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I've heard that rabbits can be litter-box trained...is this true? (Top)
Yes, most definitely! In most cases, rabbits are relatively easy to litter-box train. Rabbits tend to be quite meticulous about where everything belongs, especially in their particular area. They designate a spot for eating, sleeping, and even for the bathroom. Once they've made up their mind, it's difficult to persuade them otherwise. When you bring your rabbit home the first day, watch where he or she chooses to use the bathroom. This will be his or her "spot," so simply put a litter-box in this spot. In the beginning he or she may have a few spots as they get used to their new home, requiring several litter-boxes initially, but will generally decide one spot is the best and continue to return to this spot to do their business. You may also want to encourage them to spend time in their litter-box by putting a handful of hay in one corner. Don't be alarmed if you think they're spending quite a bit of time in their litter-box...it's often doubles as a soft spot for a nap!
Certain types of litter are not good choices for rabbits. The House Rabbit Society recommends using organic litters made of alfalfa, oat, citrus or paper to reduce the chances of your rabbit ingesting dangerous materials and to reduce respiratory problems. Litters of this type can be found in most stores that sell pet supplies including Petsmart, Petco, and even Walmart. Some commonly found brands include Care Fresh, Cat Country, Critter Country, Yesterday's News, and Papurr. Clumping litters should not be used.
For more information,
visit the Litterbox
Training FAQs page on the House Rabbit Society's web site.
Should rabbits be spayed or neutered? (Top)
Having your rabbit spayed or neutered is an essential step in having a happy and healthy relationship with your rabbit. Spaying or neutering your rabbit not only helps control pet overpopulation, but also takes care of behavioral issues common in rabbits driven by hormones. Unspayed female rabbits are in danger of ovarian cancer, especially if they have not been spayed before their fifth year, so be sure to have your rabbit spayed and neutered as soon as possible.
All of the rabbits adopted out by Heartland have already been spayed or neutered. While our adoption fee of $55 for a single rabbit and $90 for a bonded pair may seem higher than what you'd pay at a pet store, keep in mind that you'll also need to consider the cost of having your rabbit spayed or neutered - a cost of $90 on average. By adopting a rescued rabbit, you are giving a delightful rabbit a new lease on life while supporting the rescue effort.
It is vitally important to find a veterinarian experienced in caring for rabbits to perform the operation. Rabbits have unique health needs, different from those of dogs and cats. We'd be happy to recommend a veterinarian in your area, and you can also take a look at our list of rabbit savvy veterinarians. This list is not in any way complete, but includes veterinarians that we have knowledge of currently. If you know of a veterinarian or are a veterinarian experienced in rabbit care, please let us know and we'll add the information to our list.
Rabbits are extremely social and love to play. Some like to play with toys like plastic baby keys, paper bags, paper cups, and canning rings. Empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls can also make great toys, and a shoebox or cardboard box with doorways cut into it are always a hit with rabbits. Any toys that mimic their natural tendencies that allow them to chew, dig or hide are always welcome. They enjoy challenges and can be tricksters when inspired. Some rabbits also enjoy making up games...the tricky part is figuring out the rules!
Playtime outside of their cage is necessary for a rabbit's well-being, an hour a day at the very least. They crave social interaction, with you and also with other animals. Rabbits that don't receive adequate stimulation can become withdrawn. The more playtime and attention your rabbit receives, the happy and healthier he or she will be.
Rabbits can also be free-range pets in your home, much like a dog or cat. If you decide this is an option in your home, and your rabbit will thank you for it, be sure to bunnyproof your house and put them in a safe place when you're not at home such as their cage or a bunnyproofed room.