This is a farewell to Meiji, who came into our lives for a brief period and left us in the wee hours of 7 April 2015.
Meiji was a spirited black rabbit – full of life and vigour. She behaved more like a cat or dog instead of a rabbit. In Meiji, we had the best of both worlds without the annoyances of either, because rabbits are generally clean critters with limited vocal chords.
Meiji first came to stay with me when my daughter had to go away for two weeks. She needed someone to look after her two baby rabbits that she had just bought from a pet shop. Meiji had not found a forever home because of her colour. My daughter, on the other hand, has a penchant for the underdog…and so, Meiji became a part of our family.
We kept Meiji and Pocky in a nice pen in the living room, complete with a 24/7 supply of rabbit hay, pellets, vegetables and the occasional rabbit treats. Meiji was always the more active, inquisitive and greedy bunny of the two. During the time she was with us, she chewed everything she could get her teeth on – cardboard boxes, sofa corners, curtains, slippers, shoes, wooden legs, lamp cords, phone cords, mobile chargers, computer chords, TV and printer wires. The damage done to my digital organ’s power cable was so thorough that it became more cost effective to just give it away rather than having it repaired.
Meiji was always on the move, seeking out new spaces to explore and different wires to chew. She was discerning in her tastes, targeting only those new chords that she hadn’t yet tried out. She loved to play hide-and-seek. She would remain silent and still until I was just about to give up looking, and then she would resume exercising her teeth and make noises to attract attention. I would subsequently find her behind the clothes rack, behind the computer table or under the bed. She would pretend to look pitiful and crouch meekly while getting an earful from me, then suddenly make a wild dash for the staircase, skidding on the polished marble floor in her hurry.
Thankfully, it was easy to toilet train Meiji. Even when she was free to roam around the house and garden, she would make it back to her litter box in the enclosure to do “her thing”.
One idiosyncrasy about Meiji was that she absolutely hated being carried. After learning the hard way with scratches on my hands and belly as proof, I realised that the best way to get Meiji inside her pen was to look fierce and point at the direction of the enclosure. Meiji would take my cue and make her way back into the pen by herself.
I admired Meiji’s determination when it came to coming out of her enclosure. Meiji was an adept escape artist. She would push her nose against the metal bar of the pen to dislodge the top and bottom hooks that held the corners together. If she succeeded in dislodging only the bottom hook, she would use Pocky as a stool, climb on her back and stand on her hind paws to unhook the cage. Meiji was also intelligent enough to deduce that her pen cage had four corners. Even after tying up two corners of her enclosure with string, Meiji remained undeterred, directing her escape plan on the other two corners. I vividly remember one morning seeing Meiji stretched out on the staircase landing outside my bedroom, when she should have been inside her pen. Meiji had gnawed off the additional chord used to hold down the hooks and let herself out of the cage. She partied all night in the living room with Pocky before crashing out on the staircase landing.
I felt that something was not quite right when Meiji did not want to come out of her pen. She was unusually docile and sitting upright, refusing to move. She had not touched her vegetables from the previous night. At first I thought she was just sulking but later in the day, I noticed that her poop was less than half their normal size. I phoned my daughter and we rushed Meiji to the animal clinic. The vet told us that she had a contracted a rabbit infection that affected her respiratory system.
That same evening, we moved Meiji’s things to the guest room upstairs so that she would not infect Pocky. My daughter stayed up with her to make sure she got her two-hourly feed by syringe. Sadly, Meiji did not make it through the night.
We miss you, Meiji. I hope you are living it up and feasting everyday on pak choy, coriander and carrots on the other side of the rainbow bridge!