It has been nearly eighteen months since Bouffe acquired a headtilt. After the initial upset and steep learning curve we all adjusted within weeks to the new way of seeing things – at an angle. Bouffe is doing just fine and is rabbitting on with joy, perhaps because he has more privileges than before!
Bouffe’s headtilt means he is less into cables and furniture these days. He still likes to demolish things, but only if they are flat on the floor. Shoes, books, rugs and newspapers left on the floor are simply not safe when he is around. Quite helpful if your inner domestic god(dess) needs a helping hand in expressing itself.
As a result of Bouffe’s new interests he has been 100% freerange ever since the onset of his headtilt. He enjoys is own personal corner where he likes to kip with his turkey toy or throw his food bowls about.
Preferably after someone’s just had the Hoover out…
Plenty of support
If his favourite chair leg isn’t available, there’s always the option of using available waiting staff as furniture. We don’t mind waiting to go to the loo while he sleeps!
Neither does the waiter…
Although a chair leg can be more patient and less fidgety:
And when he’s tired after playing with his favourite toy, it’ll prop him up while he dreams of more treats:
Day 1: Why isn’t my brekkers served in my new favourite spot, the understairs cupboard?!
Day 2: I’ll have brekkers in the understairs cupboard, thank you.
Day 3: Why on earth would anyone serve my brekkers in the understairs cupboard?! Bring it to me. #youjustcantgetthestaffthesedays
A spot of al fresco dining on cecals:
Bouffe’s ‘top eye’ is prone to conjunctivitis and needs cleaning every day, because he can’t wash his face easily himself, and his tear ducts are no longer having the benefit of gravity to drain naturally. The skin around it is very delicate can get irritated if he scratches it too much too.
If it gets too red, we dab a tiny amount of Sudocrem on it which soothes it and stops him scratching straightaway, and the next day it is peachy pink again.
It is hard to see because it is closed, but this is his ‘bottom eye’ just after I’d cleaned it. It gets washed with tepid water and dried gently. He gets a drop of ointment in both eyes most days.
The ointment keeps the conjunctivitis more or less under control.
At the moment Bouffe receives Norocillin or Duphapen Fort injections weekly. We administer these at home, picking up a three-week supply from the vet and taking him in for a check-up every ten or so weeks.
We also massage Bouffe daily, which seems to help him move. We can only imagine how much he seizes up by living such a lopsided life, however much time he spends on his side, resting.
What he likes best is to have his head supported so it is more upright, and have his cheeks, nose, sides of his neck and shoulders gently massaged. Massaging alongside his spine (not the spine itself!) seems to be ticklish, he usually starts to wriggle after a while and wants to groom himself!
His head grows heavier and heavier in my hand and his whole body goes a bit limp as he relaxes into the strokes. After a while he’ll start licking my hand to reciprocate the attentions. After a massage he is noticeably more mobile and active and any abandoned footwear near the door is not safe!
Unlimited outside time
Allowing for someone being home – we have a pair of nesting red kites in the area as well as foxes and plenty of domestic cats – Bouffe has unlimited access to outside space too. When he first started to go outside again we let him fall off our raised deck on purpose (he fell about 6 inches onto a thick layer of mulch) and ever since he has been carefully negotiating the edges. He can still reach several plants including his favourite lavender, which he helps himself to whenever the mood takes him.
Unlike Haas and Katrijn, Bouffe never has been a fan of sitting on grass as we found years ago. Monsieur likes his home comforts, why risk damp feet, creepy crawlies and grass stains?! Grass is breakfast, lunch and dinner, it is not for sitting on – or worse.
He loves sleeping outside when it’s sunny.
The winter jasmine provides welcome cover.
Every night he wants to go outside to patrol the perimeter before locking up. He also makes sure the furniture is where it should be. It’s a quick round of his realm, clearly not something he can leave to his staff. Funnily enough he is much less interested in doing any of these things when it’s raining…
Because he’s worth it…
It may sound weird, but where Bouffe was delightful to have around before his headtilt, he has become an absolute joy after.
Abused as he was when he arrived – he was so thin he scored 0 on the Rabbit weight chart – he quickly started to trust us to always provide food and care for him.
He started out being defensive and grumpy, but after mere weeks began to mellow and the laid-back Bouffe we know began to emerge. He still didn’t allow his hind quarters to be touched though, which our vet found a painful discovery when he went for check-ups!
Ever since his headtilt crisis he has become very, very trusting and affectionate and clearly tells us what he wants. He loves being groomed all over, especially when he is moulting which we imagine must be an itchy affair. He takes no offence at people wanting to stroke his magnificent tail either or inspecting his toenails.
He can throw himself into his favourite activities with a huge passion that is delightful to see, from his deep sighs of contentment while sunbathing to hour-long cuddle sessions and playtime with his toys.
We love Bouffe all the more for his quirks and sometimes wonder what he would have been like without his tilt: perhaps just a little less fun and loving? Whatever the answer might have been, we don’t mind not knowing.