Did you get the idea of welcoming a rabbit into your home even though you already have a cat? Or the reverse? Wondering if this is a good idea and if a cat and a rabbit can live together under the same roof? To help you, we are investigating the matter in detail.
Can a cat eat a rabbit?
The expression “getting along as a dog and a cat” is used to say that two people get along very badly to the point of arguing all the time, which compromises any cohabitation. There is no expression that would portray a cat and a rabbit and for good reason: if in the case of the dog and the cat, the fight seems equal, it is not the same for the cat and the rabbit.
The threat seems obvious: a cat can eat a rabbit. The cat is a predator and a carnivore. He is also very playful. And just as he is capable, in nature, of having fun with a prey, why would he deprive himself of it with a rabbit, at the risk of seriously injuring it. The character of the cat does not seem to favor cohabitation with a rabbit. And yet … it is possible to qualify the approach of nuance. A domestic cat that is fed by its owner is not going to start eating a rabbit.
There remains the game aspect: will the cat necessarily play with the rabbit and hurt it? Can we prevent it?
The cat and its territory
If you already have a cat and want to welcome a rabbit, you shouldn’t lose sight of a cat’s strong relationship with its territory. It’s a safe bet that the rabbit will be seen as a intruder. However, you know your cat’s character better than anyone else, so you can be optimistic or pessimistic right away.
The arrival of the rabbit can be a source of stress that can disrupt your cat’s behavior. It is possible that he starts to do his business outside of his litter box, or even that he does not allow himself to be approached as usual. Leave aside the temptation to interpret this as jealousy. This would only be a bad transposition of our typically human ways of perceiving the world to those of the cat.
The best way to react is to maintain your cat’s surroundings and habits: continue to take care of him as when the rabbit was not there yet! Your cat will likely settle down eventually, and you can consider dating.
A kitten can be educated!
The configuration where the rabbit is the first occupant is undoubtedly the most favorable because a kitten is more malleable than an adult cat because he has everything to learn. The kitten learns a lot from its mother, but also from brothers and sisters, during the first weeks of life. However, this learning does not relate to respecting the rules defined by humans, and even less to living with a rabbit. It’s up to you to do the work.
Generally speaking, the education of a kitten is not very complicated. Obviously, you have to keep in mind that everything depends on your cat and his personality. But if the relationship between the kitten and the rabbit does not work out, at worst you will have two animals that ignore each other. It’s not so bad. This gives you the opportunity to enjoy your two animals.
To educate your kitten, you must react at once to his bad behavior. This means you have two seconds or less to speak. Caught in the act of something stupid, like scratching the rabbit, you say “no” firmly, picking it up and pulling it away from the rabbit. And when he adopts a good behavior, congratulations, caresses and treats must also be there.
The steps to make a cat and a rabbit live together
It’s impossible to say how long it takes for a rabbit and a cat to find their feet and live together. It all depends on the character of each of your animals. But here are some essential steps to foster a good relationship.
It is first essential to take care of the claws your cat to limit the risk of injury to the rabbit. This is to make them less aggressive by filing their ends.
It is then necessary to give each animal time to get used to the changes that are taking place in their life. On the rabbit side, he will first be able to observe the cat sheltered in his cage. On the cat side, his curiosity will win out. He will necessarily want to find out who this companion is on his scale. Let him approach the cage. The rabbit and the cat will discover their reciprocal smell and behavior. Observe them without intervening, unless your cat is developing an already aggressive behavior through the bars of the cage. And don’t forget: you have to take your cat on the spot to make him understand that this is not the right behavior!
If your rabbit is the new host, let him explore his cage-free environment safely, without the cat present. If he needs to escape, he will have to find his way back to the cage as quickly as possible.
Finally, last step and not the least: that of the meeting. The rabbit can go out in the presence of the cat. Of course, stay nearby to intervene if the encounter goes sour. But, again, stay back. Let them discover themselves freely.
If your cat is showing too much aggression, it’s probably because you wanted to go too fast. We’re going to have to go back and things may take even longer as the rabbit will now have an experience that makes it wary of the cat. If, on the contrary, everything goes well, repeat the meeting regularly, always in your presence and under your supervision, until the habit is taken and you can leave them free to cross paths when they wish.
Can the rabbit defend itself against a cat?
The rabbit is known to have a fearful character because its best means of defense is flight and refuge in the burrow. Depending on the size and weight / muscle ratio of the rabbit, this animal can run up to 40 km / h. The cat can reach 48 km / h. It is therefore obvious who wins the race.
Imagine your rabbit roaming free in your home, chased by your cat. If he manages to take refuge in his cage, the cat will probably not give up right away and will try to grab him through the bars of the cage. Your rabbit will then need time to recover from his emotions …
However, be aware that a cornered rabbit can be capable of a crazy energy to defend itself. He can quite intimidate a cat and repel it, especially if the cat is not motivated by hunger.