Rabbit Rescue & Rehab
The New York City Chapter of the House Rabbit Society
Is a rabbit right for me?
Rabbits make wonderful companions!
They are clean, do not smell, and use litter boxes.
Unfortunately, shelters are overrun with rabbits that have been abandoned when their families become unwilling to continue with the time and monetary expense of rabbit care, they cannot control allergies, their child has lost interest, they are unable to manage unwanted behaviors, and many more reasons. If you are considering rabb
Rabbits and Allergies
Many children (and adults) are allergic to rabbits or hay but do not know it until they spend a considerable amount of time around both.
Rabbits and Children
that there are many misconceptions about rabbits as pets, including that they are good pets for children. Rabbits are prey animals (as opposed to cats and dogs which are predators) and they have a very fearful nature, so they do not do well around loud noises or sudden movements and can react with defensive behavior such as biting. They are also extremely fragile and it can be difficult for children and some teenagers to safely interact with them. Many children want a pet that can be picked up, but it is very dangerous to pick up, hold, or carry a rabbit. Their bones are extremely fragile and as prey animals who only feel safe when their 4 feet are the ground, most will either freeze in fear or struggle to be put down when someone picks them up. Tragically we see many rabbits surrendered to shelters with broken spines, legs and pelvises from being dropped.
Rabbits Live for 10+ Years
The commitment to your rabbit is forever. Just think- a bunny you adopted for your elementary school-aged child will still need to be cared for when your child leaves for college, and will require extra care at their now-senior age.
Rabbits and Cats/Dogs:
Because of the nature of rabbits being prey animals and (cats/dogs) being predators, it can be very complicated having them safely live together. The way a (dog/cat) plays is completely different than the way a rabbit plays, and even one playful swipe from a (dog/cat’s) nails can cause a life threatening injury in a rabbit as their skin is extremely delicate. The way a rabbit moves around very often triggers the prey drive in a (dog/cat) as it is their nature and they cannot help it. When a rabbit "plays", they run around, "binky" doing sudden jumps and twists. Domesticated rabbits also retain a lot of the fear that wild rabbits have and even the smell or sight of a predator animal can terrify them so much that they will have a heart attack. There are often videos of rabbits "playing" with cats or dogs out there which might appear to be cute, but are really just the rabbit defensively trying to protect themselves by swatting back at a cat or charging at them. It is extremely stressful for the rabbit.
Some rabbits can safely be around cats or even very well-trained dogs as long as the cat or dog has a very low prey drive and knows to not "play" with the rabbit the way they do with another cat or dog. The best case scenarios are when people have mellow older cats or very well-trained dogs who basically ignore the rabbit.