In December last year, one of our cats bought home a baby rabbit. It was alive, unharmed, and way too cute. We named it Bunbun.

Bunbun presented us with a problem. Firstly, he is a pest. I wouldn’t say we have a huge rabbit problem on this property, but they are obviously present. In New Zealand, they eat pasture and dig burrows which can increase erosion. They are vectors for disease. I was also pretty afraid about what he could do to my garden, if I’m honest.

But here was a baby rabbit – helpless, totally healthy, and did I mention very cute?

He fit in with us well. A couple of times a day I would walk around the garden and bring him a large handful of flowers, herbs and leaves. He loved strawberries and chamomile. He wouldn’t touch the silverbeet.

Bunbun with a selection of garden goodies

After a couple of weeks, I spent some Airpoints and bought Bunbun a flash new house from Mitre10. We moved it around the lawn and Bunbun acted as a lawnmower who mowed one square meter of grass each day.

Bunbun's cage and the grass he mowed

Bunbun had a strange relationship with the cats. They loved to just watch and hang out with him. We called it ‘Bunbun TV’. We would frequently find the cats hanging out wherever the rabbit hutch was.

Bunbun and our cat Patu

He had a few fans over on Instagram and features in my profile picture on Twitter. He fit into our ecosystem as a passive lawnmower and provider of nutrients. It worked.

Until, one day, it didn’t work.

That two-story mansion was brilliant in the calmer weather of summer, but as winter set in, so did the wilder winds. One day in early May, I woke up to destruction, and Bunbun has never been seen again.

The cage overturned and stuck in the fence

We spent a few nights about with a spotlight. I half expected him to come into the garden and raid it like Peter Rabbit (he knows where the garden is, and what goodies are in there). But we’ve never seen him or evidence of any rabbits on our property since.

Sometimes we see rabbits further up the driveway and we call out ‘hello Bunbun!’ I don’t really know what I hope for Bunbun. On one hand, I liked him. I hope he’s happy being free. On the other, he is a pest who may come back to haunt us some day. I guess only time will tell.