Rabbits: A Long-Term Commitment
Spring is in the air, flowers are showing their first blossoms, and baby animals are popping up all over the place—including at the mall. This time of year, “pet” shops do big business in Easter bunnies, sending impulsive new rabbit guardians home woefully unprepared to care for these rambunctious, quirky, and high-maintenance animals. Adopting a rabbit is no smaller a commitment than bringing a puppy or kitten into your life. If you are considering adding a bunny member to your family, please read PETA’s “Caring for Rabbits” guide and make sure you don’t have any symptoms of “bunny fever.” Never buy a rabbit from a pet shop or breeder. Animal shelters and rabbit rescues are bursting at the seams with unwanted bunnies acquired hastily by people who did not realize that having a bunny takes a lot of time and effort!
For a sneak peek at what life with a bunny buddy is like and to make sure your family is ready for a rabbit, read these stories from PETA members who have shared their hearts and their homes with a curious cottontail:
Rabbits require much more care and attention than most people suspect. When I met my first one, Duffy, at a “pet” shop, the employees didn’t tell me how to take care of him, and I thought he would be an easy, cute addition to our living room. I quickly learned that he wanted to be out and about, following us around, playing, and being part of the family—not locked up in a boring cage. I taught him to use a litter box and come when we called him, and he liked to hop up on the sofa for a nap and play in a large wooden dollhouse I had built and decorated. Little did I know that rabbits are chewers—Duffy gnawed my tasty project to bits!
Although he started out as a “classroom pet,” we soon discovered that Velveteen was anything but an accessory for a science lesson. Our teeny-tiny bunny ballooned to an adult weight of nearly 10 pounds and developed the personality of a stand-up comic, the appetite of a truck driver, and the vengefulness of a shunned lover. With the addition of a baby gate, a flannel sheet, and my mom’s old bathrobe, our kitchen was converted into Velveteen’s living room. The pantry floor is now scattered with timothy hay, the desk alcove is a cozy place to flop on a padded doggy bed, and the rolling tea cart is a bunny balcony.
My little Max had a penchant for chewing baseboards—they were just the right height for him and they didn’t move, so he could really sink his teeth into them. I tried everything to discourage this (including rubbing the baseboards with hot sauce, which just made my whole apartment smell bad) and offered him many alternatives. Max also enjoyed digging around my sofa. I became a regular at the local hardware store, buying piece after piece of carpet remnant to put under the sofa to protect the actual carpet.
Rose knows exactly where we don’t want her to go and so, of course, that’s where she wants to go. She waits very casually until she thinks we aren’t looking, then quietly hops up into shelving units or squeezes under or behind the sofa—it’s amazing how bunnies can make themselves fit into spaces you’d never think they could. If she finds something blocking her way, she tries to dig or gnaw her way through it. Bunnies are so much fun and need lots of attention every day. Rose will come up and nudge at my ankles to say, “Hey, remember me? I’d like some attention, please.”
Make a Homeless Bunny Hoppy
If you’re ready for the 10-year (or more) commitment of rabbit guardianship, adopt a bunny from your local animal shelter or rescue group—you can start by looking up your zip code on Petfinder.com.