Rabbits as Indoor Pets

People are often surprised when I mention that the bunnies live inside with me, and not in a cage of any sort. I think this stems from some common misconceptions of rabbits – the perception that rabbits are outdoor animals that somehow need to live in a cage. This, of course, could not be further from the truth.

Indoor rabbits are a lot like cats – or so I say to people who seem surprised when I tell them that my rabbits live inside. Some of the ways that rabbits are like cats are:

  • They can be litter trained – in fact once you spay/neuter a rabbit, getting them to go in one spot, in a litter box, is quite easy. They tend to go in one spot naturally, and you just have to put a box there and – presto! A litter trained rabbit.
  • They sleep a lot during the day. (While you’re at work, just like cats tend to do.) They also nap a lot, like cats.
  • They’re pretty self-sufficient – like cats, they need occasional brushing, and of course you have to feed them and change their litter, but other than that they can pretty much take care of themselves (especially if you have 2 rabbits together – if you only have 1 rabbit, you should spend time with it so it doesn’t get bored or lonely and start chewing on your furniture).
  • They can be destructive to furniture. Cats scratch things; rabbits chew them.
  • They have personality like cats – some rabbits just don’t like to be petted or stay on your lap. Others love it.
  • They groom themselves – just like cats do. (Maybe even more so!)

When you think about it, as indoor pets, rabbits are basically just vegetarian cats. So if you think that cats can live indoors with people, then rabbits can too. The only difference is that you have to trim rabbits’ nails – whereas a cat would NOT like you trying that! As long as you play with them (cats like to play with string, and some rabbits do as well, if you dangle it – Gus is particular to this when he’s in the mood for it) and give them attention and healthy food, rabbits can be just as enjoyable indoors as an indoor cat.

Just don’t put the two together – depending on the size of your cat or rabbit, one or the other might end up hurt. Even small rabbits can kick quite hard, and a cat will quickly learn to leave a rabbit alone if kicked once, but you never know – a cat with a full set of claws could also hurt a rabbit quite badly, or scare it out of its wits. (Although my mom’s cat seems to be terrified of my bunnies!)

So there you have it – a good rational for letting rabbits live indoors with you, the same as you would with a cat. Now if you don’t mind, Gus is demanding some attention – so until next time…!

UPDATE: You can follow the adventures of Gus and Betsy now on their own blog, The Life and Times of Bunnies!

By Keith Survell

A geek, programmer, amateur photographer, anime fan and crazy rabbit person.

1 comment

  1. You might want to do a post about “Make mine chocolate” – the House Rabbit Society’s campaign to educate people about giving rabbits as Easter gifts. And how overpopulation is so rampant people should not breed their rabbits.

    Oh yeah, and never buy from a petstore – adopt!

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