If you’re looking for a quiet companion who loves to cuddle, you may find a new best friend in the form of a pet rabbit! Rabbits are the perfect pets for people who want to maintain a quiet home. They’re also social and form strong bonds with their caretakers.
Once you’ve earned your bunny’s trust, they’ll always want to come in for a cuddle. If you’re the proud new owner of a rabbit, you’re in the right place. This article covers some tips for the perfect indoor rabbit cage setup.
Rabbits don’t need a lot of space, but there are still a lot of things that can go wrong when setting up their enclosure. These tips will help your bunny settle in and feel right at home. Read on to find out more.
Why Rabbits Should Stay Indoors
Though a garden can be a great playground for your pet rabbit, it’s best to keep them mainly indoors. Your pet rabbit will be much safer within your home, away from parasites and predators. Keeping your pet rabbit indoors also protects them from harsh outside temperatures.
Wild rabbits survive because they’re able to burrow underground. Domestic rabbits are usually kept in wooden hutches. Unfortunately, this doesn’t provide the same protection as an underground burrow.
An indoor rabbit is much easier to supervise and keep out of trouble. You also won’t have to worry as much if you need to leave the house to run errands. Rabbits can live a happy and fulfilling life indoors as long as you equip them with the proper tools.
Choose the Right Cage Size
Dog and cat owners give their pets kennels so they have a separate space for themselves. The kennel acts as their private room or safe space. The same idea applies to a rabbit cage.
The right cage size depends on the breed and size of your rabbit.
A Flemish Giant would require a much bigger space than a Holland Lop or Netherland Dwarf. As a rule of thumb, the ideal cage size for one to two rabbits should be 8 to 12 sq. ft. Rabbits are also known to get the zoomies, so you should also have a separate exercise or play space of at least 24 sq. ft.
Your rabbit should have enough space to hop around, stretch, and lay down. They should also be able to stand up on their hind legs without touching the top of their cage.
Even if you plan to let your rabbit free roam around your home eventually, it helps to start with a cage. This allows you to set up foundations that’ll make it easier to coexist with your rabbit. If you have an extra room in your home, you can turn it into your rabbit’s designated living area.
Choose the Right Cage Type
Another thing to consider when choosing an enclosure for your rabbit is the cage type. The perfect type of cage may depend on your bunny and your preferences and cleaning habits. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different types of indoor rabbit cages.
Wire cages are the most common type of indoor pet cages. They’re easy to set up and well-ventilated. A large dog cage should have more than enough room for one pet rabbit.
Wire cages also come with pull-out trays, making cleaning up after your rabbit much easier. Unfortunately, wire cages come with more disadvantages. Those wire floors can be uncomfortable and painful for a bunny.
Your pet rabbit may be unable to rest their weight comfortably. This forces them to sit or stand in unnatural ways, resulting in painful sores. You can also litter train your rabbit, so you may not end up needing the pull-out tray.
If your cage is big enough, your rabbit may be able to escape by squeezing through the gaps. This can be alarming, especially if you don’t want your rabbit wandering around while you’re not there.
Plastic cages or coverings can provide a little more relief to your bunny’s paws. However, plastic is not a good material for any pet, especially not for rabbits.
Rabbits love to chew and nibble on hard materials to trim their ever-growing teeth. Plastic isn’t safe to chew on and can harm your rabbit’s health.
A multi-level cage can seem like a fun way to give your bunny more room to explore. A multi-level enclosure can give your rabbit plenty of space to hide in. However, more floors do not necessarily equate to a larger spatial footprint.
Remember, your rabbit needs space to hop and run around. If the length of each floor isn’t wide enough, your rabbit will feel trapped and unable to move freely.
Cubes and Coroplast Cages
Cubes and coroplast cages have become more popular among pet owners. These types of cages come in grids, which you can assemble to form a cage structure. The best part is that you can buy more grids to expand the enclosure, and it’s as easy as stacking Legos.
C&C cages are safe for bunnies and durable. One key benefit is that it allows you to section off a small part of your floor for your bunny. You can set up your bunny’s space any way you want without worrying about straining their paws.
Just remember to use rabbit-safe bedding.
Domestic rabbits kept outside usually stay in wooden hutches. Unfortunately, these types of rabbit enclosures usually come with wire floorings, which we already mentioned can be hard on a rabbit’s feet. Standard wooden hutches also tend to be too small for a rabbit.
If you want a wooden hutch, you can hire a woodworker and customize it to fit your rabbit’s needs. However, keep in mind that wood can be a little more difficult to maintain. Your rabbit may also gnaw on the wooden surfaces and ruin their enclosure.
A Place to Play
As tiny and quiet as they are, rabbits have a ton of energy. Dogs and cats aren’t the only pets who get the zoomies. Rabbits will have random bursts of energy where they’ll start running laps around a room.
Your bunny may also start binkying, which is when it jumps and twirls mid-air. These behaviors are normal and are a sign of a happy and healthy bunny.
If you’re unable to let your bunny free roam, you can set up a separate enclosure. Playpens are easy to assemble and put away, making them a great option if you have limited space in your home.
You can also enrich your bunny’s life with various toys. Rabbits are curious creatures and will benefit from tunnels and chews. The toys don’t have to be expensive either!
Bunnies love cardboard boxes almost as much as cats do. They’re cheap, easy to find, and give your bunny something to do during their free time. You can also recycle old tissue boxes and egg cartons and turn them into puzzles.
Place treats inside the box or carton and let your rabbit figure out a way to their prize. This gives them a ton of mental stimulation.
Rabbit-Proofing Your Home
We already mentioned how much rabbits love to explore and nibble on things. While this behavior can be endearing, it can also be a cause for concern if you aren’t ready for it. The last thing you want is to find your expensive wires chewed up by your rabbit!
Chewing is a natural and healthy habit, but your rabbit doesn’t know what they can and can’t chew.
Protect your wires by covering them in cable protectors or covers. You could also secure your wires by elevating them on tables or walls.
If you’re an avid plant parent, it helps to give the same treatment to your house plants. Some plants and flowers can be toxic to rabbits. Even if they aren’t, your rabbit may treat your prized mints or dandelions as their next meal.
If you want to keep your rabbit in one area, you want to ensure that the space is secure. Rabbits are natural escape artists and will try to leave their enclosures to explore. Make sure that there are no escape routes for your rabbit and that the only opening is jump-proof.
Food and Drink
House rabbits have one basic dietary requirement: hay. Hay makes up most of a rabbit’s diet, so make sure you have plenty of fresh hay. There are many types of hay for rabbits, but you can’t go wrong with timothy hay.
If you ever feel like switching up your rabbit’s hay feed, check the ingredients or consult your vet. You can place the hay around their enclosure or in a hay trough. Your rabbit needs fresh hay, so you can top off their supply once or twice a day.
Replace the hay at least once every two or three days or when soiled. Replacing the hay too often can encourage picky eating behavior.
Your rabbit can also eat pellets as long as the primary ingredient is timothy hay or grass. Avoid pellets with unnatural colors or excessive additional ingredients.
Each rabbit under your care should have at least one feeding bowl. This prevents rabbits under the same roof from fighting, even if they normally get along.
Many first-time rabbit owners make the mistake of buying their rabbits a water bottle. This may seem more convenient, but they aren’t the best choice for rabbits. Such bottles don’t provide adequate water flow.
This can strain your bunny’s neck and prevent them from getting the water they need. Wild rabbits drink from streams and rivers, so it’s best to replicate this with water bowls. Ensure that your rabbit always has access to fresh and clean water.
Litter Training a Rabbit
One surprising but pleasant fact about raising a rabbit is that you can litter train them. Once litter trained, you can let your rabbit free roam without worry. It’s best to start litter training your rabbit as soon as you first bring them into your home.
First, you’ll need a litter box, litter, and a ton of hay. Avoid clay-based cat litter, wood shavings, and sawdust. These types of litter can be harmful to your rabbit’s health.
Instead, you can use recycled paper pellets and bedding. You can also use shredded paper from your office. Fill the litter box with at least two inches of litter and add a handful of hay.
Place the litterbox in one corner of their enclosure. If your rabbit urinates in a different part of their enclosure, move the litter box there. Rabbits mark their territory with urine and feces and often return to where they first marked.
So, once your rabbit understands how to use the litter box, they’re less likely to have accidents outside it.
Cleaning is one of the less exciting parts of pet ownership, but it’s essential to you and your pet’s happiness. A dirty cage is not only unhealthy for your bunnies. The smell can also make you feel uncomfortable.
Clean up any spilled or leftover food and water every morning and evening. You also want to replace their water bowls at least twice a day. Clean out the litter box, and don’t forget to pick up any poop that made it outside of the litter box.
Deep clean your rabbit’s enclosure at least once a week. Replace the lining, if any, and throw the old one in the laundry. Use a pet-safe cleaning solution to disinfect your rabbit’s space.
Don’t forget to wash your rabbit’s food and water bowls. Throw out the old litter and replace it with a fresh batch.
Tips for a Better Indoor Rabbit Cage Setup
If this sounds like a lot of work, you might not be ready for a rabbit. Rabbits are a lifetime responsibility. If you think you have what it takes, you’ll find that rabbits are the perfect, loving, and cuddly companion.
Pet Marvelous is your best friend when it comes to pet care. We’re here to support you in your journey as a new pet parent. Find out where to adopt a pet here!