Can cats live with rabbits?
You maybe be a lover of both the pointy and floppy eared animal variety. If you have a cat and have always wanted a rabbit, or vice versa, then you may be wondering if the two animals can possibly co-exist peacefully together.
In the wild, a rabbit would be a natural form of prey for your cat. So does this mean that it would not be advisable to own both of these animals together and let them both roam around freely?
In short, the answer is to he question “can cats live with rabbits?” is a big YES! These two animals can not only live together peacefully, but also become good companions for each other. However, this short answer won’t tell you everything you need to know to ensure that you two furry friends will live happily together.
There are a few things that you need to take into consideration if you are looking to either take in both animals at the same time, or introduce one of them to the other that is already established in the home.
So lets look at the different ways these animals can be introduced. The three scenarios will be:
Acquiring both of the animals at the same time.
Introducing a cat to a household that already has the rabbit established in it.
Introducing a rabbit to a household that already has the cat established in it.
Acquiring both of the animals at the same time
If you do not currently own either a cat or a rabbit, then it would be a good idea to think about getting both of them at the same time. The easiest way to have a cat and rabbit living together happily, is to introduce both of them together when they are very young.
If both your cat and rabbit can build a bond with each other from a young age, then they will think of each other as companions that they’ve known all of their life. This way you can eliminate some problems with having one of the animals adapting to the other.
It is still recommended that you monitor the interaction between both of the animals when introducing them so that you can separate them if needed at any time. Both of the animals will be of a small size and won’t have developed their hunting skills, this means that dangerous situations between them both are unlikely to happen.
If you are planning to own both a cat and rabbit but are getting ones that are fully grown, then you should aim to get animals that are of very similar size. A cat is more likely to see a rabbit as easy prey if the rabbit is much smaller than the cat in size. Also a rabbit can try to dominate the territory if the cat is smaller.
Research tells us that if a rabbit does chase your cat around, that you can allow this to happen as the rabbit really wants to just establish some dominance and feel like its presence has been asserted, provided this interaction doesn’t get out of hand. When the rabbit feels that it has succeeded, then the two animals can start to become compatible for living together.
Introducing a cat to a household that already has the rabbit established in it
This order of interaction maybe be less stressful for the rabbit than the final one we will talk about. When you introduce your cat to your new household, the cat will naturally be curious. You will want to have your rabbit placed in a secure cage that the cat can examine.
Ideally the cage will need to be fairly large so that the rabbit isn’t forced to be too close to the cat. Ensure that your cat isn’t able to reach inside with his claws. The natural instinct for a cat may cause it to try to get at the rabbit due to it being the cat’s natural prey.
Try not to leave the cat and rabbit in the same room for too long at first as you do not want to stress out the animals (mainly the rabbit). You could start off with around 10 minutes at first, and then gradually increase the time together as they get more familiar with each other.
You may need to monitor this type of interaction for a couple of weeks, or longer. It depends on the personality of the animals, especially the cat. Once you feel that both of them feel like they are calm and not as curious of each other any more, you can finally allow them direct contact with one another.
You can prepare yourself for this interaction with a water spray. If the cat does decide to get too aggressive with the rabbit, you can then spray water at the cat each time this happens. This should eventually stop this situation happening. Cats can live with rabbits, but some cats will take to the rabbit in a calmer manner than others at first.
A common scenario though, is that the rabbit can get fairly aggressive, or chase the cat around. Especially if the rabbit is larger than the cat. Naturally a rabbit lives in an environment that hierarchy dominated, so their basic instincts will tell them to establish dominance over the cat, even if the cat is potentially the more lethal of the two animals.
Do not leave the two animals together alone until they are completely comfortable with each other and you are confident that they don’t attack each other.
Introducing a rabbit to a household that already has the cat established in it
As I’ve implied earlier, the rabbit will be the animal that is most prone to being stressed out with any change in their environment, or with any new potential threat being introduced. For this reason, you will want to take a particular order to the steps to introducing you new rabbit to a home already occupied by a cat.
Firstly ensure that your rabbit is taken into a single room that it can get used to. This room will need to be free of any risk of your cat making an appearance. The last thing your new bunny wants to experience is a whole new environment, and a new potential survival risk at the same time.
Let your new rabbit get used to the room they are in for a while, firstly from inside their cage. Eventually you can let your rabbit roam, get used to the new smells and take a look around.
Once you feel your rabbit is feeling comfortable in your home, you can introduce your cat. Again ensure your rabbit is inside the cage for this encounter. If possible, keep the cage situated away from the cat and over time allow the cat to get closer. If the cat is allowed to go straight up to the cage immediately, then they may act aggressive.
Start with letting both of the animals together in the same room for a short period of time, then gradually increase that time. This will be the least stressful way for your rabbit to encounter your cat at first.
The idea of this order of actions, is to at first let your rabbit feel like the new surroundings have become its territory. A place they are comfortable with. This way the bunny will not be as stressed out with meeting the cat in the future.
As time goes on, you can then start introducing your new bunny to the other rooms of the house. If everything is done in stages, whilst taking your time, then you shouldn’t have too much trouble with the whole process. Cats can live happily with rabbits if you ensure to take the right steps in the correct order.