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introducing rabbits and cats

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Anyone have any ideas on how to do this? I have two bunnies and a new cat in the house. When I first brought in kitty, they got along fine and each let the other alone. Now that he is getting older, he is trying to chase them whenever they try to leave the cage. I always supervise their visits together but I just want suggestions to make this less stressful on my rabbits.

post #2 of 6
That's a tough call -- basically, you're mixing a prey animal (the rabbits) with a predator animal (the cat). So there's a certain amount of instinct involved.

That said, we've got two cats and a rabbit and the dynamic is a bit reversed. One cat could care less about the rabbit (they were raised together); and our 2-year-old cat, Tiki, is very cautious and kind of afraid of the rabbit!

I think you want to set up scenarios in which the participants have less opportunity to fall into their instinctive behaviors. For example, distract them with food (give the rabbits a carrot or treat, and the cat some crunchy treats or their favorite food). Or simply cuddle the rabbit(s) or the cat or keep them comforted near you, so they don't set up a chase. The rabbits should always have their cage or another safe place they can get to (under the couch) easily accessible.

Tiki will be afraid of the rabbit until the rabbit bolts -- at which time, she gets emboldened and thinks, "the chase is on!!!!" She becomes a lion on the Serengeti for about 3 seconds. The best thing you can do is probably minimize the kind of circumstances in which this instinct can kick in until the animals get comfortable together.
post #3 of 6
The House Rabbit Society will be able to help you with this one...they have a great article http://www.rabbit.org/journal/2-11/c...d-rabbits.html

post #4 of 6
When I introduced my mini-lop bun to my then 3 cats, I did it when he was just a baby; only a few weeks old!

I held him in my hands & let them sniff at him. Cats are natural predators & Buns are natural prey; so I knew I was getting into some iffy territory here!

My bun was a house bun, he had free-roam during the day AFTER he got to his mature size. That didn't take long! I kept him in the cage during the day while I was gone, and I'd get him out at night, hold him & let the cats sniff him & get used to him; during the evenings.

Once my bun got to be his full size (8 pounds) I really didn't have any worries. The cats didn't bother him; they played pretty well together, actually. Occasionally I'd catch Zorro licking on Mr. Kickers, or gently biting him; but my bun would just sit there and seem to enjoy it. Zorro never, ever drew blood or harmed him!

They got along wonderfully. Mr. Kickers died when he was only 2 yrs old to a GI blockage & the cats really missed the little bugger.

Good luck with your introductions!
post #5 of 6
My son got a rabbit (for about a month). I introduced the rabbit to the cats - the friendliest one first. The rabbit charged the cat and chased him. The cat apparently told the rest of his brothers/sisters of the "vicious" rabbit because not ONE of the other cats wanted anything to do with the rabbit!

However, they would attack and kill a mouse or snake if it got in the house!
post #6 of 6
I have a 4 year old dwarf rabbit and a 1 year old cat, and they get along pretty well. The rabbit, Stuart, stays in his cage all day, and I let him out at night. For me, Buster (the cat) will chase him for the first few minutes he's out of his cage, then he'll lie on the floor or on the couch for the next two hours, not doing anything! When he starts to chase him I'll try to distract him with toys. He also likes to sit beside me and watch me clean out Stu's cage, or clean the kitty litter, so that keeps him away from the rabbit. I've also tried giving the cat a 'time out' in the bedroom for a few minutes, then when he comes back he usually doesn't chase the bunny again.

It's good to sit on the floor between them and pet them all, play with some toys with all of them. I also feed the rabbit first when it's feedin' time, so maybe that sort of establishes that he's not prey! Good luck!

PS. Have you been to this site? maybe they can help too
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