Animals

Should Rabbits be Kept in Cages? 12 Things to Know

A lot of the time, pet retailers give bad advice on caring for pets, such keeping bunnies in tiny cages! If you’re thinking about adopting a rabbit, you may be wondering if cages are necessary. Can they roam around the house unrestricted?

It is never appropriate to keep rabbits in hutches or cages. Although they fare best when allowed to freely wander at least one room in the house, they can be housed in sizable dog exercise enclosures if necessary. Prior to allowing it to roam freely, litter train your rabbit and bunny-proof your area.

This article explains the benefits of letting your bunnies walk freely and covers 12 common questions regarding keeping them in cages.

1: Rabbits Aren’t Cage Animals

No more do dogs or cats belong in cages than do rabbits. You should ideally let them explore as much of your house as they like.

A dog exercise pen, which usually offers around 16 square feet of area, is the basic minimum for rabbits. Pet retailers do not sell appropriate cages or hutches.

Give your bunnies as much time as possible to walk freely throughout your house, even if they spend most of their time in a pen. If your space isn’t rabbit-proofed, it’s OK for some people to put their bunnies in their pens at night or when they can’t watch over them.

On the other hand, as long as you give them a safe area, rabbits can roam around freely and safely all day long.

2: They Don’t Need Access to the Whole House

More space is preferable, but your rabbits don’t require full home access to roam freely. It’s safer for the bunnies to have boundaries in many homes.

You can decide to confine them to a single room that has been thoroughly checked for rabbits or to seal off dangerous places like the home office, which has exposed wiring.

You can try several things to determine what works best for you and your family; it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

3: Rabbits Can be Litter Trained

The mess that roaming rabbits would cause is one of the main worries. Rabbits are incredibly dirty creatures, but they can also be trained to not litter! When buns are neutered and spayed, this works best.

You should keep them in a limited area, like a dog exercise pen, while they are learning. After that, you can gradually give them more access.

Never use clumping or clay litters; instead, use paper bedding or any other rabbit-safe substitute. A mound of hay will entice rabbits to relieve themselves in the box because they poop where they feed.

If your rabbits are spayed or neutered and receive the right training, most of them can have a high success rate even though they may never use the litterbox flawlessly. Be patient when styling your bun.

4: Free Roam Rabbits Bond More Easily with Humans

The bond you may form with your rabbits when they are allowed to roam freely is one of the finest aspects about it! When your bunnies are running around the living room freely, it’s much easier to spend time with them than it is when they are in a cage.

Bunnies also become tamed more quickly in your living area because they get used to your family’s presence.

In contrast to being confined and only able to communicate with you when you approach them, they can also come to you whenever they choose.

5: Bunnies Need Space to Exercise

If you’ve only ever kept rabbits in cages, you’ll be shocked at how much they enjoy having the freedom to run and hop! For their health, they must engage in this workout immediately.

Rabbits kept in pet stores are unable to leap or bunky, which is their happy way of flinging themselves into the air. There isn’t enough room for them to go about and extend their legs.

Keeping your rabbits in a little cage or hutch, even with plenty of freedom to walk around, is harmful and can cause sadness.

6: Free Roaming Leads to Happier and Healthier Rabbits

forming bonds with their favorite people, moving around at will, etc.A free-range rabbit—what’s not to love?

They are typically happier and healthier than caged bunnies for the reasons mentioned above. When you spend a lot of time with your bunnies, it’s also simpler to recognize behavioral changes in them; in contrast, you can overlook these symptoms of disease in a caged rabbit.

Early detection of disease can mean the difference between life and death for rabbits, as their health can rapidly deteriorate when they are ill.

7: You Can Set Up a Home Base

Free-roaming rabbits don’t have to be outside all the time, just as they don’t need to have access to the entire house. A lot of people give their bunnies a base of operations, usually an exercise pen, and keep them inside when necessary.

This should always remain a huge home base—never a hutch or little cage from the pet store. It should contain everything your bunnies require, including food, water bowls, hides, hay, and enrichment materials.

It’s good to have an area dedicated to your bunnies where you can store most of their belongings, even if you never close it. They’ll be grateful for it!

8: Bunny-Proofing is Essential Of course, safety is a legitimate worry when it comes to free-roaming rabbits. Yes, you do need to properly rabbit-proof your area.

Here are a few things to think about:

To prevent your buns from chewing on wires, hide cords out of reach or cover them with cord covers.

Baseboards can be chewed on by rabbits; you may need to cover them to keep this from happening.

Keep your floors tidy and free of breakable or valuable objects.

To prevent your bunnies from going someplace hazardous or difficult to clean, block off places underneath furniture. A lot of rabbits like to urinate in secret, dark places.

Use pet or baby gates to keep dangerous rooms off-limits.

C&C grids are extremely handy when it comes to preventing your rabbit from chewing on baseboards, furniture legs, and other objects (or places they shouldn’t go).

9: Bunnies Should be Protected from Cats and Dogs

Other pets in the home take up space that many free-roaming bunnies cannot occupy. Having your bunnies mingle with your dogs or cats is not safe, especially if you don’t have supervision.

Rabbits are naturally chased, caught, and killed by predator animals. Training will not always be able to eliminate this underlying inclination. Even if some cats and dogs don’t disturb rabbits and have modest prey drives, it’s still risky to keep them together because things could change at any time.

A rabbit may also experience stress by being in the presence of even well-behaved predator species.

It’s advisable to keep your dogs and cats out of the room where your bunnies are kept.

10: Many Rabbits Avoid Hard Flooring

Hard flooring causes many rabbits to slip and makes them dislike stepping on it. You can use this to your advantage to keep them out of undesirable regions, but just in case your bunny grows adventurous, I wouldn’t rely solely on it if the area is harmful!

Place rugs or matting down hard floors to enable your rabbit to explore while preventing paw slippage.

11: Rabbits Should be Housed Indoors

Although the advantages of letting your rabbits walk freely inside have been discussed in this article, keeping your bunnies outside is not advised. In particular, never attempt to let your rabbit run free outside!

Buns outside can be quite challenging to keep safe. You have to take into consideration the temperature, the weather (they cannot get wet), subterranean predators, sly animals like raccoons who can figure out how to open simple latches to get into a hutch, and birds of prey that fly overhead.

The majority of people are unable to afford to provide a suitable enclosure when you consider that rabbits require a lot of space and that keeping them in a hutch—even only at night—is not acceptable.

If you take into consideration all of these issues, keeping them outside may still be dangerous. Due to their sensitivity, rabbits have been known to pass away from shock and heart attacks. Even without making contact, predators can stress out a rabbit in this way simply by being nearby.

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12: Bunnies do Best in Pairs

Finally, it’s critical to remember that rabbits are gregarious animals. Even if you spend the entire day at home with your rabbit, they will never get enough human interaction. The majority of us leave the house to go to social events, work or school, or run errands.

More than one rabbit can stay together all the time. Additionally, they are able to converse with one another without the “language barrier” that separates humans and buns.

It’s better to adopt a bonded pair of rabbits or ask a rescue about bonding your own rabbit, as rabbits do require good connected relationships. Some allow you to foster a rabbit to make sure it’s a suitable fit for your present fur baby, while others let your bunny come in for playdates where they meet other bunnies until they bond well with one.

They can also offer you advice, troubleshooting, and ways to strengthen your bonds with each other in case something goes wrong.