The relationship between a predator and prey is as old as time itself. Cats are predators when it comes to rabbits. Sometimes they kill rabbits to eat them, while sometimes, it is just for fun. They theoretically cannot co-exist together. However, modern training techniques can tame cats to rabbits. But before we go into that, let us talk about why cats hunt rabbits.
Cats are hunters and predators. They like going after their food. One of their prey is rabbits. Even though a rabbit can become a meal for them, cats are known to kill them just for fun as well. Sometimes they do it for showing off as well when you might have found dead rabbits on your porch.
This might scare you if you have a rabbit, and you or someone else inside your household might have bought a cat. You are right to be scared of your rabbit’s life. But do you know that your cat does not have to kill your rabbit as it does not need the meat? In reality, rabbit meat is even dangerous for cats as it can trigger a disease called Tularemia.
Now, how do you train your cat and rabbit to coexist together under the same roof? What steps do you need to take? We are going to tell you about our guide.
GUIDE FOR COEXISTENCE: RABBIT AND CAT:
We will try here to make your rabbit and your cat gets acquainted with each other. Do note that these two creatures have an instinct of hating each other. A cat will always chase and try to kill a bunny, and the bunny will always run off to save his life. What we have to do is keep our expectations in check. You might do all of this and think that they are friendly now but returning home to a headless bunny one day. So all of this can fail if your cat’s hunting instinct is strong enough. But do remember, when you are adding a cat or a rabbit to your family, you should be sure to keep them separate. For the rabbit’s sake and security, please keep it in a cage with all the amenities it needs, like hay for chewing and so on. The cage also must be big enough to live comfortably and even hop around a little bit inside. So, here are the steps you will have to take for your rabbit and cat to live together.
It would help if you always considered that the rabbit is the prey and not the cat. Hence it would help if you always kept its personality in mind. The cat might be a lot more laid back than your rabbit as it is the dominant force here. So do not always expect your rabbit to be very chill about it at first.
The first thing you will have to do before introducing your cat to your bunny is to relax and prepare your rabbit for this inquiry fully. You might not realize, but prey to see their predator fully activates the flight response in them, and they can get nervous. This is not the end as a rabbit living in stress and can also have life-threatening diseases. So, you will have to play it out so that they are not forced but choose to become a part of each other’s life.
Introducing an animal to another is done by taking in their scent. You know how dogs can find people by their scent. So what you have to do to get your rabbit and cat acquainted together is first introducing their scent to each other. This is called a scent handshake. You can do this by simply taking a clean piece of cloth and stroking both the animals one after another and doing this process as many times as you can. Doing this repeatedly will introduce both the animals to each other’s scent, and when the time comes to face each other, both will be a lot more comfortable when meeting for the first time.
Now here is where we do the first encounter. Bring both of your pets to face to face for the first time. If the scent handshake worked, then you will have a comfortable rabbit in front of the cat if it did not go back to step 2 for a few days until it is. Bringing both of them face to face does not mean leaving them without a barrier. Your cat could jump on your cat and finish it off there and then. Keep your rabbit in a cage. Let the cat see, and it observes. Let it even go near the cage. Just do not go out of the room. Let this exercise play out for at least an hour or so and separate them again. This face to face time will have acquainted both the animals with each other even more by “giving a face to the scent.”
The next step is to restrain your cat and let your rabbit out of its cage. The best time to do this is when your cat has had her meal and is feeling sleepy. Both of the pets should also be in a relaxed mood. Open your rabbit’s cage in the common area and let it hop around, and observe both of their behavior.
This step is the most important one. This is where your many weeks of hard work will finally come to fruition. This is where you take both of your pets into the common area without any restraints and just let them mingle with each other. Do not interrupt them. If all the above steps were done correctly, they will no longer see each other as a threat and just peacefully. They might even become friends.
However, you might have to separate both of them when you see any of them is suffering from something and is in stress.
You should always be ready for all this to fail as well as your cat could just as easily jump your rabbit the moment it sees it. The key to this is not rushing their coexistence and friendship.
It would help if you also supervised all their interaction. Never leave them alone until you are a hundred percent sure that the cat will not attack your rabbit.
HOW TO KEEP A RABBIT AND A CAT TOGETHER:
Now both of your pets have become friends. They are together, and they play with each other as well. What do you do now?
The first thing you need to do is fully cut your cat’s claws if they have not already. Your rabbit could accidentally get hurt by them and go back to the nervous wreck. It was the first day you bought him home. It would help if you also vaccinated both of them for rabies as this is an interspecies disease and can affect them.
The second thing you need to do is give them separate spaces for everything they do. Both the rabbit and cat are territorial, so you do not want one to think the other is invading their space. Keep both of them separate. Give them their bedding and toilet space. Also, there is no need to feed them together, as they have different food needs.
MY CAT ATE MY RABBIT? NOW, WHAT:
Your cat ate your rabbit. Well, the first thing you will need to do is keep your emotions in check; you cannot blame your cat for its instincts.
You might now have to worry about your cat now. Check to see how much of the rabbit is eaten. You will have to take your cat to your Vet to diagnose it for fever as rabbit meat can cause a disease called Tularemia.
Tularemia can have the following symptoms:
- The cat has unusually high temperatures ranging up to 106-degree Fahrenheit.
- The whites of your cat’s eyes will start to go yellow.
- The cat will have pain in its stomach.
- The lymph nodes in the head and neck will be swollen.
Tularemia is also a public health risk, and it can spread very easily. Hence your households and your well-being need to go to the vet as soon as possible and get the disease treated. You should also know that this disease also has a very high mortality rate and can most likely kill your cat even if it is under treatment.
Having pets around can be good for you as they are great companions. However, you can’t always keep prey and predators as pets together. There are many cases of people having kept rabbits and cats together, but there might be more who have failed. It would help if you did a lot of work to make them comfortable and make them even like each other. However, all of this can fail if not kept under observation and monitored well.