Is a Rabbit Right for Me?

In the United States the rabbit is ranked just behind cats, dogs, and birds as one of the more popular house pets. Although they have been gaining steadily in popularity in recent years they will likely never surpass the others for the number one spot.

Although rabbits have been a common pet for quite some time they are unique both physically and psychologically. Because of this they tend to fall victim to neglect at the hands of well intentioned people. In many cases finding a rabbit knowledgeable vet can even be a challenge.

Sure rabbits are cute, fuzzy, cuddly little creatures that love attention, but this alone is not enough of a reason to jump into rabbit ownership.
They require commitment and care from you. Unlike a hamster or other small mammal, rabbits cannot simply reside in a cage all day. Dreams of rabbit ownership and actually being prepared are two different things.

Take a moment to reflect on yourself and determine whether or not you are prepared for a rabbit in your life by asking yourself these questions:

Do I have time everyday to spend with my rabbit?
In the wild rabbits are members of an elaborate social community. You being the rabbits companion makes you part of it’s community. Your rabbit will need exercise and time to play outside it’s cage everyday. Do you have time each and everyday to spend with your rabbit?

Do I have the space to house a rabbit?
Rabbits need adequate cage space and space to play outside the cage. Do I have an area large enough for the cage and safe rabbit proof area for them to play?

Am I allowed to have rabbits where I live?
As ridiculous as it is in many areas rabbits are considered livestock or exotic animals. Before getting a rabbit verify you are allowed to have rabbits.

Does anyone in my house have allergies?
People with allergies can suffer greatly in the presence of an allergen. Rabbit allergies are not common, but do occur. If you are allergic to cats or other similar animals try and spend some time visiting with someones rabbit first to see if you have a reaction.

Am I or are my kids old enough to handle a rabbit?
There is no hard set rule for whether or not a child is old enough to handle a rabbit. Typically 7 seems to be a good age, but this should be determined on a per child basis. Mishandling can lead to the child, the rabbit or both getting injured. In severe cases death of the rabbit can also result.

Seriously consider whether or not your child is able to handle a rabbit and if there is any doubt in your mind will you be available to supervise all of their interactions with each other?

Will my other pets get along with a rabbit?
Do you have friendly easy going pets or are they territorial and jealous. Rabbits will get along well with other animals, but they need to be introduced properly and patiently.

Am I willing to change for the rabbit?
Rabbits need a safe place to play. Unfortunately this often means setting aside an area in a room or in the backyard that ultimately needs to be rabbit proofed. Outdoors rabbits have a tendency to dig in the dirt. Indoors they may chew on cords, wooden furniture and even baseboard and door casings. Giving up a portion of your home as a permanently rabbit proofed area may not be that appealing to some, but it is the best way to prevent the most damage.

Am I able to afford a rabbit?
You will need to have money to first purchase the rabbit and then to provide food, housing, vet care, etc. Just like any other pet a rabbit has ongoing care costs associated with it. Are you prepared?

Am I ready to be emotionally committed?
Rabbits are energetic, friendly social creatures that need plenty of attention to thrive. Are you prepared to give your rabbit the attention they deserve? Do you think getting two rabbits means you have to be less committed? It doesn’t.

So what happens if you just skipped past all those questions and you go and get a rabbit because you still like the idea of having one? Well if it turns out that owning a rabbit isn’t for you, then the rabbit is ultimately the one to suffer.

Typically an unprepared rabbit owner ends up dropping their rabbit off at a shelter or discards them in the wild assuming they will fend for themselves. Unfortunately rabbits are incredibly hard for shelters to adopt out and they become another unwanted pet destined to be euthanized. When rabbits are released into the wild they are rarely capable of surviving on their own.

You could try and find a new owner for your rabbit, but you’ll soon find out that it’s not as easy as it sounds.

The best thing you can do is to go back and reread the questions, give it some serious thought, and if you feel rabbit ownership is in your future then go ahead and start looking for the rabbit that’s right for you.