Stressed? Snuggle up with this

By The Beacon | April 10, 2014 2:35am

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Photos by Emily Strocher

Lydia Laythe |

Most students at the University of Portland don’t have five babies living in their house. But for two households of UP students, taking care of five babies is a reality …  five baby bunnies and kittens, that is. The Beacon had the opportunity to play with - I mean, report on, these two groups of baby animals… and it was wonderful!

As soon as I walked through the door of senior Mariah Lopez’s house, I was greeted by a white and pale orange ball of fur bounding toward my feet. The little kitten was small enough to fit in Lopez’s hand as she swept it off the floor before it could escape through the open door. As we settled onto the living room floor, kittens began to emerge from all over - racing down hallways and crawling out from under a rocking chair. I counted five kittens in all as they climbed up my leg and sniffed curiously at my outstretched hand.

Shortly after we sat down, seniors Rachel Lesowski, Katie Bates and Kailyn Kenney brought their baby bunnies into the house in a wicker basket usually used to hold magazines. Completely unlike the bouncing kittens, the baby bunnies were all nestled close to each other, barely moving.

“Do bunnies fight?” Lopez asked, watching the kittens approach the bunny basket.

“No,” Kenney said. “they just snuggle.”

“They’re so fluffy I’m gonna die!”

Like Agnes from Despicable Me, I about had a heart attack when I held the furry, gray kitten in my hands. Lopez called him “The Pretty Boy,” and she was right. His squished, gray face and little blue eyes were adorable. The bunnies were fuzziest and easiest to hold, because they basically just fell asleep on your lap.

“These guys will just curl up and snuggle with you forever,” Kenney said.

But the kitten’s behavior was funniest to watch, as they tackled and tumbled over each other.

“Having them (around), it’s always entertaining,” Lopez said.

“Mommy, where do babies come from?”

Lopez suspected her cat was pregnant when it began gaining a lot of weight.

“She was basically wider than she was long,” Lopez said.

Lopez was planning to have her cat fixed, but had talked to her housemates about the possibility of her cat having babies. By the last day of February, Lopez’s cat gave birth to five kittens.

Lesowski, Bates and Kenney were bunny-sitting for a friend when they decided to put their own Holland Lop, Loppa (aka the Dalai Loppa, aka Loppa Del Rey), in the same enclosure as their friend’s bunny. By the beginning of March, the three friends had six little baby bunnies to care for and play with.

Sharing the Snuggling

Though Lesowski and her housemates admit that the docile bunnies are good stress relievers, they don’t plan on keeping the bunnies. Lopez plans on giving all her kittens away as well. Although each household has at least five animals to get rid of, the girls are sure it won’t be a problem, as they’ve already had friends ask for bunnies and kittens.

“I’ve had a lot of people try and call which ones they want, like when they were first born,” Lopez said. “So I don’t know how I’m going to go about it, but I don’t think it’ll be too difficult.”

The Bunnies: Mumu, Herbert, Oliver, Bo, Taquito (AKA Gandalf), and Cinnabon

The Kittens: Mouse-Rat, “The Pretty Boy,” Henrietta, [and the rest are unnamed]