comb for small animals – $6.99
Single small pet carrier – $29.97
Note that this does not include incidentals like upgrading or enlarging your buns’ habitat; certain one-time purchases like food/water crocks, food storage containers, and exercise pen(s); ongoing expenses like new toys, hidey boxes, carpet to replace what they’ve chewed, and towels for digging; or any vet or healthcare costs, especially the bunny First Aid kit you’ll need to have assembled if and when a health crisis strikes.
Are you a traveler, like me? Prepare to spend $16-20 per day boarding your bun when you go out of town, if you don’t have a bunny-sitter who can come to your home for up to $200 per week. Or maybe you’re contemplating a move with your bunny? That will be at least a cool grand in administrative fees, quarantine costs and vaccinations before Flopsy even boards the plane.
But Kate, you say, many of these costs are commonly associated with all pets, not just rabbits. To that I say: True, but because rabbits require specialized care, diet and handling – and only a very, very small percentage of animal health professionals know how to provide those things – you’ll always pay a premium for the right person and the right supplies. Fair? No. Worth it? Absolutely.
If you already have bunnies, you know what I’m talking about. I’ve never met a bunny parent who would think twice about getting their bun anything she needed, be it a 50-cent chew-toy or a five-hundred-dollar surgery. If you have the money, the time and the space in your heart (most of it should currently be empty, just to make sure) for a rabbit, get one. Get a pair. Hell, get three. Just know going into it that it’s a massive investment, a very, very long commitment and more hugely rewarding than I could possibly describe.