Are you preparing to adopt a rabbit? They can make great indoor pets and can be trained to use a litter box and are generally clean animals. You can also bond with a rabbit just like with a dog or a cat. But unlike other pets, a rabbit has special living needs.
They need the safety of a cage when they’re not out in the room playing around or eating. It’s also important to secure them in the cage at bedtime to avoid accidents.
Since a cage is one of the first items you need to buy, you may wonder what exactly you need to buy them for their cage?
Start with a Large Cage
Pet rabbits come in all sizes, small, medium, and large. It’s important that your pet rabbit has enough room to not only sleep in their cage, but to also play, eat, and move around, especially during those times during the day when you are at work and have left them alone.
The cage needs to be spacious and sturdy. You’ll want to line the cage with recycled bedding, then put in all the other necessities they need. The cage should be sturdy enough so that it doesn’t wobble, and the rabbit can’t push a paw through to open the door.
Your rabbit should be able to stand fully upright without touching the ceiling. If you have an average-sized rabbit, a cage of about three square meters should be plenty of room.
Buy a Multi-Level Cage
Your rabbit can utilize the horizontal and vertical space of a cage. You can buy a subdivided cage with a sloping ladder that goes to an upper level. You’ll also want to ensure you buy a cage with a sturdy lower plastic level.
This will also make it much easier to clean. A wide door also helps, just in case you need to lift your rabbit out at some point so you can clean the cage.
Choose Rabbit-Safe Bedding
You can buy rabbit bedding from a pet supplies store. The label should mention it’s safe for rabbits, just in case they chew on it. Hay is one of the best options, as it’s not only warming in the colder months, but it is also edible. You can also buy dust-free bedding that is made from recycled paper or recycled wood.
It’s not recommended to use pine or cedar chips in any form as these are toxic to rabbits. Do your research first. If you want an easier clean up, you can place newspaper or puppy pads on the bottom. This new bedding will be spread along the bottom of the cage, up to a 3 inch layer. Evenly distribute it throughout the bottom.
Comfy Rabbit Bed
A rabbit will sleep anywhere, but providing a comfortable spot will make them feel extra cozy. You can buy small rabbit beds that are woven mats, as well a tiny hammocks, or even a small plush bed similar to the ones cats enjoy. Put it in the corner.
Add a Small Litter Box
Rabbits are tidy creatures and they appreciate having a separate toilet, rather than messing up their entire cage. You can find these small litter boxes at pet supply stores. A box is also much easier to pull out and clean every couple of days, rather than having to clean the entire cage. (That should still get a good cleaning every couple of weeks.)
Your rabbit’s litter box will also need a rabbit-safe litter, not the type your cat uses, as clumping litter is dangerous to rabbits. You can find recyclable paper-based litter for the box. Another option is hay or shredded newspaper.
Provide Food and Water
Food and water is the next step to setting up your rabbit’s cage. A small water bottle for the cage is the best option. This is a special drip type bottle that should be installed at the right angle that your rabbit can reach. Some rabbits prefer bowls, so you may have to provide one if your rabbit refuses to drink from the bottle.
You’ll want a secure one that can’t easily be knocked over. Bowls do need to be cleaned regularly, so you should try a bottle first. A small bowl to hold rabbit pellets also needs to be supplied. Keep the food dish away from the water, but more on the side of the bedding and not near the litter box.
You’ll also need a second dish for your rabbit’s fresh fruits and vegetables. Some people prefer to do scatter feeding, which is tossing food around the cage. This allows the rabbit to forage.
Plenty of Toys
Your rabbit also needs toys to play with, so they can keep from getting bored when they’re not sleeping, eating, or using their litter box. Buy toys that are made for rabbits. Plastic toys can quickly be chewed through, so wood blocks may be a better option for chewing.
Other options include rope, durable fabric, cardboard, and PVC. Never give your rabbit softwoods, as the splinters can cause wounds and be a choking hazard. It’s important to provide these toys, as it keeps your rabbit’s teeth short. If they get too long, that’s an expensive visit to the vet’s clinic.
How Often Do I Need to Do Cage Maintenance?
If it looks like it needs cleaning, then it’s time to do it. More bedding should be added as required. The litter box should be scooped once a day, and the water bottle refilled every two days or when low. Wash the dishes every day. Do a full cleaning of the cage at least once a week.
Once you have your rabbit’s cage all set up, you can now bring your new bunny rabbit home. They’ll be excited and interested in sniffing out their new home. A happy rabbit who has all their needs fulfilled will live a long and healthy life, and you’ll both bond much faster. Once your rabbit has adjusted to their new cage, they’ll be ready to come out into the room for visits with you and family.