Guest blog by Annie McLaughlin from Found Animals Foundation
Rabbits can be kept in a cage. Most owners will litter box train the rabbit in the cage, after the rabbit is litter trained and the home is rabbit proofed, the rabbit can become a “house rabbit” and set free in the home. Normal rabbit behavior does consist of chewing, digging and scratching, so if you want to keep your rabbit in a roomy cage or gated in a corner, there is nothing wrong with that.
Rabbit Cage – There are a number of different styles of rabbit cages available. The cage should be at least 4 times the size of the rabbit. If you aren’t planning on having a “house” bunny, get the largest cage you can comfortably fit in your home.
Wire bottom cages aren’t great for a rabbit’s feet and can cause sores. Look for plastic bottomed cage and you can start litter training. Cages with a large side door are easiest.
Bedding – Grass or sisal mats, straw, hay and fleece blankets make nice bedding. Carpet or towels are fine too as long as they don’t have fray. Cedar and wood shavings should not be used because they contain hazardous oils.
Litter box and Litter – If you decide to litter train your rabbit, you can use a traditional cat box, covered or uncovered. You can also use a special small animal litter box that tucks into a corner of the cage and has a high back and short sides, easier for little legs to climb into. For litter, go with a paper based or organic pellet litter. Stay away from clay litter and cedar or wood shavings.
Diet - Your rabbit’s diet should be made up of high quality pellets, fresh oat or timothy hay and fresh leafy vegetables and fruit. A water bottle with fresh water should be available at all times.
Toys and Entertainment – Your rabbit needs things to climb on, climb up, hide under, scratch and chew on so that he doesn’t get bored. Rabbits seem very easy to please when it comes to toys. Even a plastic water bottle cap is fun to pick up and plonk down.
Pet rabbits can live 7 to 12 years, and though they may be easier in certain ways to keep than a dog or cat, they need their owners to be able to care for them for their whole lives. Any rabbit at the shelter is at risk of being euthanized and a lot of owners will pick up a baby bunny at the pet store without realizing that it is just as big of a commitment as a dog or cat.
If you decide a rabbit is a good pet for you. Take a look at what’s available using our Adopt a Pet lookup tool. Just type in your zipcode and sort for Rabbit, you can even search for breeds if you have something particular in mind!
(Photo By bunnix Flickr)