Pet owners sometimes have several types of pets and it’s important for them to all get along. After all, they all belong to the same human family. Yet, some animals don’t get along with others. Some need to be the only ones.
Do cats and rabbits get along? Cats and rabbits can get along in certain conditions. Both are social creatures and can be good companions if their personalities fit and the cat is introduced to the rabbit early.
Read on below to find out whether you should try to have both and how to ensure both are happy with each other.
Cats and rabbits are similar in a few ways and that can be part of the reason they can be trained to be friends. Both like family groups, as they are both can be social, even though cats by nature are solitary animals. Both are born in larger litters so that grouping instinct is there.
Both can be assertive. Both can be trained to use the litter box, routine eating times, and how to behave in the house.
The last trait may surprise people as most don’t consider rabbits as assertive. However, some rabbits, depending on the breed, can be confrontational and may be aggressive toward a small kitten.
Some pet owners are surprised at the role reversal. They are shocked to see their rabbit chasing their cat around the house and being bossy. Animal experts tend to think the switch is because rabbits are group animals and cats aren’t. Group animals like dogs and rabbits care about social hierarchy and who is the “alpha.”
The rabbit wants to get the social hierarchy situation settled while the cat just doesn’t want any trouble.
Cats eat meat while rabbits eat vegetables. That makes a rabbit a natural prey to a cat in the wild.
The instinct of a cat, any cat, is predatory. However, domesticated cats can be trained to restrain their instincts when around a rabbit they understand is part of their pride.
Some cat breeds have a more predatory instinct than others, although many breeds will kill things like mice and birds. The Savannah, the Bengal, and the Lykoi cats are some of the breeds that have a massive hunting instinct and wouldn’t make safe companions for your rabbit.
Read: Are Bengal Cats Active?
Cats Tell the Difference
It’s interesting that some cats can live with a rabbit just fine but will chase an outside wild rabbit with zeal. He is set in motion by the environment. His rabbit friend lives inside. The wild rabbit lives outside.
In this situation, the cat may even pursue his rabbit buddy if they were both outdoors. This means the pet owner needs to create an environment where the cat doesn’t feel predatory and also understand that a rabbit left outside can become prey to another cat or even their own.
The Right Temperament
Besides picking the right breed of both cat and rabbit so they can be great companions, you also have to pay attention to individual animals when you select them. Just because the cat is a domesticated breed not prone to hunting doesn’t mean he has the right personality for a rabbit friend. The same can be said for the rabbit.
Each animal can have its unique personality so you will need to observe each to make sure they are right for each other.
It’s also important to make sure both animals will grow to be about the same size so neither is dominant. Some rabbits can be quite large and some, including the Checkered Giant and the Flemish Giant, can outweigh a typical housecat.
Read: Are Bengal Cats Social?
It is best to make introductions is when both animals are young. The younger, the better even if both are babies. The older a cat is at introduction, the harder it’s going to be to accept your rabbit as a family member. Some rabbits are that way too.
Making the Introduction
The kitten and rabbit should be introduced to the home separately. Each needs a hiding place in case they feel threatened. Kittens like boxes so you can line one with blankets or towels. Rabbits tend to have small spots also and you should make their cage feel cozy.
This phase can take days or weeks, as long as it takes for the “new” animal, whichever one it is to feel at home.
Rabbits are more territorial so any introduction needs to be in a common area. The first meeting needs to happen with your pets both in cages where they can see, visit and sniff the area around each other. This should be done daily for at least a week with supervision.
You can then introduce them without their cages but make sure the cages are nearby and open so each can retreat if they feel scared. These visits must always be highly supervised. The first one shouldn’t be very long, just a few minutes. You can add to the time as they get to know each other.
This phase will take several months for them to feel like buddies. Be sure to keep nails clipped so there aren’t any scratches. Also, be sure to pay attention to both separately so there isn’t jealousy.
Can a rabbit fight off a cat?
Rabbits don’t normally fight but can do well when cornered. They will fight a cat using their teeth, claws, and hind legs. Rabbits don’t seek to kill but simply to defend.
Why is my cat afraid of my rabbit?
Some rabbits are aggressive because of hormones that tell them to defend their territory. A cat that isn’t interested in hunting runs away to avoid being injured.
Do cats eat rabbits?
Cats will attack many things. Sometimes it will eat them and other times not. Rabbits are usually prey for a cat but some cats can be trained to not kill rabbits.
Can a cat smell a rabbit?
Cats have a superior smell to humans and can sniff out all kinds of animals including rabbits.
How do cats bond with rabbits?
Typically, they can be taught to bond with supervised interaction beginning at a extremely young age.