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I Finally Adopted The Rabbit I’ve Been Eyeing At The Shelter.

Tommy End

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His name is Oliver. He’s a really sweet bunny, but I’m just curious as to how to introduce him to his new cat friends. Right now the only kitty here is tiny and perfectly harmless, but the big ones come home several weeks from now. I’ll never leave them unsupervised of course, but I’m just wondering the best way to go about it?


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Kieka

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First..... Oliver is such a cutie. :loveeyes:

It depends on the rabbit and the cats honestly. I’ve had rabbits who have no problem bossing around the cats and laying down the law. Strong personalities and not afraid. I’ve had ones who are indifferent and just ignore the cats. Usually more relaxed personalities. I’ve had ones downright terrified of the cats, although they usually relax after a few weeks. Those ones usually have a fear reaction that triggers the cats if you aren’t careful.

Currently, we have Peter Rabbit and he lives in a fenced in area in our yard. When he is free range around the cats, the boys follow him quietly while my girl is more serious in her attempts to .... ummm .... catch him. But she’s a former feral and very dedicated to hunting. Even though Peter is 4.5 pounds to her 7 pounds and about the same size as her, silly girl. When he’s in his fenced in area the cats will sometimes follow him around the edge and Link likes to pat him on the head through the fence. Link also is very dedicated to checking up on Peter and will refuse to come inside at night if I haven’t put in Peter yet. You can see Peter and learn more about him here, Found Rabbit

...... Way off topic .......

Okay back to topic. It’s always easier to introduce kittens to adult rabbits. The rabbits establish “I am not food” fairly quickly on their own and the kittens retain the lesson. Adult cats are trickier. I wouldn’t leave Oliver alone unsupervised with the cats; pretty much ever but at least until you have been supervising for several months and know your cats won’t try anything. I know you said you wouldn’t but it bears repeating or reinforcing or stressing. We manage because our fence is just tall enough and narrow enough that the cats can’t jump over it (or on top of) easily enough to get inside. So Peter has a nice little barrier between him and playful kitties. He can go away and out of reach as desired.

As to how to introduce, you can do pretty much as you would with another cat. Closed door smelling, exchanging blankets, open door but with a screen or cage between them. Basically anything that lets your cats smell, then see Oliver over a period of time so they adapt to him. Once you decided face to face I would leash Oliver first. That way you can control where he goes some so that he doesn’t bolt under something. Probably holding him while you are sitting and letting the cats smell him. Let him move around them in a limited space (you don’t want to trigger them by letting him really run). Keep yourself calm so the cats don’t pick up on tension. Pay attention to his heart rate and end the interaction if he is too stressed.

Also, if Oliver isn’t neutered that can help with interspecieces interactions. Hormones getting in the way could cause some problems. I am assuming Oliver is a boy and properly sexed; if he is actually a she then getting spayed is vital. Cancer in female rabbits is rampant and spaying prevents most of them.
 
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Tommy End

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First..... Oliver is such a cutie. :loveeyes:

It depends on the rabbit and the cats honestly. I’ve had rabbits who have no problem bossing around the cats and laying down the law. Strong personalities and not afraid. I’ve had ones who are indifferent and just ignore the cats. Usually more relaxed personalities. I’ve had ones downright terrified of the cats, although they usually relax after a few weeks. Those ones usually have a fear reaction that triggers the cats if you aren’t careful.

Currently, we have Peter Rabbit and he lives in a fenced in area in our yard. When he is free range around the cats, the boys follow him quietly while my girl is more serious in her attempts to .... ummm .... catch him. But she’s a former feral and very dedicated to hunting. Even though Peter is 4.5 pounds to her 7 pounds and about the same size as her, silly girl. When he’s in his fenced in area the cats will sometimes follow him around the edge and Link likes to pat him on the head through the fence. Link also is very dedicated to checking up on Peter and will refuse to come inside at night if I haven’t put in Peter yet. You can see Peter and learn more about him here, Found Rabbit

...... Way off topic .......

Okay back to topic. It’s always easier to introduce kittens to adult rabbits. The rabbits establish “I am not food” fairly quickly on their own and the kittens retain the lesson. Adult cats are trickier. I wouldn’t leave Oliver alone unsupervised with the cats; pretty much ever but at least until you have been supervising for several months and know your cats won’t try anything. I know you said you wouldn’t but it bears repeating or reinforcing or stressing. We manage because our fence is just tall enough and narrow enough that the cats can’t jump over it (or on top of) easily enough to get inside. So Peter has a nice little barrier between him and playful kitties. He can go away and out of reach as desired.

As to how to introduce, you can do pretty much as you would with another cat. Closed door smelling, exchanging blankets, open door but with a screen or cage between them. Basically anything that lets your cats smell, then see Oliver over a period of time so they adapt to him. Once you decided face to face I would leash Oliver first. That way you can control where he goes some so that he doesn’t bolt under something. Probably holding him while you are sitting and letting the cats smell him. Let him move around them in a limited space (you don’t want to trigger them by letting him really run). Keep yourself calm so the cats don’t pick up on tension. Pay attention to his heart rate and end the interaction if he is too stressed.

Also, if Oliver isn’t neutered that can help with interspecieces interactions. Hormones getting in the way could cause some problems. I am assuming Oliver is a boy and properly sexed; if he is actually a she then getting spayed is vital. Cancer in female rabbits is rampant and spaying prevents most of them.
Thank you. I’ve had rabbits on and off my whole life, but I just haven’t had any since I’ve gotten cats. I had two I had to leave behind when I moved to the US, but they were well taken care of until they passed away of old age.

I did end up reading Peter Rabbit’s story and you were exactly right, he didn’t end up going anywhere. He’s a very pretty boy. I don’t see how anyone could just toss him away like that.

Thank you for the advice on how to introduce them. It sounds so simple, but I’m sure there will be a few bumps along the way. There always is when you’re trying to get animals to get along with another animal that they’re not used to coming into contact with. I’m just glad that I have cats and not dogs.

Oliver is indeed a boy and he’s been neutered. The shelter I got him from will neuter and spay any animal that comes in.
 

Kieka

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He’s a very pretty boy. I don’t see how anyone could just toss him away like that.
I don't either. Peter isn't just cute, he also has an amazing personality who really knows what he wants in life. He is a neat freak; he has never once pottied in his hutch and only potties in one corner of his enclosure. He also is very self controlled and will save his fresh veggies from the night to last all day. And we found out he chews his thumb nails so we really only need to trim the lower four nnails.Whoever let Peter go really let go of a good bunny.

Oliver looks adorable and I am sure is a sweetie too. Hopefully his former owners surrendered him instead of just letting him go. Now that he's found his forever home though his life should be smooth sailing. Cats generally accept rabbits, at least in my experiences, just have to be careful about them playing too rough.
 

abyeb

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Oliver is super cute! Congratulations! :bunny:
 

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Aww, what a cutie! Is he a dwarf? I can't tell because the pictures are too close up :D. If he's over 2 or 3 pounds, he can probably handle the cats. Rabbits are not gentle creatures! They will kick the stuffings out of any animal that messes with them. Most cats will back off the first time. If you have a particularly timid rabbit, or a particularly predatory cat, there could be trouble, but most of the time they do quite well in establishing boundaries. So just watch them at first, see how things are going. But most of the time it works out just fine between cats and rabbits.
 
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