IN this second week of advent, when it’s that time of the year and getting colder, to think of our pets.

We all know not to leave our dogs and cats out in the cold, but if you have a little furry, like a rabbit or guinea pig who is in a cage outside, they also by now should be inside once the temperature drops below 7 C degrees.

Unless you have a specially made heated and well insulated sleeping quarters; outside is no place for a small domestic animal.

In the wild, borrowers like rabbits, would go down into their warren which may have taken many months to build, there they can keep relatively warm as the earth which acts like an insulator, and when they all cuddled up together, they keep each other warm.

This can’t happen with one or even two lone rabbits.

If you have your pet/s in a shed or garage, although it is out of the wind, it is still as cold as outside, unless it has back-ground heating.

If you are fortunate enough to look after a rabbit, and you keep them in the house with you all year around, you will be greatly rewarded by their dancing and their intelligence.

Many years ago, when we started having rabbits as a pet, we did start with having them in a large  outside cage, but when one of them was not well and the vet said to bring him into the house to keep him warm, we brought him in; we are so glad we did. That was the end of outdoor rabbits for us.

Call me soft if you like, but the big reward came as a surprise, when the rabbits were with us and we constantly interacted and talked to them, we discovered that rabbits are at least as clever as dogs, and in their way, maybe more so.

We found out by having them with us, they could learn our ways, our actions and to some extent, our language. And I don’t mean just calling their names and they come to you.

They have learnt the names of many things; mainly names of foods to eat, sounds a bit like us! So what I am saying is, if you have at least one room rabbit proofed; like electric wires out of reach, you will not only be keeping a bunny warm this Christmas and beyond – but be rewarded for doing so by really knowing your pet and getting the most out of this very intelligent animal.

And at the same time knowing you are being blessed by having an animal safe and warm from cold and foe. If you do take them in, they must not be put out again until it warms up, say April, or they may die of cold shock; as not being used to the cold. A good tip to keep rabbits and alike from getting bored, is to give them safe toys to play with, also, this helps to stop them eating things they shouldn’t eat!

They will still need a little shelter nest with a roof over them as this feels like a personal safe space, and they may like to sleep there.