Posted: March 10, 2008, 5:10 p.m. EST
Via Alisha Vargas/Flickr
Even if a cat and rabbit seem to get along, they should always be supervised when together.
Many of us who share our homes with rabbits also share it with other pets. Or perhaps you are considering welcoming a furred, feathered or scaled addition. But how feasible is it to mix a prey animal such as a rabbit with a predatory animal such as a cat or dog? Will the fur fly? Which pets mix best with rabbits? Here are some tips to help you keep the peace between all creatures great and small.
Supervision Is Key
Always supervise your rabbit when it is in close proximity to cats and dogs, even if that cat or dog is "used to” your rabbit. A rabbit’s quick movements could potentially incite an otherwise "lackadaisical” feline or a "laze-about” pooch.
Keep in mind, too, that the mere presence of a cat or dog might cause undue stress to your rabbit. Is your bunny cowering in a corner, with its ears laid back? This is not a sign of a happy, relaxed rabbit. On the other hand, is your rabbit hopping over to your sleeping cat to give it a sniff and a nose nudge? This rabbit wants your cat’s attention and perhaps some snuggle time. Even if this is the case, keep a watchful eye on the two — it only takes a second for a cat or dog to turn things into rough play that might injure your rabbit.
Bunnies And Birds
"What about birds? Birds and bunnies get along just fine, don’t they?” you might ask. Although rabbits and birds share the kinship of being prey animals, there are some precautions to heed here as well.
A large, vocal parrot, such as a macaw, Amazon or cockatoo, may wreak havoc on your rabbit’s sensitive ears. Your rabbit will thank you for locating its enclosure out of direct "screeching” distance. A parrot’s beak is also strong enough to pass for a vise grip, which could mean serious injury to your rabbit if allowed contact with your bird.
Bunnies And Ferrets
Although they may seem like a good fit sizewise, ferrets and rabbits can be a dangerous combination. Ferrets are carnivores and have a hunting instinct. In fact, ferrets, historically, have been used to hunt rabbits in the wild. If you keep both a ferret and rabbit in the home, they must live in separate spaces and always be kept apart.
Bunnies And Fish
What could possibly go wrong with fish? Well, unless your rabbit somehow falls in the tank, fish and rabbits can coexist in the same home, with some precautions. If your fish tank has a pump or motor that plugs into an electrical outlet, keep the extension cord out of a rabbit’s reach. Rabbits have a penchant for finding and chewing electrical cords.
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Rabbits Are Like Hoovers
If your house is home to other pets, you also need to be aware of the fact that when your rabbit is given free roam, it might just make a beeline for the cat’s or dog’s bowl. Rabbits have very specific dietary requirements because of their delicate gastrointestinal systems — other pets' foods should always be a no-no. Remove other pet food bowls from your rabbit’s reach.
Those who have both rabbits and birds will tell you that rabbits have a penchant for checking the floor beneath the cage for any bird food fallout from the cage above. While this may help you keep the floor clean, it may cause gastric upset in your rabbit. If your rabbit has frequent access to your bird’s area, be diligent about sweeping the area clean, or wait until your bird has finished eating before allowing your rabbit near the cage or bird play gym.
A peaceable kingdom in your home is possible, but it takes diligence and keen supervision on your part. Remember, a safe bunny is a happy bunny.