RIP Popcorn

Photo of Popcorn
Popcorn James Jr., August 2nd, 2012-April 14th, 2020.

Today, I had to put one of my rabbits down. When I moved, I left the warren together with my mom as they had all finally bonded. Popcorn and Blaze were my boys that I had always wanted to take with me when I moved, but that never happened. I can’t focus on anything else today, so I just want to pay tribute to him and revisit my old memories.

Popcorn James Jr. passed at seven years of age today. After we took him to the vet for what we thought was an injured leg, we learned that his problem was neurological, likely caused by a flare of EC. Though given a treatment of Panacur and pain killers, his condition quickly worsened from a limp and poor balance to a complete loss motor control and seizures. There was no more we could do for him, and we made the heartbreaking choice to have him put to rest.

Popcorn Jr. was born to Jackie, accidentally fathered by Popcorn Sr., son of Eva. His seven surviving litter mates found their forever homes thanks to Rabbit Advocates of Portland, OR. He was the bonded partner of Sweetsnuffle, the peacemaker between Sweetsnuffle and Frederika, and best friend/nephew to Blaze. He is survived by the last of his warren, Blaze and Frederika.

Popcorn was a beautiful rex with a brown and white coat. He was friendly, sweet, and sometimes a little dumb. A real himbo. He insisted on eating laurel leaves, even though they weren’t good for him. He didn’t have sense enough to come in out of the rain, even though he had a soft, thin rex coat. His full name became Popcorn James Jr. after he got into mischief that made me feel the need to give him a full name to yell at him when he caused trouble.

But he was also a social rabbit who bonded deeply to others. When we matched him with Sweetsnuffle, she finally found someone who could tolerate her moodiness. When Frederika joined the family, Popcorn was the olive branch that invited her in. I remember when Sweetsnuffle was beginning to become tolerant of her in the same room, but still not fully accepting of her, Frederika went to join her and Popcorn while they were resting. Sweetsnuffle rose to lunge at Freddy, but Popcorn got in between them and convinced them both to settle in together with a few gestures. After Sweetsnuffle passed, I finally managed to bond our entire warren: Popcorn, Blaze, Jet, Frederika, Banana, and Leilo.

Stressbonding in the tub (without Leilo). Banana at the left, Jet upper center, Blaze lower center, Popcorn, and Frederika on the right.

Popcorn became everyone’s friend after bonding, but none as closely as with Blaze. Though technically his uncle (as Blaze is the son of Eva, Popcorn’s grandmother, and half-brother to his father), I can confidently say these two were the bestest bros. They were practically inseparable.

Popcorn showing his bff some love.

Likely all of our rabbits carry Encephalitozoon cuniculi (usually shorted to E. cuniculi or EC) a protozoan parasite endemic to rabbits. This is a common infection, but most healthy rabbits’ immune system keeps this parasite in check. I think the original infection came from the rabbits that originated with our former neighbors’ rabbits, one of which being Popcorn’s mother Jackie. EC is transmitted through spores that pass through urine from an infected host. It can also be passed from the mother during pregnancy. Infected kits usually do not show symptoms as long as they’re receiving antibodies from their mother’s milk. Popcorn was nearly eight years old, and we do not know for sure what triggered his EC to flare up. It could have been a little stress, a minor injury we didn’t see, or it could have simply been the fact that he was getting older.

Popcorn was beautiful, soft, loving, and kind. He will be missed by human and rabbit alike.

Binky free, beautiful boy.

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