Rabbits

Rabbits make wonderful companions for the right human. Because so many common assumptions about rabbits are incorrect, people sometimes are disappointed when they find themselves living with a delightful and adorable but also strong-willed, non-passive individual. 

Rabbits, as social animals enjoy the company of other living beings. In addition to his human friends, your rabbit can get along with other rabbits, cats, guinea pigs and well-trained dogs.

Introduction to another rabbit should take place on neutral territory. If both rabbits are altered, their chances of forming a long-lasting bond is strong. Two males will rarely become friends, but two females or a neutered male and a spayed female can double the pleasure of sharing life with a rabbit. The get-acquainted period can last anywhere from a few minutes (love at first sight) to a few weeks. It usually includes a fair amount of chasing, nipping, time-outs, then more chasing, etc. Eventually they will work out who is boss, and the friendship can begin.

Cats and rabbits generally work out their relationship with little help from humans, especially if the rabbit is confident and does not run from the cat. In fact, many rabbits will boss their feline housemates, chasing them and nudging them from favored spots. If the rabbit does run, then introductions should take place with the rabbit in his cage. Most rabbits feel more at ease in their cage, which is their familiar safe haven. Alternatively, hold the cat on your lap, and allow the rabbit to investigate at his own pace.

Similar guidelines apply to dog-rabbit introductions. If the dog knows some obedience words, she can be put in a down-stay so the rabbit can get to know her at his won level. Use a leash to control the dog if she is not trained.

Contrary to Easter time hype, rabbits are rarely a good choice of companion for a small child. The natural exuberance, rambunctiousness, and decibel-level of even the gentlest toddler is stressful for rabbits. Children want a companion they can hold and cuddle; rabbits need someone who understands that they are ground-loving creatures. An easygoing, low-maintenance bunny from your friendly neighborhood toy store makes a great pal for a young child.

Last Updated: Apr 20, 2012