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Do cats and rabbits get along?

Ginger kitten sleeping on  top of rabbit advice

Cats and rabbits can get along

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So, you’re thinking of getting a cat but you’re worried about how your house rabbit will react? Cats and rabbits may not seem like the most likely companions, after all, cats are hunters and rabbits are prey animals, but with a little effort, you can ensure a happy alliance.

By Natasha James

Published on the 06/10/2020, 17:00

Cats and rabbits may not seem like the most obvious pals, after all cats are predators and rabbits are prey animals but if you’re hoping to bring a cat into your home then, good news, there is a way to ensure the two can get along.

Cats and rabbits can become firm friends – yes, really. In fact, a quick google image search will reveal plenty of adorable pics of this seemingly unlikely interspecies friendship! Rabbits are social animals and will likely happily befriend a cat providing, of course, that the cat has been adequately socialised to interact with the bunny.

Can a cat kill a rabbit?

The short answer is yes, a cat can kill a rabbit. Cats are natural hunters and when outdoors, a predatory cat may well stalk and hunt a rabbit. But, not all cats will have a strong hunting instinct and a wild or stray cat is far more likely to prey on a rabbit than a well-fed, neutered or spayed house cat.

Can cats and rabbits live together?

Rabbits are friendly little things who enjoy company and, once your cat realises that rabbits aren’t on the menu, the two can be a great match.

Allow the animals plenty of time to get used to one another. It’s a good idea to ensure the rabbit has a safe and secure environment that they can retreat to and that the cat is well fed and relaxed before any introductions.

How should I introduce my cat and my rabbit?

Take your time with the introduction process to ensure the best results. Consider the following:

  1. Introduce the animals to each other via scent first - Take a cloth and stroke the cat with it, then use the same cloth to stroke the rabbit. Carry out this process a number of times to allow the animals to acclimatise to each other’s scent before they meet.
  2. Keep the rabbit safe - For the first few meetings, it’s vital that your rabbit is safe and secure. Stress can be very harmful to rabbits so ensure your bunny knows that they’re safe by keeping them in a large and comfortable cage or rabbit run while the cat’s around.
  3.  Supervise, supervise, supervise - Allow the cat and rabbit to interact for short periods on a daily basis under your supervision. Keep bunny in her cage and allow them to see each other from the safety of their own space. If your rabbit spends the whole time hiding then go back to step one but if bunny seems curious and content and your cat seems calm then you can move on to the next stage.
  4. Let the rabbit out of their cage - Once the interactions are peaceful, swap the roles. Keep the cat on a leash or in a cat carrier and allow the bunny out of their cage. Closely monitor both animals for signs of stress or aggression.
  5. Let them meet - Once you’re confident that the animals are comfortable with one another, allow them to meet. Do it at a time when both animals are relaxed (such as after a feed) and closely monitor both. Never leave the animals unattended.

How to keep cats away from rabbits

Cats that haven’t been spayed or neutered are more likely to have strong hunting instincts so the process of acclimatising your animals may take a while. In the meantime, if your house cat seems intent on chasing your rabbit (despite a careful and well-managed introduction) then you may want to check that your rabbit has a safe and secure spot in which they can hide. If you like to give your rabbit time in the garden then consider investing in cat-proof fences and rabbit runs to ensure that bunny stays safe.

Can cats and rabbits become friends?

Not every cat will get along with every rabbit or guinea pig and vice versa. Consider the temperament of your existing pet, if you have an aggressive cat getting them used to a house rabbit could be tricky. Or, if you have a very timid rabbit, bringing a cat into the mix could be stressful for them. 

But, with the right introduction and the right temperament, there’s every chance that your house cat and rabbit will become great pals before long. Good luck!

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