Cat's Behaviour Towards Rabbit?

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by GalaxyRose, May 11, 2017.

  1. GalaxyRose

    GalaxyRose TCS Member Kitten

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    May 11, 2017
    Okay, so, I've had my male cat since he was around 7-8 weeks old and it's almost been two years. He's quite quiet normally, so the behaviour he had been displaying is odd. The other day, I went out and ended up coming home with a rabbit who is 13-14 weeks old. My cat was quite curious about the rabbit and kept sniffing the cardboard box (which had the rabbit and some hay in while I was setting up his cage). After the cage was set up, my cat came in and sniffed the rabbit, before meowing. He didn't seem to have any violent intentions, so I brought the rabbit out for a closer look. I let the rabbit explore a little and my cat wasn't too far behind. The cat ended up letting out loud meows every time my rabbit moved away from him, and he also started to groom the rabbit when they were sitting together. When the rabbit was on my bed and the cat was on the floor, he had to reach his body up and seemed to always have the rabbit in sight, and would stare at me when I was going to pet the rabbit. Now, my cat keeps meowing at the door constantly, trying to get in. I shut him out because I have my rabbit's cage open in my room, and the cat can't stay in here forever, as he needs to eat and drink and use his litterbox too, which is all downstairs.

    But even though I don't know what he's doing, there's another part to the behaviour that really concerns me. If he's sitting with the rabbit and grooming him, but then the rabbit tries to wander away, the cat will let out a really loud meow and then go to bite the back of my rabbit's neck.

    This doesn't seem normal. Does anybody know what my cat is doing??
     
  2. stefanz

    stefanz Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    The neck biting is part dominance, part teaching behavior. A momma cat may do so to a disobiedient kitten! "dont go away as yet, Im not through with the full washing programme"

    Good you are watching, but apparently its going swell and good. They will soon be great friends. Be sure you talk friendly and sweet when they are together, and the cat is friendly with the rabbit.

    Dont forget to show the cat he is still your loved resident, but of course demonstrate the rabbit is an important part of the household, so there is no uncertainity. Its no midday you keep fresh, its his new friend we are talking about. :)
     
  3. basscat

    basscat TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    This won't end well.
     
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  4. maggiedemi

    maggiedemi TCS Member Top Cat

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    I thought cats killed and ate rabbits?! My outdoor cats when I was a child did! Sorry to be a downer, but they did!
     
  5. Willowy

    Willowy TCS Member Top Cat

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    Adult rabbits are tough and mean. My rabbit will kick the stuffings out of the cats if they try anything. Baby bunnies are pretty vulnerable though. I wouldn't leave them unattended together, at least until the bun is big enough to establish some things. I can't decide if the cat's behavior is because he thinks the bunny is lunch or he thinks the bunny is his kitten ;). But either way, don't take any chances.
     
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  6. maggiedemi

    maggiedemi TCS Member Top Cat

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    Yeah, by licking the bunny he's either saying "You sure are tasty!" or "You're my baby, let me clean you."
     
  7. Larkspur

    Larkspur TCS Member Kitten

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    We had a rabbit and cat for many years. They were the best of friends, but until dominance was established, they were supervised. Grooming is good. Our rabbit never groomed the cat (beta female, I was the alpha). Seriously consider castrating/neutering the rabbit, it helps with rabbit aggression not to mention health issues with female rabbits. What worked really well is private spaces for both of them, the best is separate rooms, so when communication breaks down they have space to retreat and chill out. The bedroom is a coveted area, we did the bonding in a neutral room. The bedroom was the cats and my office the rabbits. A small cage for a rabbit will increase aggression.
    There are many great sites for house rabbits, where it's a good idea to learn about rabbit communication and other behavior. House Rabbit Society BunSpace.com Forums

    DSC00536.JPG
    Don't judge... Jazzy was a special cat who loved dressing up and having her picture taken. Cayenne always played along. Here she's trying desperately to get the cat to lie on her (dominate behavior in rabbits).
     
  8. jcat

    jcat Mo(w)gli's can opener Staff Member Moderator

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    Rabbits and cats can form great friendships, but to be on the safe side, I'd make sure they were of approximately the same size or the rabbit was bigger. You also have to be careful that the bunny isn't aggressive with the cat, as @Larkspur pointed out. Believe it or not, most of the bites or bad scratches people get at our shelter are from rabbits, not cats or dogs.

    We had a bunny with a chronic contagious disease at the shelter that had to be kept isolated from other rabbits. She was huge, and we felt so sorry for her having to live alone that we eventually put her in a room with a very passive cat (the bunny was caged at night). It worked out so well that Kathy Bunny found a permanent home with two cats she adores, and vice-versa.
     
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  9. Norachan

    Norachan Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It would be great if they turn out to be friends, but please don't leave them alone unsupervised yet.

    My cats have killed and eaten rabbits in the past, so you need to be aware of this. Also, cats can pass fleas onto rabbits and vice versa. I'm not sure if feline flea treatment can be used on rabbits, maybe ask your vet about this.

    It would be great to see some pictures of the two of them together.
     
  10. Willowy

    Willowy TCS Member Top Cat

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    Advantage and Revolution can be used on pet rabbits. In the proper dosage for their weight of course. You do need to find a rabbit-savvy vet, not all vets know much about bunnies.

    And, yeah, spay/neuter is necessary if you want to keep them indoors (intact rabbits spray, plus females have a 90% chance of reproductive disease by age 5 if not spayed). They can only have inhalant anethetics, so that's why you have to find a vet who knows about that kind of stuff.
     
  11. daisyd

    daisyd TCS Member Super Cat

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    Gosh never knew cats and rabbits could be friends... I'd worry though...
     
  12. lavishsqualor

    lavishsqualor TCS Member Super Cat

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    Hare today . . . gone tomorrow

    Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

    My cats eat mostly rabbit due to allergies. I think I'd be concerned for your rabbit. Then again, I have absolutely no knowledge of bunny behavior.

    Good luck.
     
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  13. GalaxyRose

    GalaxyRose TCS Member Kitten

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    May 11, 2017
    Hey guys! Thank you for the advice. I've been supervising them when they interact, and my cat, Ben, hasn't done anything to hurt Loki, my rabbit. I've noticed that Ben seems content to mainly watch and supervise Loki himself. Although, Loki doesn't really care. He'll just move away and ignore Ben, which is pretty funny to watch. The only time Ben would do something that could possibly hurt Loki is when Loki moves away from being groomed and it's only a small nip, it doesn't seem like it actually hurts Loki. I'm quite happy with the way that they interact, as it's most likely that Ben is trying to teach Loki. Although, I will continue to supervise, just to make sure.

    Somebody did mention something about pictures of them together, so here you go![​IMG]
    One of Ben just watching Loki in his bed.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Two of some groom time!


    Again, thank you guys so much!
     
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  14. mazie

    mazie TCS Member Super Cat

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    This is very interesting to follow, indeed. Please keep us informed as to their progress. They look both so cute and amusing together.
     
  15. Larkspur

    Larkspur TCS Member Kitten

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    That seems promising :) They're super cute together! I'd love to see how it works out.
     
  16. daisyd

    daisyd TCS Member Super Cat

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    I actually started reading about house rabbits and they sound a bit like cats with their behaviour and care of them etc.. My assistant at work said she had one and used to walk it outside !
     
  17. orange&white

    orange&white TCS Member Top Cat

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    Ben looks hungry. :biggrin:

    Seriously though, they're both very cute!
     
  18. kittens mom

    kittens mom Kittens life was lost to a negligent veterinarian. Top Cat

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    Outside cats here take down jackrabbits bigger than them. The difference here is you cat is well fed, indoors and likely doesn't associate the rabbit as being a potential meal. I agree about having the rabbit S/N. Contrary to what people think bunnies can be quite vicious and will kick the poo out of your dog or cat if cornered. Rabbits are very playful and can indeed learn to walk on leads and use a litter box. I think with careful supervision your pets have the chance of developing a great friendship and enjoying each other's company.
     
  19. lavishsqualor

    lavishsqualor TCS Member Super Cat

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    Ben appears to be sizing up his next meal in that first picture and having a little amuse-bouche in the second and third.
     
  20. kittens mom

    kittens mom Kittens life was lost to a negligent veterinarian. Top Cat

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    It really depends on the individual cats prey drive. I have no doubt with my Toad it would look like a Cheetah on a baby antelope NG special complete with a cloud of dust and snarling to leave her alone with her dinner. Mercy would drag it off full of joy at having a new wudgie to mother. Goes without saying no unsupervised time allowed.
     

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