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Bunny Rabbits as Pets?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
My daughter wants a BUNNY RABBIT as a Christmas present. Her chances of actually getting one are slim to none, but, it made me wonder what kind of pet do they make?

I would imagine that like other pets, a bunny rabbit should be an indoor pet. I have lots of questions about that, though. Don't bunnies just poop and pee as they are walking around? The outside ones do, it seems? Can a bunny be litter box trained? Would they need to live in a cage?

Another thing that I explained to Alida is that Hattie is a PREDATOR who EATS bunnies outside ALL the time. There is hardly a day that goes by when she is outside that she doesn't get one I know that sounds and IS terrible, but, that is what she does. There are literally HUNDREDS of bunnies in our immediate neighborhood. Hattie is diminishing their population I don't like it, but, the only way to avoid it is to keep her in 100% of the time, like my other cats. Hattie is not at all happy being an indoor cat (she's in now for the winter, and if she isn't sleeping, she is looking mournfully out the window and bolting to the door when the opportunity arises to go outside). Anyways, I digress...

I cannot imagine cats & dogs & bunnies being friends. Perhaps a couple of them would do fine, like Parker and Duncan. Marshmallow loves to chase squirrels, and Bear loves to chase everything. Those two dogs have pretty high prey drives. Hattie and Jellybean would probably look at the bunny as a tasty meal. Jellybean likes to chase, too. I doubt he would hurt the bunny, but...wouldn't be too smart to take any chances there, either.

As you can see, a bunny wouldn't work out well here, but, just how hard is it to keep a bunny for a pet? What is involved? Are they good indoor housepets?

I did a search on Petfinder and there are so many that need a home. So cute they are! Are bunnies usually friendly?

I would love to hear from experienced bunny owners out there.

Cindy W.

PS...I swear, when my daughter is grown and on her own, her home will be a ZOO!!!
post #2 of 20
I had 2 rabbits (now sadly departed) and they were litter trained. We used sawdust instead of real litter, but it was in a conventional litter tray. They were outside in a hutch most of the time but when they came indoors the tray came with them and they used it no problem. Hope that helps.
post #3 of 20
I know people who love their pet rabbits. They definitely are litter box trained and can be very loving animals. Most times the bunny is an indoor pet but kept caged while the owner is away at work or whatever — not because they poop all over the house, but because they CHEW! They like to gnaw on furniture and such.

In your situation with both cat and dog that have such strong predator instinct, I don't think a bunny would be good. It might inevitably lead to heartbreak.

If they all grew up together it might be a lot easier, but at this point I don't think I would try it.
post #4 of 20
If your cat is already prone to chasing wild bunnies and disposing of them, introducing a rabbit at this stage of the game could end up being very traumatic. Trust me, you do not want to have your daughter hear the sounds of a rabbit in pain. I used to rescue abused bunnies, and you can keep them with cats, even in the same room, but not when the cats are used to hunting them already. It's a normal prey response. Here you can see my two ferals investigating the pen where two rabbits were staying temporarily.

post #5 of 20
My landlords rabbit bit my leg and made a big hole in it
post #6 of 20
I have a pet bunny, and a cat and a large dog. I rescued the bunny just a few months ago, and I am very glad I did. Autumn has fit into our home wonderfully. There are many good links on the web, you can start at www.rabbit.org, The House Rabbit Society's webpage, for tons of good information and links. All of your questions would be answered on that site, but I'd be happy to PM you a bit more about my experiences if you'd like.

I don't think rabbits are pets for everyone, and based on what you've said might not be the best idea for your family. Any pet you already have that has a high prey drive is just going to make it very hard to ensure the bunnies safety, and will provide a lot of extra and continued training on your part for that animal to be trained how to behave around the bunny, but you'll always have to be extra careful. And if you have the cat and a few dogs that all are prey driven that might just be too much! I'm lucky it worked out so well with my two, and even now months later I still do constant training with my dog when the bunny is out because Autumn could so easily get hurt. I would definitely do a lot of research before making a decision to bring one into your home. Please let me know if you want to talk about it more. There is a thread somewhere in here about my bunny Autumn too if you're interested.
post #7 of 20
Right you make some good points. The rabbit is so low on the food chain, that they are very fragile. They get hurt so easily if you aren't careful, and a cat with a high prey drive, is anything but careful.
post #8 of 20
We have a rabbit...I'd be very hesitant to recommend them as pets, especially for children. Our cats grew up with her, and still stalk her. We love her dearly, but the real concern is how much time you can give them. They will chew electrical cords, so you're not guaranteed a rabbit that doesn't need supervision. You don't want to leave them in a cage 24/7, so you'll need to be able to give them active attention. I've heard plenty of stories of children that wanted rabbits, but eventually lost interest, and I can understand why.

I also found I'm not allergic to them normally, but they do shed heavily at certain times of year. When the cat hair gets mixed with the rabbit fur, my allergies kick in...even with vacuuming and cleaning. Unless you're on top of it, you'll see bunny/cat fur tumbleweed blowing through the living room.

Also, if you don't get them fixed, they will display a certain amount of sexual aggression. If you get a rabbit, check with your vet first on whether they treat rabbits, will fix them, etc...

And lastly, they are fragile. They don't like to be carried around, and can kick to get free. It would be easy to drop them and hurt them accidentally.

Just keep these things in mind....
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
I won't be adopting a bunny. My situation with my pets wouldn't make for a happy or safe environment for a bunny. Maybe one day, but, for now, it wouldn't be a good idea, especially with Hattie.

I know what you mean, Hissy, about the sound of a rabbit in pain/being attacked by a cat. It is a horrible sound that you don't soon forget. I had the misfortune of opening up my back deck door and heard this AWFUL noise. Hattie had gotten a bunny The damage was already done, Hattie had killed it. It was awful.

My animals would never give the poor bunny any peace. I have explained it to my daughter. She just thinks that they will all "get used to each other"...NOT! Maybe I will buy her a stuffed toy bunny, or something like that!

Thanks for the great answers!

Cindy W.
post #10 of 20
My counsin had an indoor bunny and a beagle! Imagine that! But they were pretty much raised together. I had bunnies when I was young but we kept them outside in a hutch.
post #11 of 20
Hi
I had a miniture dwarf rabbit, the kinda medium sized rabbit with the droopy ears (roughly 4-5 pounds, I think), and I had a cat for a short time when the rabbit was with us. The difference was, the cat was a mainly outdoor cat, that came in only to eat and sleep down in the garage and the bunny stayed in my room in a cage that really was too small for it. And my cat at the time never brought home a bunny, only an occasional mole.
My bunny would have been happier I think-in a larger area, than confined to a rather small wire cage, and it became a mean and cranky bunny cause of the confined area. If you get a bunny, I suggest a very small bunny so that it's easy for your daughter to manage. I have heard though...that bunnies are pretty smart and that people have litter-trained a bunny, just like a cat.
Hope this helps, and good luck
post #12 of 20
P.S.
Have you considered getting a Guinea Pig?
I had them and I reccommend them over a rabbit. I think they're cuter, more intelligent, not as big and they tend to be fairly good lap animals (once they reach adult-hood)
post #13 of 20
I would love a rabbit, but am afraid I wont have the time to play with it. its not like you can leave them out and you know they will be ok. they HAVE to be caged if youre not watching. and you cant have one with a cat that will kill it in an instant.

my neighbors have bunnies in a hutch outside. I feel so sorry for them.
post #14 of 20
Ok... What about a french lop rabbit??

I had one which was huuuuge!!! bigger than the cats and he was outdoor/indoor.
the bigger the rabbit, the more docile,friendly and tame they are.
Mine had a cage indoors for the nights but to be honest at the end of his life he roamed free pretty much all the time.
He was allowed to run free in the garden pretty much whenever he wanted in the daytime, and he always pooped outside, just like a dog. In the evenings or when it rained he would come indoors with us and he NEVER messed indoors!!
He was extremely clever and would come running straight in when you called him in the evening!

The cats adored him, and he them (abit tooo much ) they would lick each other and play together. We also have foxes in the garden, but the rabbit was so seriously huge that no fox in his right mind would EVER have tried it on with him.

He was also extremely affectionate and would come up to us for headbutts, and loved his huge floppy ears being stroked.... he would always fall asleep that way. He was never ever aggressive, ever!!! and believe you me, if that rabbit had wanted to cause damage he most certainly could have!!!

Beau was most definately a most loved member of the family, and we all cried buckets when he passed away. To this day we all miss him and remember the good times we had with him.

RIP little guy, you're in a better place now
post #15 of 20
I have a pretyy new bunny, and we have Scooby(my daughters cat)he's about 3 now. At first he was leary of Charlie, now they play with each other. One will chase and then the other chases, its funny. Charlie is in her cage, which for a little girl is apretty nice size and she uses her litter box fully. It wasn't hard to train her either. The cat is jealous of her new playmate but when Charlie is out he looks for her. Charlie has been a fun and interesting new addition.
post #16 of 20
Cindy, you might consider letting your daughter get her "rabbit fix" by visiting some of them in local shelters. They always need volunteers, & she'd get to learn about rabbits!
post #17 of 20
I have a blue holland lop rabbit. She is indoors only and she is spayed (Every single rabbit needs to be spayed/neutered just like cats do. ) She uses her litter pan- but she has frequent accidents- because rabbits mark their territory by flinging poo and pee....they are very messy at times. Mine stays in a very spacious cage during the day, and I have a huge animal play pin that she hops around in several times a day. My cats really love her- she is a large rabbit, so i don't worry about them hurting her. Sophie (rabbit) and Isabella get along extremly well as does Abilene with her- my girls love her. I will say, that you should HIGHLY research before you adopt!!! They are much more time consuming and harder to take care of than kitties are. They do not like to be left alone and are constantly seeking attention. Also, my Sophie is very bright....so bright in fact that she is a regular escape artist- you must rabbit proof everything. Also, they enjoy dinning on carpet, rug, blankets...things of that nature and can easily get intestional blockages as a result -so they should not be left unsupervised. You want to check teeth reguarly and make sure that the bunny is constantly chewing so that their teeth stay filed down- otherwise they can develop serious complications. Also, you must keep their nails trimmed..rabbit claws hurt! If you have any type of dog who tears through soft rabbit sized stuffed animals- i would seriously reconsider adopting a rabbit- that is not a good combination with a dog who would potentially harm one. Also, before you decide on adopting a rabbit- be sure to call around your area and find vets that Specialize in rabbits- ask them what type of medicine they use on them (rabbits have a very sensitive body and you absolutely can not use the same meds on them as you would for a cat/dog). You also want to find out how many rabbits they see a month in their clinic and what for- are they expereinced with spay/neuter of rabbits? These things are absolutely necessary to find out before you even consider adopting a rabbit. Also- how often do you grocery shop? Rabbits need fresh veggies on a daily basis in addition to timothy hay, timothy hay pellets, and other things. Many common veggies such as Kale and Spinach a rabbit should NOT have. Also, rabbits are unable to digest corn- which is a common ingredient in many rabbit treats and foods- so you have to research the foods and treats that a rabbit can/can't have (I have a huge list i use for Sophie- i'd be happy to send it to you.) . Also, You do not want to give alfalfa to an adult rabbit once they are full grown because of the amount of protien in it as few as well as other things. You need to use Timothy Hay instead. I highly recommend Ox Bow products- you can order them online./ You also want to provide them with mineral licks, plenty of things to chew on- and STURDY dishes and litter pans because they can and will tip them over- it's is not fun to clean up rabbit litter at 3am when a bunny gets fiesty and dumps it out the side of the cage and onto your floor./ If you have any doubts on adopting a rabbit- i would caution you to wait a while and think it over- they are VERY needy, can be messy at times, and just like a cat or dog- they need vet care, a very strict diet, and lots of attention. I also want to caution you on one thing- Please do not adopt a rabbit as a Christmas "present" for your child. Many animals get adopted because they're cute and look adorable- and when they get scared of a fast moving child or the child does not want to spend time with it any more- they often can become aggessive or unsocial and often times find themselves back at a shelter. Here's what I would suggest doing- get your daughter a large Stuffed animal rabbit for Christmas and put a little card on it that says something along the lines of congradulations, and after Christmas, you can go and view the adoptable bunnies near you....something like that- make sure that this isn't just a "phase" for your child and that your child is responsible and wise enough to care for a rabbit (you should always be willing to step in should the child not properly care for it). I would go ahead and give her normal Christmas presents, and then after Christmas, if she still want a bunny and the "phase" has passed- then let her go and visit some of the lovely bunnies that are up for adoption. Just make sure your child does not view a living creature as a Christmas present. Often with the excitement of Christmas, a young child will want to play with it's toys, families will want to have meals and parties, etc...and a rabbit will get overlooked- so I would get her a nice stuffed animal instead with a little bow and card on it- something to let her know you will be looking to adopt after christmas if that is what you choose- and then wait until after the holidays so that the animal gets the attention it deserves. Also, I highly recommend reading "Rabbits for Dummies" -that book is an excellent guide to properly caring for a rabbit- it helped me soooooo much when I adopted Sophie. Before you even consider adopting - please research, research, research! that is the most important tool when deciding to adopt an animal and if adopting a certain animal is right for your family or not. I'm sure whatever you decide, things will work out lovely and if you do adopt, your animal will have a lovely home with you looking after it I would just wait until after Christmas to adopt so that your child understand a rabbit is not a present..and so that it doesn't get pushed aside with all of the holiday celebrations and activities / If you need any more info as far as diet, rabbit proofing, health, anything of that nature goes- please pm me....I have a lot of experience as far as that goes and would be more than happy to help you Rabbits really are wonderful animals, but it should always be remembered that they are prey animals- so they often scare extremly easily and it may take some work to earn their trust and get them to view you as a friend and not a preditor. When I adopted Sophie- I adopted her as a "left over" easter bunny....people had adopted her as an easter rabbit because she was cute and fluffy, without researching her needs or the proper things for owning a rabbit- it was soo sad, she was returned because she got bigger and was no longer a cute little baby rabbit- they also spooked her a lot and did not properly socialize her, so she had a bit of an aggression and trust issue. When I got her and was able to spend the time just earning her trust and letting her know she was safe- she turned into such a sweetie pie. She still has an occassional temper tantrum and believe me when I say- rabbit teeth hurt!...but over all- she is a wonderful little girl/ I would say though that for a child, I would not recommend a rabbit as a pet because children often like to cuddle and hold their animals- and since rabbits are prey animals- they often spook easily and do not like being picked up in a new environment because when you think about it, in the wild, prediatory animals pick them up when they kill them....so it is not something they may necessarily like (now this all depends on the individual rabbit and if it has been socialized or not- some rabbits love being held and would do well with a child- but just make sure you know the individual rabbits temperment before adopting so that it does not get missunderstood) / pm me if you have any questions or wanna know anything else about bunnies- i'd be happy to help you

Here are a few pictures of Sophie She is a blue holland lop


Abilene & Sophie

post #18 of 20
I think your decision to not adopt one sounds like the right one for your situation.

I used to have a free-running house rabbit, Hunny Bunny. We got Tailer while we had her, and the two of them were best friends. (BUT Tailer was a tiny kitten when we rescued him, so he was raised knowing that Hunny wasn't prey.) The thing is, though, that cat scratches and bites are FATAL to rabbits so you don't want to take any chances on leaving them together unless you're absolutely sure nothing will happen.

I'll echo much of what others have said. Think very, VERY hard about it before you get a rabbit. Hunny Bunny was an absolute delight...very intelligent and very loving and very funny. I love her and miss her even now that she's been gone for 8 years...but whe was also a LOT of work. They are very intelligent animals that need a lot of attention and stimulation to be happy...and, like any unhappy animal, an unhappy rabbit can become very aggressive. To keep a rabbit in an environment where it can be happy takes a huge committment on the part of the people. They are significantly more work than either cats or dogs.

Our bunny was litterbox trained and, eventually, was totally free-running. We had a cage that we used when we were first training her and that became her safety zone, but once she was trained she had the run of the house...even when we weren't home. But it took a lot of work and training to get to that point. Our house had to be completely rabbit-proofed and Hunny had to be carefully trained. The biggest issue, as others have mentioned, is the chewing. They will chew anything, especially electrical wires. It's a natural instinct that they NEED to do. Much like with a cat scratching, you have to train them to chew on appropriate things and not chew on inappropriate things (and keep all electrical wires hidden or wrapped because all the training in the world won't overcome their urge to chew on them). Then there are the dietary needs that are mentioned above.

They also aren't very good kid pets. Their very strong back legs and fragile spines mean that they have to be handled with extreme care. Their instincts as prey mean that it's very easy to traumatize them...they're pretty easily frightened or overwhelmed.

As I said, I LOVED Hunny with all my heart. She was worth every bit of the effort. But I don't have another rabbit because I know that my job now wouldn't allow me the time I would need to create a good environment for one.

I urge anyone who's thinking of getting a rabbit to think very, very carefully about it. I worked for a number of years as a volunteer educator for the House Rabbit Society. I can't tell you how many discarded rabbits we got in because people just didn't realize the committment they were getting into. The cute, fuzzy bunnies at the pet store can be irresistable, but you really need to know what you're getting into first.

(Nikki - Sophie is just too adorable!! I always had a soft spot for Holland Lops. Hunny Bunny was a blue Dutch.)
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tari View Post
I think your decision to not adopt one sounds like the right one for your situation.

I used to have a free-running house rabbit, Hunny Bunny. We got Tailer while we had her, and the two of them were best friends. (BUT Tailer was a tiny kitten when we rescued him, so he was raised knowing that Hunny wasn't prey.) The thing is, though, that cat scratches and bites are FATAL to rabbits so you don't want to take any chances on leaving them together unless you're absolutely sure nothing will happen.

I'll echo much of what others have said. Think very, VERY hard about it before you get a rabbit. Hunny Bunny was an absolute delight...very intelligent and very loving and very funny. I love her and miss her even now that she's been gone for 8 years...but whe was also a LOT of work. They are very intelligent animals that need a lot of attention and stimulation to be happy...and, like any unhappy animal, an unhappy rabbit can become very aggressive. To keep a rabbit in an environment where it can be happy takes a huge committment on the part of the people. They are significantly more work than either cats or dogs.

Our bunny was litterbox trained and, eventually, was totally free-running. We had a cage that we used when we were first training her and that became her safety zone, but once she was trained she had the run of the house...even when we weren't home. But it took a lot of work and training to get to that point. Our house had to be completely rabbit-proofed and Hunny had to be carefully trained. The biggest issue, as others have mentioned, is the chewing. They will chew anything, especially electrical wires. It's a natural instinct that they NEED to do. Much like with a cat scratching, you have to train them to chew on appropriate things and not chew on inappropriate things (and keep all electrical wires hidden or wrapped because all the training in the world won't overcome their urge to chew on them). Then there are the dietary needs that are mentioned above.

They also aren't very good kid pets. Their very strong back legs and fragile spines mean that they have to be handled with extreme care. Their instincts as prey mean that it's very easy to traumatize them...they're pretty easily frightened or overwhelmed.

As I said, I LOVED Hunny with all my heart. She was worth every bit of the effort. But I don't have another rabbit because I know that my job now wouldn't allow me the time I would need to create a good environment for one.

I urge anyone who's thinking of getting a rabbit to think very, very carefully about it. I worked for a number of years as a volunteer educator for the House Rabbit Society. I can't tell you how many discarded rabbits we got in because people just didn't realize the committment they were getting into. The cute, fuzzy bunnies at the pet store can be irresistable, but you really need to know what you're getting into first.

(Nikki - Sophie is just too adorable!! I always had a soft spot for Holland Lops. Hunny Bunny was a blue Dutch.)
I second everything you have said! Very well spoken / (thankyou, Sophie sends her thanks as well)
post #20 of 20
I think you made a really good decision not to adopt a rabbit. It seems like they just aren't a good fit for your family. Kudos for looking at that possibility and asking about it. I agree a lot with what was said earlier. rabbits are fragile and need lots and lots of attention. They are way more social than people think.
They are probably one of the most sought after than later forgotten animal. A lot of kids, especially girls, go through a stage of "I want a bunny rabbit." I did, but now I'm older and I have a bunny that I know how to properly take care of. She is a gray dwarf rabbit named Blossom. If I had a digital camera I could get some pictures of her on here. I'm pretty behind with the photos.
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