One of the most challenging aspects of keeping rabbits as pets is safeguarding them against predators. Since cats and dogs are carnivores, they naturally want to hunt down any animal that appears to be an easy target.
If you want to keep a rabbit but are worried she wouldn’t be safe from cats, it’s a good idea to learn a few methods to keep cats away from rabbits.
From building a safe hutch for your rabbit to using scents that cats hate, there are many ways you can keep felines and other predators away from these innocent animals.
Keep reading on because we will discuss all these methods and much more!
Do Cats and Rabbits Get Along?
Yes, it’s certainly possible for the two animals to get along. If you already have a cat as a pet and you want to bring a rabbit too, you can try and introduce them to each other. Once they know they are going to share the same home, they will make friends with each other.
It is advisable to introduce the two pets slowly and monitor these interactions. A laid-back and calm rabbit will quickly learn to get along with your cat. However, the process can get prolonged and more difficult if she is nervous and fearful.
Although cats are instinctive hunters, domestic cats usually do not hunt and kill small animals to eat. If they go after birds, rats, and cockroaches, they just want to show their owner their natural capabilities.
She may become frustrated if you try to stop a cat from hunting. It’s therefore not recommended to try this tactic; instead, you can try to make your rabbit safer and more protected.
Punishing either of your pets when you are trying to help them make friends with each other is not recommended. If they need time to be comfortable, don’t rush their meetings. You can keep them in separate rooms too if the bunny seems too frightened and stressed out during this whole interaction.
Even if you successfully make your pets get along nicely, it is still essential to monitor their interactions. Rabbits are fragile and innocent; they are not capable of safeguarding themselves when a predator attacks.
So, let’s find out how to keep your pet cat and neighborhood cats away from your bunny.
How to Keep Cats Away From Rabbits?
The first step to take if you want to keep felines at bay is to ensure your yard is free from food scraps and other debris that a cat might be interested in. This way, you can stop neighborhood cats from visiting and exploring your yard frequently.
Secondly, you can make a physical barrier for the rabbits to enjoy complete privacy. People usually deploy a wooden frame surrounding a rabbit’s hutch or cage or get their rabbit an enclosed playpen where no intruders can enter.
Here are a few other methods you can try to keep cats away.
1. Use Cat Repellent Products
In addition to the citrus and coffee fragrance that cats hate, you can try placing a mixture of onion, garlic, and oil around your rabbit’s space to keep cats away.
Cat-repellent sprays are also available on the market. People use these sprays in areas where they don’t want their domestic cat to enter, like the kitchen, the garden, or the baby nursery. The same can be used outdoors around the rabbit’s hutch.
Organic cat repellent helps to keep cats out of the garden and is also safe for the environment. If you are looking for an indoor spray to keep your cat away from indoor plants, rugs, curtains, and your bunny, you can check out cat repellent spray. This spray is a mixture of scents cats hate and has a bitter taste.
These cat repellents are totally safe to be used around children and other pets. They are also inexpensive, and some of these products can even be made at home. It’s an easy and effective way to keep felines away from your bunnies.
2. Do Not Feed Wild or Stray Cats
Stray cats are known to go from one house to another in search of food and petting. Some people feed these cats and offer them milk or other things to eat. These cats are very likely to return day after day in hopes of getting more food.
If you plan on keeping a bunny, stop feeding these stray and wild cats in your yard. If they still don’t stay away, you can use thorny plants and cat repellent sprays to keep these cats away from your garden.
Cats also despise moist soil, so if you keep the flowerbeds watered, cats will not come near. Never leave your rabbit unattended and shoo the cat away whenever you spot one. Installing a motion-detecting sprinkler is also an excellent way to keep cats at bay.
3. Make Your Fence Cat-Proof
Is your fence cat-proof? No, I’m not referring to those sharp spikes that people usually install on their fences to keep cats away. Since those spikes could harm these helpless animals and even humans when they are not careful, they are not recommended.
There is a new way to make fences cat-proof simply and harmlessly. These are known as cat fence rollers, and they are readily available on the market. These fence kits include a spinning pedal system that can be easily installed on the fences to ensure cats cannot jump over them.
Since no wires or netting is used in the making of these fence kits, they are totally safe for kids and animals. These systems suit wooden, vinyl, chain-link, and metal fences.
Another way to make your fence cat-proof is to install plastic defender spikes. Since these spikes are made of plastic, they are not harmful to animals and birds. You can use nails or screws to fix the spikes on a variety of surfaces, including fences, sheds, gates, and railings.
4. Get Your Rabbit a Secure Hutch
If you plan on keeping a rabbit, you should first try to arrange a secure home for her. Cat-proof cages are pretty popular among rabbit owners. They are not only easy to install but also very lightweight and durable. And most of all, they keep cats and other animals away from your rabbits.
Another option is to get a secure wooden home with doors for your rabbit. If you can afford it, a high-quality rabbit hutch with movable wire netting can be a great house for your bunnies. It’s a multi-level wooden cage that comes with a leak-proof tray. The tray can be pulled out when you need to clean it.
If you already have a rabbit cage, you can try installing cat-repellent mats around it to keep the cats away. These mats are equipped with plastic spikes, but they are not harmful at all. They can also be used to safeguard plants and furniture. The mats are foldable and can be easily cut. All rabbits have a natural instinct to dig. But these tunnels are not secure, and any other small animal can easily find their opening and enter the rabbit’s hutch. To make sure your rabbit’s hutch has no unopened areas, you need to install a metal subfloor.
5. Grow Lemon Balm or Other Cat Repellent Plants
Did you know that a lemon balm tree in your yard can keep cats away? Well, it might be surprising to some people, but the scent of this tree is a natural deterrent for cats. This is one of the easiest ways to safeguard your rabbit from being attacked by one of those notorious neighborhood cats.
Some people use this method to keep cats from littering their plant beds and borders. Not only do the cats hate the scent of lemon balm, but they also find it a bit irritating. You can try planting it in small pots, too, so they can be moved wherever your rabbit goes.
Other plants that you can quickly grow in your garden to keep cats away include lavender and rosemary. Some prickly plants like hawthorn, blackthorn, and blackberry are also a great way to deter cats and dogs from entering an area.
Since plants take time to grow, this method cannot be employed immediately to protect your rabbit from feline attacks. If urgent, look for other more accessible and faster methods discussed in this post.
6. Cover Your Rabbit’s Cage with a Blanket
If you have both a cat and a rabbit at home and they haven’t yet been introduced properly, you should make your rabbit’s cage cat-proof. The easiest way is to cover the cage with a breathable blanket, so the cat doesn’t see the rabbit.
Make sure you leave one side open for ventilation. Secure the blanket in place with wires or some other means.
While this is an excellent way to make sure your rabbit is safe, it’s only a temporary solution. Moreover, both these animals have a strong sense of smell, and they will find each other sooner or later.
7. Train Your Cat to Stay Away
This might not be an easy method to ensure the safety of your bun. You may even need a professional pet trainer to make it happen, but there’s no harm in trying. Once your cat is trained, your life will become much easier. Additionally, there won’t be any need to use any other methods!
If you have tried introducing your cat to the bunny and they don’t seem to get along, you can use this method to ensure the feline doesn’t pose any danger.
Can You Have a Bunny and a Cat?
If you want to keep both a rabbit and a cat, try to get a rabbit breed similar in size to the cat. Rabbit breeds like the Checkered Giant and Giant Chinchilla are almost the same size as medium-sized house cats.
The French Lop is another rabbit species that is very large in size. These rabbits typically weigh around 10-15 lbs. It is also a pretty friendly breed and loves to interact with other animals. If you keep a French Lop with a cat, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Another rabbit known as the Flemish Giant is even bigger than an average domestic cat. The weight of these bunnies is 15 lbs on average, and some of these rabbits are even bigger. A Flemish Giant would try to play and even cuddle with dogs if given a chance.
If you have this breed of bunny, you might need to watch out for your cat’s safety instead!
In addition to the size and breed of your rabbit, it is also essential to consider her age and personality before introducing her to your cat. The best time to befriend these two animals is when they are just babies. It is possible to introduce an adult cat to a new bunny, but the chances of her accepting the rabbit as a new family member are not very high in this case.
Moreover, rabbits that feel safe and comfortable in their new home can easily make friends with other animals. The Belgian Hare is a rabbit breed that typically exhibits a nervous personality. These rabbits may not feel comfortable around any other animal, no matter how hard you try to make them get along.
Blanc de Hotot, however, is a breed that can quickly get along with other animals, mainly if they grow up with them. Similarly, the English Lop is a friendly and laid-back rabbit breed that can live peacefully with other pets at home.
How to Make Sure Your Rabbit Feels Safe
Despite all those safety methods discussed above, the most important thing is to ensure your rabbit has a hiding place where she can escape whenever she wants.
All rabbits need some privacy every now and then and especially when they are feeling stressed, fearful, or sick. If there is a cat around, the importance of having such a burrow is even more. A small den, a tunnel, or even a simple carton can do the trick.
Many owners try making rabbit tunnels at home using a few simple materials. You can watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYcODVml7VI to learn how to do it.
Rabbit tunnels are also meant to provide some playtime to these curious creatures. You can also find collapsible bunny tunnels on the market. These are pretty easy to set up and provide an excellent hiding place for your bunny whenever there is danger around.
A small house made of grass, which is also edible, can also be provided as a great private space for bunnies. Foldable grass bunny hut is an example of such a house.
Never leave your bunny unattended even after having all these securities in place. Even a well-fed cat will likely attack a rabbit when you’re not around just to have fun. And don’t forget that a rabbit is utterly defenseless in front of a cat.
A rabbit can, however, send out signals when she senses danger. For example, she might start thumping the ground. When you hear such a sound, rush to her defense and make her feel comfortable again. If there is no help available, she might try and have a good fight with the predator. However, bunnies don’t attack other animals to kill them.
Cats are predators, and if given an opportunity, they can (and will) attack and even kill a rabbit. It is also possible that your cat may bite your bunny and make her sick. Tiny and dwarf rabbits are particularly in danger whenever there is a cat around – domestic or wild.
However, it’s also possible to keep a cat and a rabbit together in the same house and help them become good friends. It’s not advisable to rush the introductions, though. Slowly and gradually, the two pets can get to know each other and feel comfortable in each other’s presence.
We have looked at rabbit breeds to consider if you want to have both a cat and a bunny. However, if your domestic cat shows predatory behavior, it may not be a good idea to introduce her to your bunny.
Even if you manage to make both your pets get along nicely, that doesn’t mean your rabbit is safe from all cats. Neighborhood cats still pose a danger, especially if your rabbit lives in an outdoor hutch. You should take steps to secure your bunny, so she doesn’t feel frightened and harassed in her new home.
In this article, we have discussed several ways to keep cats (and other predators) away from your rabbits. Follow these tips to ensure that innocent and unassuming animals are safe from attacks and harassment.