The Good Life: Protecting the Babbits

Rabbits have long since been considered a pest in Australia. I mean, the longest unbroken fence in the world was built in the country to keep the rabbits out of precious farming territory.

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The Greater Bilby, endangered in Queensland.  Photo courtesy of DHP

Besides, there’s well documented evidence that the introduction of rabbits can vastly alter the ecosystem. Heck, the adorable little rabbit is believed to be responsible for the decline of several Australian native species such as the Greater Bilby through habitat destruction.

It is no surprise that the Australian government works to control the feral rabbit population through regular releases of biological agents like the Calicivirus[1] (aka Rabbit Haemorrhagic Diseases). In fact, a planned release of the virus is happening across 1,000 sites across Australia as we speak!

For those of you not in the know, the Calicivirus is a very nasty killer. It basically makes your rabbit bleed out internally, until it finally dies from the stress. BUT! A vaccination for this horrible disease does exist and is available at most local vet clinics! Both Bonnie and Clyde are regularly vaccinated against Calicivirus, so they’re covered in the event of a planned release.

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Bonnie and Clyde after being vaccinated.  They’re very upset about the whole situation, but it’s for their own good!

That being said, it doesn’t hurt to take extra precautions to protect the rabbits from the dangers of horrible diseases. Both Calicivirus and Myxamatosis are spread by flies and mosquitoes, so you should take steps to insect-proof any rabbit play areas.

To protect our precious bunnies, The Boobook and I lined Bonnie and Clyde’s outdoor hutch with UV protected mosquito netting. It’s a little bit expensive, but at least it’ll keep them safe.  Plus, we’ve lined the bottom with thick gauge chicken wire so that they can’t dig their way to freedom and get themselves hurt.

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Mosquito-proofed babbit home!

So, now our babbits are free to dance and play in the sun and are safe from the virus come rain or shine!  If you’d like more information on how to protect your rabbits during this viral release, RSPCA Australia has some very useful information and advice available.


[1]Calicivirus is pronounced Khaleesi-virus, but doesn’t have anything to do with dragons, unless you count the fact that it kills kinda messily.

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Crazy Tales from my Old Apartment: Sky Cat from the Sky

So, the other day, I was relating a past experience to a coworker when she turned to me and said, “Y’know, you have some really strange things happen to you.”

I thought about this and I realised that yes, I have had a very interesting life.  For some inexplicable reason, some very strange things have happened to me over the past 15 years of my life.

I attribute this to the fact that I moved to Australia, land of crazy animals and crazier people, about 15 years ago.  Still, I can’t deny the fact that most of the craziest things that happened to me happened while I was still living in my old apartment.

One evening, as I was cooking dinner[1], I heard a loud thump outside.  Being the kaypoh person that I was, I decided to look out onto the balcony, mostly because the thump sounded uncomfortably close.

As soon as I opened the balcony door, there was a loud yowling noise and a huge black cat flew past my face and into the house.  This was particularly strange because:

a) There was a ‘no pets’ clause in my apartment building;

b) My apartment balcony isn’t connected to any other balconies in the building, and;

c) I live on the 13th floor in a 16 floor building.

The cat made a beeline for my sofa and dived underneath it.  It stared at me with glittering eyes from the darkness under the sofa.  So, I did the only sensible thing I could do.  I ensured the safety of my pet mice by placing them in one of the cabinets and shutting the door.  Then I called Debs G for advice.

A Becky Lee: Debs, there’s a cat in my house.

Debs G:  WHAT?! I know you wanted a cat, but the Aged Ps are going to be SOOOOOO CROSS with you. You don’t even have a steady job and you’re studying! How could you buy a cat?  DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THEY COST?!  HOW MUCH DID IT COST?!

A Becky Lee:  It came from the sky.

Debs G: Don’t talk rubbish!  Cats don’t come from the sky!  If you’re going to make up stories, at least make up plausible ones!

A Becky Lee:  I’m going to see if I can pull it out from under the couch.

This proved to be an immeasurably stupid idea because the cat, being both upset and possibly quite angry about having fallen from the sky, clawed my arm into ribbons.  So, owtch.  I returned to my phone call.

A Becky Lee: It just clawed my arm.  What am I going to do with it?

Debs G:   Maybe you can return it to the pet shop.

A Becky Lee:  My arm, you doofus!  What am I going to do about my ARM?!

At this point, I noticed something white fluttering in the breeze somewhere just over my balcony.  It was a photograph of the cat, tied to some fishing line, which was being slowly lowered down from above.

A Becky Lee:  Hang on, there’s a message coming down from the sky.

Debs G:  What?!

The message read, and I quote, “Have you seen this cat?” followed by a picture of a rather familiar black shadow from under my couch.  I grabbed the message and fed the string onto my balcony, then I went inside for a pen.

Debs G, by the way, was yelling incoherently for this whole exchange, which was fantastic medical advice, so I hung up on her.

I found a black marker and wrote: IT’S IN MY HOUSE.  <HOUSE NUMBER>

Then, I tugged on the line.  It started rolling back up.

About 15 minutes later, my doorbell went off.  The cat’s owners arrived, a young couple. The woman had been crying – her mascara was running down her face.  The guy was sweaty and panting, but otherwise calm. They lived on the top floor.  Apparently, they brought their cat out onto the balcony and it took a leaping dive off the edge.  Thankfully, the wind managed to blow it back onto my balcony.

They were really relieved that it had survived the trip.

They took it home with them and advised me to wash my arm and put some Savlon cream on it.

And that, my friends, is how I almost owned a cat, but didn’t.  The moral of this story is, don’t bring your cat out onto the balcony.

Seriously, don’t do it.  Cats get disoriented by heights and often test them by jumping.

Also, never call Debs G for medical advice when a skycat is involved because she is a meanie pants.

THE END.


[1] Chicken stir fry with green beans and almonds.

June Holiday Excursions 2015: A Visit to the SPCA

Today, J was very busy with Other Things, so I had the opportunity to spend some time with Little E!

Now that Thumper has arrived, she has been such a great big sister to him, but I still want to show her that having a small baby around does not mean that she will not be receiving any attention from me. This is why I planned a little excursion just for her!

We started out by having a Very Leisurely Breakfast at the Ya Kun Kaya Toast branch down at Holland Village. I ordered a set of steamed bread with kaya which came with a nice cup of tea (for me) as well as soft boiled eggs in a dish. Little E had a cup of Milo to herself and happily ate the runny eggs with a spoon, occasionally taking a mouthful of fluffy steamed bread.

Tasty soft boiled eggs with soya sauce

Tasty soft boiled eggs with soya sauce, steamed bread and hot drinks!

Afterwards, we drove down to the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). The Barn Owl and I want to teach the children to respect nature and be kind to animals, and we have always said that if we ever decide to welcome a dog or a cat into our family, we would probably adopt one from a rescue shelter.

This was Little E’s first visit to the SPCA animal shelter so along the way, I talked to her about why animal shelters exist and the responsibility that pet owners have towards their pets.

She was very impressed by the idea that people would buy pets on impulse only to abandon them later on, and she was shocked that there were people who would actively abuse animals.

At the SPCA

At the SPCA

It was pretty busy down at the SPCA, much busier than I expected. There were volunteers taking the dogs for walks or bathing them, and others in the cattery grooming the cats.

Exploring the SPCA

Exploring the SPCA

The dogs got a little overexcited when we approached and started up a real hullabaloo which put Little E off visiting with them, so she decided to stay within the cattery, which was much more quiet.

There were some helpful volunteers who encouraged Little E to handle the animals gently and took the time to talk to her about the challenges of rehoming and rehabilitating animals who have been abused or neglected.

In the cattery

In the cattery

We found out that the SPCA is moving from their current premises at Mt Vernon, to a much larger facility located in Sungei Tengah. The new animal shelter will have much more room to house more animals, and will include a rehabilitation centre as well as an exercise and agility course.

When Little E heard about this, she said that she wanted to help build more homes for stray animals – so I took her to the SPCA shop and she bought a little bracelet for herself and a yellow button for J. She also dropped some of her angpow money into the donations box! Yay, Little E!

Support the SPCA!

Support the SPCA!

SPCA Singapore

31 Mt Vernon Road, Singapore 368054

Opening hours are from 11am – 4pm daily (closed on Thursdays)

If you would like to make a donation towards the new animal shelter, you can do so here.