Cats and rabbits are among the most popular pets in German-speaking countries.
But: Do these two animals also harmonize with each other? Or are cats even dangerous for your rabbits?
This is exactly the question we will answer in this article. In addition, we will show you at the end of proven precautions, how you can protect rabbits from attacks of a cat.
The truth: Are cats dangerous for rabbits?
Let’s put it best this way: Cats can become a serious danger to rabbits.
Cats are hunters, while rabbits are prey animals – this fact alone points out that rabbits and cats are a very explosive combination.
Even if you don’t have your own cat, you should realize that there is a good chance that there is an outdoor cat in your neighborhood that would like to visit your rabbits in their run.
Of course, this must be prevented at all costs!
If you want to allow your rabbits to run in the garden, there are some precautions to take. Which precautions these are exactly, you will learn at a later time of this article.
Now let’s address the question of whether all cats are dangerous for rabbits.
The answer to this question is clearly no: cats that have been socialized with rabbits from an early age and have grown up with them will most likely not consider your rabbits as prey.
However, keep in mind that these cats still have a hunting instinct, which they may spontaneously act out on your rabbits, both with other small animals and in unfavorable situations.
For this reason, you should never leave a cat alone in an enclosure with your rabbits – no matter how well you think you know the cat.
Animals are and remain living beings with instincts and a mind of their own!
So there are cats that are compatible with rabbits. However, you should always pay attention to your rabbit’s body language. Just because the cat is not interested in your rabbit, does not mean that your rabbit feels safe and comfortable in this situation.
This brings us directly to the next important question. Namely the question, which stress potential the meeting of rabbit and cat holds for the animals.
Let’s answer this question directly in the next paragraph!
Is my rabbit stressed because of my cat?
The answer to this question also depends a lot on whether the cat and rabbit have known each other for a long time.
A rabbit that has never been in contact with cats will have a lot of stress the first time it meets a cat – even if the cat is not interested in your rabbit and a fence separates the two animals!
Rabbits instinctively sense that they are potential prey for the cat.
So it is nothing unusual that your rabbit gets scared here and perceives the danger as such.
However, it can also cause a lot of stress for the cat if it sees the rabbit as prey and can’t get hold of it. While some cats will sooner or later abandon their hunting attempt and prefer to look for an easier prey, others will be downright obsessed with catching your rabbit.
So you can see that it is not a stress-free affair for either your rabbit or the cats when such an uncontrolled encounter of both species takes place.
How high the stress potential will be for both animals in the end, you cannot say for sure.
Therefore, in order to give your animals a peaceful life, but also to protect the cats from unnecessary stress, it is important to take some precautions.
If you own a cat yourself and you know that the cat gets along with your rabbits and your rabbits do not have any problem with the presence of the cat, you should still remember that other cats feel stress and can cause it to your animals as well.
It is therefore highly recommended to build your rabbit enclosure in such a way that really no cat has access to your animals – not even your own cat. Even if the animals accept each other, they do not necessarily make friends with each other and do not depend on each other. Plus, this way you’ll keep out other predators, such as foxes.
Do cats kill rabbits?
Cats are quite capable of killing a rabbit.
A cat that is gripped by hunting fever will be in a blood frenzy the moment it gets hold of its prey. Even if the cat does not manage to kill your rabbit, it can still injure it severely and it will die as a result of the attack.
Also, keep in mind that cats are animals that do not kill just because they are hungry.
It may sound brutal, but cats have a lot of fun “demolishing” their prey a little bit and then playing with them, so that the prey animals have to die a slow and agonizing death – for the pure pleasure of the cat, because it often leaves the prey as soon as it stops moving!
Cats have been domesticated for many years and usually live closely with their humans. Nevertheless, the hunting instinct is a primal instinct that is deeply present in their genes. Therefore, you can’t expect the cat to think of a rabbit as a member of the family.
Cats may be able to learn to accept rabbits around them, but if certain key stimuli occur, even the most loving cat will be able to kill instantly!
Many cats also love to give gifts to their owners, so they like to bring home dead prey. Again, the cat is not concerned with ensuring its survival.
What precautions can be taken to protect the rabbits?
First of all, you must know that cats can jump very high and climb even better. It is therefore essential that your rabbits’ run is protected from cats on all four sides as well as from above.
Here you will find a selection of options that can help to protect your rabbits in the best possible way.
- predator proof hutch
There are a number of different prefabricated hutches available for purchase that can provide excellent protection for your rabbits from cats.
Chicken coops can also be great for keeping rabbits – depending on the model, of course – as they also have floor protection.
- solid wood
In order to offer your rabbits more security, it is advisable that you offer your animals a protected retreat made of wood, where there can be no eye contact between rabbit and cat.
Your rabbit will feel much less stress this way.
- electric fence
If all else fails and you have caught a very penetrating representative among cats, you can also put an electric fence for pets around your rabbits’ enclosure.
However, make sure that your animals cannot come into contact with this fence!
However, this measure should only be used in absolutely exceptional cases.
Can I get my cat used to my rabbits?
Are you thinking of getting a cat, even though you already have rabbits, and are wondering how you can socialize the two species without stress?
The best way is to get your cat to live with you as a baby. If your cat grows up together with your rabbits, there are usually no problems between the animals.
With an adult cat it depends very much on which experiences it has already made in dealing with rabbits. There are animals that will never get along with rabbits. Therefore, when choosing your cat, make sure that this animal has a rather lazy character, where the hunting instinct is not too pronounced.
Secure the rabbits and let your cat examine the rabbits from a safe distance.
If the cat remains calm, you do not have to act.
If the first tension appears, separate the animals and try again later.
In this way you can gradually achieve a relaxed coexistence.
In summary: Yes, under certain conditions a cat can get used to the presence of rabbits and vice versa!
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
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