Gray Californian Rabbit Kits


Silvery Californian kit

Out of the seven purebred Californian kits we got out of our first breeding, one kit has always been a silvery-gray color.

A little research has indicated that eventually this gray will recede to white and this kit will probably have the best color points out of all of them.

Like in Siamese cats, the dark color points on the extremities of Californian rabbits are due to a form of albinism, resulting from a mutation in tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in melanin production. The mutated enzyme is heat sensitive and fails to work at normal body temperatures but becomes active in the cooler regions of the skin. This results in dark coloration in the cooler parts of the body.

This means if your Cal has some strange dark spots or coloration where it shouldn’t normally be, it’s probably because of cold spots in the environment. Never fear though, with their next molt your rabbit should be back to its original, glorious white.


Normal Californian kit

Kitten Drama

I’ve had my foster momma cat and her five kittens for a week now, and there have been a few problems.

It turns out the new cats had fleas, and everyone ended up requiring a thorough bath. Thankfully I trimmed the mother cat’s nails before I attempted this. She screamed bloody murder the whole time and even tried climbing up my braids at one point. All in all a pretty decent cat bathing experience, as they go. At least she didn’t try to literally kill me.

She did kind of want to kill me when I was bathing the kittens. One kitten in particular, the orange tabby boy, is a real screamer. As I was carefully trying to bathe him, the momma cat was rhythmically screaming in response to his yelling and would then periodically bite me on the arm. I ended up having to enlist the help of the boyfriend to pet the momma cat for distraction. After a few minutes I could have been doing anything to those kittens and she wouldn’t have noticed. To me she acts a lot like a feral cat that has no fear of humans. She’s very wild.

Another issue is that the previous owner of the cats has been trying to come by to check up on them. I never signed up for that. She also expects to be able to just pick up these kittens once they’re weaned and give them away to all her friends. After seeing the living conditions they were in I don’t think she has the capacity to judge what a good home for a kitten might be. I expressed my displeasure and heard later from a neighbor that she was planning to come and take the kittens back. I don’t even know what that means. You just don’t expect to get sucked up into that kind of drama by taking in a few kittens.

In other weird news I found out today from someone from the newspaper who was picking up a bunch of dumped papers at the property, that the house the kittens came out of was where a friend of her kid’s was killed playing Russian Roulette a couple of years ago. Nice.

Will the city ever actually do anything about this nuisance property?


Not a great photo, but momma insists on keeping them under the bookcase

Everyone in the picture looks a bit chalky because I’ve also been treating their fleas with food-grade diatomaceous earth. It’s non-toxic and safe for kittens of all ages but you still want to keep their little noses away from the dust.

The Best Drinker for Adult Quail

IMG_2426When I first got my quail I looked everywhere for suitable ways to supply water. Bowls get dirty fast and so do chick waterers. Any sort of receptacle just accumulated filth.

Dare I try… Rabbit water bottles? The opening seemed large enough, the chicks were already raised with nipple drinkers, so was it really such a stretch?

Well, they work wonderfully and I now use them almost exclusively. I do still use crocks as well in winter when the bottles start to freeze, but all in all my birds are healthier and easier to maintain with this method.

Don’t worry if your quail don’t figure it out right away. When they get thirsty, they’ll begin searching around for water and once one has figured it out, they’ll all catch on. They peck the little ball and sip the drip that follows. It works very nicely with very little wastage.

I’ll bet lots of other kinds of pet birds could learn to use pet water bottles as well. Regardless of whether you also offer water in a bath or a dish, this ensures a steady source of clean drinking water.

Hybrid Kit Weights – Nine Weeks


Enjoying some blackberry bramble

The Creme d’Argent and Silver Marten hybrid kits are now nine weeks old. Do some people’s rabbits reach butcher weight (let’s say five pounds) by eight weeks? Sometimes I hear about that happening but find it hard to believe.

Here are the recorded weights for this week: 1227g, 1275g, 1481g, 1485g, 1523g, 1533g, 1602g and 1626g. That’s a total weight of 11752g and a total increase from last week of 1320g.

And Suddenly I Have Nine Cats

No, none of my three cats has multiplied, they are all missing rather vital parts for that.

The house across the street has been an ongoing issue for me since I moved here almost two years ago. It’s a dilapidated rental property that was used for many months as a drug-dealing slash prostitution slash theft ring. Nice place for kids right? Yes, there were small kids living there during all this.

People would come to buy their crack and crystal meth at all hours of the day and night, it was a constant inflow and outflow of people you don’t want around your property. It was like living across the street from a convenience store.

After countless complaints to police and the city they finally moved out, leaving huge piles of rodent-infested trash everywhere. Then new tenants moved in.

Well, the place was never cleaned up and these tenants are finally leaving as well. The whole house pongs of pet urine and is completely falling apart. A few months back the SPCA came and removed a bunch of emaciated dogs and neglected cats. Now it’s my turn.

Since the vacating tenants could not care for them, I was asked to take in a mother cat and her five newborn kittens. Knowing the conditions they were living in I said yes without any questions asked. They are now safe and cozy in their own room with plenty of clean water, fresh food and a clean litter box. All the cats stink of urine, but are otherwise in decent health. I’m sure momma will clean the kittens up and she can have a bath at some point if she really needs one. Hopefully she’ll be able to clean herself up, I know she’d prefer that to being bathed. A clean environment will definitely help.

So now we are a cat hotel. It’s been many years since I had a litter of kittens to care for and it will be very nice watching them grow up. The mother cat is very friendly and seems very happy and secure in her new location. One little boy kitten has no tail. I wonder how that happened momma?

DSC_0001Here’s an idea of the kind of environment these little kittens were born into:


Ammonia and garbage smell is overpowering


Knives on the floor, all furniture soaked with urine

Teaching Reluctant Dogs to Love Swimming (or Anything, Really)

IMG_4800Neither of my dogs loved water at first. In fact they both hated it. My Taiwanese street dog wouldn’t even step onto the darker patch of concrete on the sidewalk when I first picked her up from the YVR airport, its obvious dampness was not going to press against her immaculate paws.

My low-content wolf mutt puppy would wade into puddles and shallows half-heartedly, but would refuse to take the plunge in a deeper situation when the bottom disappeared. He was the pup sitting in a puddle crying his heart out because you were swimming ten feet away.

You might think it would be impossible to get two dogs such as these happily into the water, I sure thought it would be. It’s taken almost 6 years to get my Formosan Mountain Dog street mutt to the point where she will casually swim across a fast moving river just to check out possible bunny or chipmunk infestations on the other side.


Two watery pooches

I realize now I had the wrong attitude towards teaching my dogs to accept the water without fear.

Cooing and baby talk wasn’t effective and even turned them further off of it. Suspicious dogs will never fall for these kinds of tactics. The trick: wait until a really hot day, walk that dog like crazy, then take them to a location with no distractions and a shallow, safe, comforting, secluded, warm water feature. Then ignore your dog and enjoy the water. Odds are your dog will turn up beside you before long!

This summer we also converted the wolf mutt. We basically just threw him right into the situation by going on half-day long, leisurely kayaking trips along the ocean shoreline for almost a week straight. The dogs followed along on the shore and also felt compelled to swim to be closer to us in some cases, even though it was not entirely necessary except for a couple of very brief spurts.

We took them kayaking intensively all week while we rockhounded and then had them swim/ride out to a nearby ocean island with us. A major accomplishment. Subsequently we had them swim around the island and back. Sure we had a little bit of whining and some pseudo-terrified looks, but we made sure they were safe and had lots of water and rests. Did I mention swimming is a really great way to exercise your dog?


Low-content wolf dog in the river

End result: now any normal swimming trip is considered laughably unimpressive to my dogs compared to swimming through a 400 foot deep ocean thoroughway for approximately a kilometer.

My two dogs now finally have what they were lacking in the water… Confidence. And it came about because I stopped coddling them and coaxing them and just got into my kayak and set off paddling away in the opposite direction of land on the hottest week of summer.

All this is a great reminder of how easily dogs can adjust to any lifestyle. I don’t approve of changing your life all around because of your dog. Dogs were bred as working animals, whether they were used for actual physical work or for being awesome companion animals, which is also work. I feel dogs with defined jobs are truly satisfied dogs. If I want their work to be to enjoy themselves in the water, then that is what they should learn. Dogs are very inspiring when it comes to rising to the occasion. Babying only leads to spoiled/neurotic dogs and degraded owners.

IMG_4781Young, healthy dogs can be prompted to experience any number of new situations they would normally shun, if you just get on with it and give the dog the impression he has little choice but to follow. This is, after all, how a mother dog would operate. It also gives a dog the respect they deserve to make their own decisions in a situation instead of making too many human assumptions about what the dog “wants” or does not “want”.

I guarantee this experiment, though it may sound harsh to some, will teach you a lot about yourself and your dog. I should stress that you should always observe your dog closely in new situations and don’t force them to overexert themselves. Not too much anyway…

Listen. Your dog doesn’t know that you don’t have a very-important-job-kayaking-along-the-ocean-shoreline-in-order-to-keep-the-earth’s-axis-from-spinning-out-of alignment and that he needs to keep up with you… He’ll just keep up with you because he’s your dog and he loves working for you and traveling beside you. When he confronts his fears and survives unscathed, he will gain true confidence. You can treat anything you want your dog to learn like your job and you might be surprised how well they rise to the challenge.


Sopping wet, time to go home