Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bunneh Beautification

I've mentioned before that Mickey is a year-round shedder. There is not a day that goes by that the fur isn't a-flyin' in this household. However, even for those who shed 24/7, there are certain times of the year that are worse than others, and this is one of them. It's like living with a fur version of Br'er Rabbit's Tar Baby, except that in this case, the rabbit (fur) sticks to you instead of you sticking to it.

Fortunately, His Majesty enjoys a good grooming to a certain extent, and we have also had the good fortune of some sunny weather that's not too chilly, so I have been able to bring the grooming sessions outside instead of filling my mudroom with clouds of fur. Today, I decided to make it a full day of bunny beautification by adding a pedicure and an ear cleaning.

First came the pedicure, which was a bit of a necessity as somebunny's nails have been pretty dang sharp lately. Mickey tolerates the procedure, but neither of us really like it because of one thing; blood. (WARNING: the following details are not particularly graphic, but if blood makes you woozy, you might want to skip to the next paragraph)
A rabbit's nails are like a hollow tube, and can bleed when being cut for the first time, but usually after that, the nail seals off and does not bleed when cut unless you cut too much. Sometimes, though, for some reason the nail doesn't seal and will always bleed, no matter how little you cut it. Mickey has two nails like that, one on each paw on his left side, and they always seem to bleed like a stuck pig when cut, which makes things very messy. I don't mind the sight of blood, but I hate it getting all over him and I always worry about the possibility of infection. Mickey seems to get extra-jumpy when I do those nails as well, but they have to be trimmed like the others, so there's not much I can do. We both lucked out this time; there was much less bleeding than usual--I'm guessing the result of the cooler weather, but I'm hoping maybe the nails are going to seal up after all.

Once the nails were done, it was time for the actual grooming.  I try to keep the grooming to between 45 minutes and an hour, since that's usually the point where I'm never sure if I'm causing more shedding than fixing it. Mickey enjoys being groomed, although he tends to always want his left side facing me for some reason; when I turn him around to get his right side, he manages to maneuver himself so that he's facing left again. If I turn him so I can get at his back end, he decides that he wants to explore the table for a bit, so I'm alternating between combing and retrieving. Facing forward is his favorite part; he likes to sit up and place his paws on my shoulders, then he leans against me and tooth-purrs sweet nothings near my ear and gives me kisses...then tries to chew the neckline of my shirts.

In between grooming, I cleaned his ears as well. According to my vet, lops seem to have more trouble with accumulating ear wax (probably because of the positioning of their ears). I was mortified the day she took a swab and removed a humongous lump of waxy buildup from one of Mickey's ears during an exam, so I have been vigilant about cleaning them out at least once a month. Mickey does not approve of this, although he tolerates it to an extent. He certainly doesn't make it an easy process; there is much head-shaking and bobbing and weaving involved, but I managed to get them reasonably clean.

The final detail is combing his underside, and he hates it with a passion because it means being flipped on his back. It was even worse today, because I found not one, but THREE large snarled fur clumps at the base of his tail and had to very carefully comb them out without completely de-furring his poor little cottontail.
The entire beautification process complete, I brought him back inside and even posed him for a quick photo. (Yes, I was a bad bunny-mum and combed his fur backwards to make him look super-fluffy):

"I had better be getting some extra treats for this
--and stop calling me Mr. Fluff-n-puff!"

Hopefully, the birds and squirrels can use all the excess fur I left outside to line their winter nests. There's certainly enough of it out there; my husband says it looks like the bunny exploded.


Hef's Mom said...

Oh goodness! I can't believe Mickey's nails always bleed! Maybe Mickey needs one of those file down nail devices they have now?
Sounds like you do great grooming. Want to groom a couple of Shepherds?

Karen M said...

Isn't it funny how it sometimes looks like the fur leftover could make a whole extra bunny?

That's so weird about the nails. I didn't know that they could be like that.

The Fab Furs said...

I bet all the girl buns will be interested in a fluffed-out Mickey fresh from the spa. Does he have any weekend plans?

d. moll, said...

It is quite the project, the beautification of the bun! Micky's lucky you just did a bit of back combing and didn't take the gel to him.

Jade said...

Hef's Mom: Unfortunately, those file-down things are more gimmick than useful. Fortunately, it's only the two nails that bleed, so it's just a matter of keeping some styptic gel and clean tissues handy. (I have groomed the occasional dog in the past, although I hesitate at clipping their nails as they have bigger teeth.)

Karen: I swear, it's like he's trying to clone himself the hard way. As for the bleeding, it is very weird, and I don't know why it happens like that. I had it happen in one of my other rabbits years back, and I always thought it was me being clumsy until I read about it in one of my old rabbit books.

Fab Furs: He actually does look better back-combed; when you comb the fur properly, it looks all fly-away and cowlicky right now, which does not impress the ladies. Mickey says he is more of a homebun anyway; he just likes to look good.

d. moll: If I could find a rabbit-safe hair mousse (perhaps carrot-flavored?), don't think I wouldn't be tempted. ;)

Lisa said...

I hear ya. Sogna just doesn't stop either.

I actually had the PediPaws thing, but threw it out. Emily, it would probably work a lot better for a shepherd than for a bun, but I just always felt like the force of it would break his little toe because buns are just so fragile. It does work though.

Jade, ya done good. Mickey looks like a show bun!

Rabbits' Guy said...

It was worth it! Mickey looks like - like - like a NEW bun!!!

Jade said...

He may look like a new bun on the outside, but he's still the same old grumpypuss bun on the inside. ;)

Clovie Boy said...

Wow...That's a lot of grooming! I like the part about how he sits up and puts his paws on your shoulders. I'd like to see that.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Oh Mickey looks extra adorable after his grooming!

The human said...

How lucky is Mickey???? I would pay good money for an exfoliation massage, pedicure, manicure and ear candle! Hope he realises how lucky he is to have a great mama!
My favourite image is of him putting his paws up on your shoulders! How adorable!
Anyway - just wanted to check - did you get my e mail? I sent it from my iphone and not sure it's been working fully.
Lisa (The Human)

SixBunnies said...

Why did God make it so fun to pick those little sticky out fur balls off of a shedding bunny and also make them hate us to do that so much???? I chased Jamal all over the sunroom picking his shedding fur ... it's fun ... he hates it... Okay ... I'm easily amused ... hahahah

SixBunnies said...

Mickey ... you are FABULOUS, DAHLING!!! I'm jealous!

Jade said...

Oh, those sticking-out bits make me absolutely nuts; I'm obsessive about picking them off of him when I see them, and Mickey will immediately hop out of reach as soon as I start. Of course, then I break out the grooming comb and it's all over with. :)