Living with two pets where one or both of them are hostile towards each other can be very tough on the pet owner. This is even more true in case one of the pets is a predator, such as a dog or a cat, and the other one a potential prey, such as a rabbit or a mouse. However, when two pets get along from the start, it can often develop into one of the most heartwarming bonds of friendship. But for them to become good friends, you need to be patient and give them enough time to get to know each other. The potential prey, the rabbit in this case, must be kept in a safe and protected place when you try to initiate interaction. You can even put your cat on a leash if you think they might get excited. Once you think they are familiar and comfortable around each other, allow them to check out each other.
In this article, we will talk about how you can keep a cat and a rabbit together in your home.
Do Cats And Rabbits Get Along?
Cats have a reputation of being distant, unfriendly, territorial, and often non-responsive to human affection, and they are very skillful predators as well. According to studies, U.S. felines – domesticated and feral combined – attack and kill between 6.9 to 20.7 billion mammals and between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds every year. But that does not mean all cats are wild and ferocious natured. Cats are independent and sole-living creatures, and they like to express themselves on their terms. A house cat with a friendly personality, a low prey drive, and an affinity towards socializing can certainly be a good friend for a rabbit, provided their introduction and bonding is done with care and caution.
Once you get through the initial tension of unfamiliarity, you will find as a pet owner that cats and rabbits have quite a lot in common. They are both territorial, attention-seeking when they want to, love to sleep and cuddle a lot, benefit from human stimulus with toys and conversation, etc. You can surely find some common ground with a cat and a rabbit at home, if you take the right initiatives.
Before getting into how to introduce cats and rabbits, let’s see which breeds of cats are more likely to be pet-friendly.
Breeds Of Cats Which Are Friendly Towards Other Pets
Not all breeds of cats bond well with other pets. It is not in their DNA – they are just not made like that by nature. However, some other breeds can be surprisingly affectionate towards other pets, to the extent they can be protective and possessive of them.
Here are some cat breeds that Our Fit Pets state get along with other pets:
- Maine Coon
However, at the end of the day, it comes down to the personality and the prey-drive of individual cats that determines whether they will be friendly with your rabbit. It is safe to steer clear of cat breeds with high prey drive such as Bengal cats, Savannahs, and Bobcats.
For your convenience, here are some breeds of rabbits too, which are gentler, friendlier, and more inclined to be social –
- Holland Lop
- Mini Lop
- Dutch Lop
Introducing A Cat And A Rabbit
There can be different situations where a cat and a rabbit come together as pets. The cat can come later as a kitten or as an adult, and the same goes for the rabbit, or they can both come together when young. The last situation is possibly the best for you as a pet owner, since young animals are likely to bond more easily. The keyword for you here is patience. You will have to take time and introduce your pets slowly and gradually over days. Keep your rabbit in its hutch and let the cat examine. If the cat shows friendly interest, or even just indifference, it is great news. Do not get your hopes high by expecting they will be playful from Day 1.
You should also pick a room which is foreign to them both for the first interaction. That way, no one feels overconfident or intimidated by the other’s dominance. Environmental cue is often critical when it comes to pet interaction. If the cat tries to go at the hutch or the cage at any time, separate them immediately. Vets in the USA have testified over the years that a large number of emergency visits to their clinics by rabbit owners are because of an attack by another pet.
But if you follow some of the following tips and tricks, you would not have to worry about any of that.
How Can Cats And Rabbits Coexist?
There is no secret recipe to induce a harmonious coexistence between a cat and a rabbit. But you can follow some tips and tricks to make that happen –
- Never leave the pets unattended, especially when they are both free to roam the house or the lawn. Even if they are friendly, you never know when one of them has a change of mood.
- Spaying or neutering pets can often help in reducing aggressiveness. Unless you want litters or want to breed your pet, you can go that way.
- Initiate interaction in a controlled environment. Neither of the two animals should feel like the other animal is “the one in charge”. As the owner, you should be in charge. During initial days, keep the rabbit inside its cage or hutch – make sure the wiring is closely-knit enough so that your cat cannot put their claws inside.
- Allow individual time for both the pets so that they do not feel left out or neglected. Both cats and rabbits can be clingy and territorial, so they need that separate attention from you over and above the time they spend together.
- Use toys to stimulate the stalk, hunt, prey nature of your cat, so that they are not quite as aggressive when they meet the rabbit.
You also need to take into consideration the chances of them getting sick from each other. For example, if your rabbit has snuffles, it can infect your cat with Bordetella bronchiseptica. Ringworms are also a highly infectious condition among pets. To avoid this, whenever one of your pets falls sick, quarantine them and do not let the two animals interact till both are healthy.