Polk Moms

Connecting moms in Polk County, Fla.

We have been reading that bunnies can make pretty good pets. Our kids have been asking for one for some time now. Since they are still young, five and seven, I think we should just start with a hamster and see how that goes. If they take care of it to a reasonably good standard, then maybe in a couple of years we could try a rabbit. What do you think?

Rabbits are a ton of work. It involves much more than a cute little bunny sitting in a cage. Ask your vet specific questions. Trying a kitten or a cat might be your best bet since your children are still pretty young. - Rachel Williams in New York City, NY

FROM JODIE:

With so many cute cards, calendars, books, etc., with fluffy, adorable bunnies on them, kids think that having one as a pet would be wonderful. And they can make good pets for some people, usually adults who have a fair amount of time on their hands to devote to the bunny. However, they are not too terribly fond of being held or cuddled. It apparently reminds them of being captured by a predator and they try to escape. This leads to children becoming uninterested in them pretty quickly. I know a family that has had two for the last seven years and say that they can learn to love human contact as long as you leave them on all four feet touching the floor or ground and pet them lightly. They also like to have their ears rubbed gently. But, they are a lot more work than people assume when they purchase one as a family pet. This leads to plenty of them ending up in shelters or being turned out into the wild, especially since they grow very rapidly. They need certain food and a rather large area inside the house to be able to roam around. They can be potty-trained using a litter box similar to a cat, but need to have it changed every day. Just like our family dogs and cats, a trip to the veterinary office is required each year. Plus, they need to be spayed or neutered. They also love to chew on just about anything and can even bite. Careful supervision is a must. If you want more in-depth details, do as much research online as you possibly can for additional information before making a decision. Even if you felt like you could schedule the amount of time it takes to take care of one properly, your kids may be too young for such responsibility. It might be best to wait, as you mentioned, and try something else that they can help with once they're a little older.

CAN YOU HELP?

My daughter-in-law expects me to keep my three grandchildren every Saturday and they go home Sunday around 3 PM. I realize this gives her and my son time to do errands and to also have a little alone time, but the kids, ages 3, 5 and 7 are exhausting. I don't want to be a mean grandmother but it's just getting too much for me. How is the best way to bring this up without sounding petty or selfish?

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