The ASPCA made an outrageous claim in the Spring 2012 USAA Magazine that a rabbit is the most expensive pet costing $730 per year to feed and maintain.
I've seen too many tiny pampered pooches dressed in designer duds to know that can't possibly be true. And how about finicky cats? The one that adopted us will only eat certain kinds of Fancy Feast moist food at $ .70 a pop. Then there's dry food, litter and vet bills. On top of that, he grabs the best place on the couch!
Those of us who love House Rabbits know they're not at all like dogs and cats. They don't go for walks on the trail or the beach, nor do they jump into the car for a ride to the store. And yet, their silent presence in our lives gives a special meaning to every day.
Their naturally down-turned mouth signals disapproval, but daily soft cuddles, purring when they're happy, and jumping into our lap for nose licks shows us a different side. In return, we end up catering to their every need. Why? Because they're just so darn cute! This is The Princess wondering what could possibly be holding up breakfast.
We have eight rabbits living with us. My guess is that now we spend about $300 on each one per year, with the largest cash outlay for bananas for breakfasts and organic greens and veggies for nightly salads. Other regular expenditures are for special rabbit pellets, hay purchased by the bale, and litter made with re-cycled paper. Unlike other pets, most healthy bunnies can live just fine without annual vaccinations or medical procedures -- except for initial spaying and neutering. The last thing the world needs is more rabbits!
The large cash expenditures for our increasing rabbit family were in the beginning. We started ten years ago with a "free" little brown bunny, The Princess. She was free, but her set-up in the kitchen was not. There's a solid barrier, a gate and as you can see in the picture above, a special bunny door that goes outside.
It's the outside area that cost us the most. Our entire second story wood deck, originally built for people, has been completely converted into eight penned areas, separated by double 4' fences and gates. We believe that bunnies thrive with fresh air and exercise every day that weather allows. Here's Goldie and her brother, Little Blue, enjoying some outdoor dining in their area a few years ago.
Another expensive excursion down the rabbit hole was our rescuing five week-old kits abandoned by their mom near the Fed Ex office at our little airport. We named them the Fed Ex Bunny Quintet. Daily feedings relied on life-saving Day One powdered formula and dozens of tiny nipples shipped from Connecticut via over-night express. Special food and hay and a pen for our dining room rounded out the cash outlay. But what an experience that was. Especially since all five survived and found inside homes with their adopted families.
Based on our experience of having many rabbits binky their way in and out of our lives over the last decade, there's no chance we have spent $730 a year on each one. Although ... even if it were true ... how do you put a price tag on love?
What kind of pet shares your life, and how much do you pay for that pleasure?