Living with Bunnies: Litter boxes

With Easter coming up, I thought I’d do a series of posts on what it’s really like to own a rabbit (or to be a “bunny slave” as they would put it) – just in case any of you see my photos and think “gee, bunnies sure are cute – maybe I’ll get one for Easter!”

People are often surprised when they learn I let my rabbits run free around the house (under supervision). I often get asked things like “don’t they poop and pee everywhere?” – and then people are shocked to learn about how rabbits use a litter box.

One of the ways I describe rabbits as pets to people is that they are kind of like “vegetarian cats” – and that goes for their litter box habits as well. Rabbits naturally like to go in one place, so they can learn to use a litter box quite easily (especially once they’ve been spayed or neutered). Like any animal you’ll have some accidents while they are young, but it’s not hard to do and they generally learn pretty quickly.

The dark side to using a litter box of course it that you, as the rabbit owner (or “bunny slave”) then have to clean said litter box… and this is something not a lot of people talk about.

I have 2 rabbits, one of whom is quite large (13 pounds), and they share a single litter box – so it gets quite dirty quite quickly, which means I have to clean it very frequently. I usually clean it at least once per day – which means once per day I:

  • Take the dirty litter box out to the garage (possibly also spending some time on my knees to scoop up hay and poops that may have gotten scattered around the litter box – just like cats, bunnies sometimes scatter stuff around their box when they jump in & out)
  • Either scoop out the soiled litter (the buns usually use just one side of the litter box) or sometimes I just empty the whole thing into a trash bag
  • Fill it with fresh litter
  • Put a big pile of fresh hay at one end
  • Bring everything back out

Depending on how many rabbits you have, and how large they are (and how large your litter box is), you might have to do this more or less frequently than I do. You may also want to clean the litter box more frequently if you’re sensitive to the smell – rabbit poop doesn’t smell, but their urine does have a bit of an odor – and there’s only so much that odor absorbing litter can do. Again, this will depend on your rabbits and also on where you keep them – if there’s good ventilation, for example.

Cleaning a litter box like this isn’t something people often think of when they think of keeping a rabbit in their home – but just like with a cat, it is something you have to be prepared to do. So if the thought of having to clean a litter box every day isn’t appealing to you, maybe think twice before bringing home a rabbit – especially if you plan to bring it home as an “Easter bunny.”

Stay tuned for more on what it’s like to be a “bunny slave!”

By Keith Survell

Geek, professional programmer, amateur photographer, crazy rabbit guy, only slightly obsessed with cute things.