Last updated on October 31st, 2022
Do cats attack rabbits? This is the question in every pet owner’s mind.
We all have seen cats running after mice, and the happiness that our feline pets display on their faces after catching one is priceless! Sounds like Tom & Jerry, right? But, did you ever see your mischievous little furball chase or attack a rabbit?
After all, it’s not something that happens every day. So, if you own both pets or are planning to do so, this article is for you.
A regular household cat wouldn’t attack a rabbit because they aren’t used to hunting for food or eating it raw, however, since cats are predators and rabbits are prey for cats, a cat that has aggressive behavior is more likely to stalk and attack rabbits.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of cat attacks on your rabbit. If proper precautions are taken, your adult cat and rabbit can live peacefully.
How to Keep Your Rabbit Safe and Protected Against the Attacks of a Cat?
Here is a list of things you can do to keep your bunny safe from the attacks of a cat
Train Both Pets
You need to handle both animals well by watching their activities closely when they’re around each other and you can do so by creating a more comfortable environment for both parties.
For instance, you can comfort your bunny so that they don’t feel frightened or have any fear of getting attacked by the feline animal.
Similarly, you should train your cat to not harm your rabbit in any way. Make your kitty realize that they’ll be scolded or restrained if they attack the weaker animal.
We as pet owners must ensure that our rabbits feel more comfortable and safe within the environment they’re in.
At the same time, we must also train other pets so that they don’t attack, harm, or make them feel frightened in their presence.
Yes, we know it’s way easier said than done because there would be so many other predators out there hunting and preying on these timid creatures.
And it’s not always possible to save our bunnies from these unknown neighboring feral cats, dogs, foxes, and birds.
But we can at least restrict and monitor the space we let our indoor rabbits live in. Also, avoid any unnecessary interference when monitoring your pets, as it may agitate them and hinder the relationship-building process.
Another method is to ensure that your cat is walking on the same level or even lower when they’re around your bunnies.
Because if your feline companion stands on a higher ground than a rabbit, their basic instinct would lead them to pounce on these fearful creatures.
Keep Your Bunny in a Safe Area
Never leave your bunnies alone outdoors to avoid attacks from any stray cats passing by.
You can also put narrow bars surrounding the rabbit hutch as this will prevent cats from entering into their living spaces and potentially harming them.
It would also be a good idea to purchase a pen with a well-protected and covered roof because cats are highly agile creatures and good climbers.
They can easily perch or jump over unroofed hutches. And even if you’re around, there is only so much you can do to save your rabbits since cats can attack quickly and inflict dangerously fatal bites on these timid animals.
Furthermore, ensure that you’re uncovering the pen with care while feeding your rabbits. For instance, most pens have an open bottom that allows you to feed grass to your bunnies.
We suggest that you put enough food, toys, water, hay, and other essentials into your bunny’s hutch or pen.
Ensure that your rabbits feel secure, calm, and relaxed.
Ensure there’s ample space between your feline pets and your bunnies, and if possible, install a screen door to keep them apart.
Transfer Your Cat’s Scent to Your Bunny or Vice Versa
Before you introduce the two animals and allow them to have face-to-face interactions, it’s better to swap the scents of both of them onto each other.
You can do this quite easily, by stroking one animal with a fabric or toy and then rubbing the same object onto the other animal.
You can do this scent swap for both animals and consider repeating the process with a piece of fabric whenever you sense danger or until they become fully acquainted with each other.
In this way, both species will be able to familiarize their scents on the body of the other, and hence the stronger of the two may refrain from harming the weaker.
Gradually, they will start to understand and respect each other.
Can Rabbits Defend Themselves Against Cats?
Bunnies come close to being the best household pets in the animal kingdom, but they’re still prey animals, which means that they can’t defend themselves against large predatory animals.
Rabbits can defend themselves against small predators because they have one of the best senses of hearing among many mammals and can detect small predators like cats before they get too close. If all else fails, rabbits can use their hind legs to deliver a powerful kick that could send a cat flying.
However, not all cats will attack rabbits. For instance, the ones that have been trained well about socializing and interacting with other species like rabbits are less likely to be aggressive towards them.
On the other hand, lazy cats can be found in almost every household and you can rest assured knowing that the felines which fall into this category are less likely to attack a rabbit.
Also, some other non-attacking felines have been previously introduced and are accustomed to living with house rabbits and other timid animals.
But did you know that if a domestic rabbit builds its self-confidence, it can fight a cat and defend itself against the feline’s dreadful approaches?
Once a confident rabbit learns to defend itself, cats will begin to feel intimidated and gradually leave them undisturbed.
Although these weaker animals won’t stand a chance when fighting against stronger and larger predators, they can succeed against smaller attackers.
For Instance, bunnies can fight and defeat some cat species by using their claws, hind legs, and teeth. Isn’t that fascinating?
When rabbits are fighting a predator, they won’t try to kill the opponent; instead, they’ll try to:
- Confuse the attacker in an attempt an escape
- Wound the attacker with their claws and hind leg
- Dive and hide in areas where the attacker can’t reach them
Do Cats and Rabbits Get Along?
If you’re a rabbit owner, you’ll be happy to know that cats and rabbits can get along well and become really good friends. But it’ll take some time and effort to control the interactions between the two while improving the environment in which you’re raising them in.
Initially, it won’t be a good idea to place these two animals together from the very beginning. Give the time required for both to settle down and understand the environment.
Wait until your cat and pet rabbit manage to settle things between themselves and make the relationship a more peaceful one.
It’s not something that will happen overnight, so you should ensure that the situations in which they’re interacting are controlled and restricted to avoid mishaps.
A Bunny’s Natural Instincts
Rabbits are timid, gentle, and social creatures and therefore, they can easily fall prey to predators like cats, dogs, foxes, snakes, and even birds of prey, such as hawks, owls, falcons, etc.
Interestingly, rabbits are so timid and consider themselves socially weak that they may even be afraid of their new owners or other members of the family.
The problem arises specifically when you have young rabbits, who initially see their owners as their predators.
This is why your baby rabbit often sleeps with its eyes open, even though it may be in a safe home.
The same goes for rabbits who are living in a completely new environment or with new owners.
They’ll naturally take some time to get used to this new environment and feel protected around you, your family members, and other pets.
You’ll be surprised to know that these timid social animals don’t like to display their vulnerabilities when a predator is around.
That’s why they prefer to keep their eyes open while asleep to stay alert about the surroundings and a possible attack from a wild animal.
They’ll immediately hide away whenever they sense an animal or human being approaching.