Do Cats Attack Rabbits?

  • By: Rob Jones
  • Date: November 24, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.
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You may have a cat and a rabbit as pets, or you may be considering getting both. Perhaps you’re even looking to get one as a “starter pet” for your kids before moving on to something bigger. But can cats and rabbits live together? Do cats attack rabbits?

Cats are natural predators of rabbits, and in the wild, they would typically attack and eat them.

However, domestic cats usually don’t see rabbits as prey, and they generally won’t attack them unless they’re provoked.

If you have both a cat and a rabbit in your home, it’s important to supervise them when they’re together, especially if the cat is still young or hasn’t been around rabbits before.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the reasons why cats may attack rabbits and what you can do to stop it from happening.

Do Cats Attack Rabbits

Cats typically don’t attack rabbits, but there are some exceptions. If a cat is young or hasn’t been around rabbits before, it may see the rabbit as prey and attempt to hunt it.

This is more likely to happen if the rabbit is small or a baby because they’re an easy target. You can use some guides on caring for your baby rabbit.

Older cats that have lived with rabbits before are less likely to attack them. However, even an older cat may attack a rabbit if they’re feeling threatened or territorial.

For example, if the cat feels like the rabbit is taking their food or toys, it may lash out.

Cats may also attack rabbits out of boredom or because they’re trying to play with them. This is more likely to happen with kittens since they haven’t learned how to properly play with animals yet.

Rabbits are also at risk of being attacked by other animals, such as dogs. If you have both a cat and a rabbit in your home, it’s important to keep them separate from each other to avoid any potential conflicts.

Do Cats and Bunnies Get Along

Cats and bunnies are both social animals, so it’s not surprising that they often get along well. Cats are curious creatures and enjoy exploring new territory, which often includes their furry little housemates.

The characteristics of both animals that may lead to a peaceful coexistence are that they are relatively easy-going, adaptable, and have a natural curiosity.

cat and rabbit

Both species are also known to be affectionate with their owners and enjoy spending time with them. Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rule. Cats, like all animals, are individuals with distinct personalities.

Cats’ natural predatory instincts may occasionally resurface, especially if they haven’t interacted with rabbits before.

Rabbits can also be skittish, and if they’re not used to being around cats, they may be scared of them. All in all, it likely depends on both personality and past experiences.

Are Cats A Danger To Rabbits

While cats can be a danger to rabbits, there’s a good chance they’ll at least tolerate each other. It really depends on the individual personality and whether or not they have been properly introduced to the rabbit.

It is probably safest to assume that cats pose a danger to rabbits. After all, in the wild, cats are predators and rabbits are their prey. This instinct can be hard to overcome, even when the animals are raised together from a young age.

That said, there are many reports of cats and rabbits living together peacefully. It is not uncommon for them to groom each other and even share a litter box.

If you have both a cat and a rabbit, it is worth taking the time to properly introduce them so they can at least co-exist peacefully.

The best way to introduce a rabbit to a cat is when they are both young. If possible, get them as kittens or puppies. This will give them a chance to grow up together and form a bond.

If that’s not possible, you’ll need to take things slowly. Start by letting the cat see the rabbit in its cage. Give them time to sniff each other through the bars. Once they seem comfortable, you can try letting them out together in a supervised setting

Make sure the rabbit has a place to hide if it feels threatened. A cardboard box or cat tunnel (Amazon link) can work well.

Let them spend time together until they seem relaxed. If there are any signs of aggression, separate them and try again another day.

Do Cats Kill Rabbits

Cats are predators, and they will kill rabbits if they have the opportunity. However, not all cats are interested in hunting rabbits. Some cats may live peacefully with rabbits, while others may see them as potential prey.

The relationship between cats and rabbits is often more complex than just predator and prey – they can also be considered competitors.

Cats attack rabbits when competing for the same resources, such as food, shelter, and territory. This competition can result in conflict between the two species.

Cats are also known to kill rabbits for sport – even if they’re not hungry. This type of behavior is often seen in male cats, who may see rabbits as a threat to their territory.

In some cases, this behavior can be stopped by neutering the cat, as this will reduce their aggression.

Cats have sharp teeth and claws, and their saliva contains bacteria that can be harmful to small prey animals. When a cat catches a rabbit, it may kill the animal by biting its neck or suffocating it with its body.

In short, while cats may not typically kill rabbits for food, they are certainly capable of doing so if they choose to.

Can Rabbits Defend Themselves Against Cats

Rabbits are not defenseless against cats, but they are certainly at a disadvantage. Rabbits have sharp claws that they can use to scratch and bite their attacker, and they will often try to flee if they feel threatened.

In some cases, rabbits may be able to scare off a cat by making themselves as big and intimidating as possible.

This can be done by standing up on their hind legs, thumping their feet, or flattening their ears against their head.

If all else fails, rabbits can also try to hide from cats. They will often seek out small spaces to curl up in, such as under a bush or in a burrow.

If a rabbit feels safe and secure in its hiding spot, it may be able to avoid being attacked altogether.

Rabbits are also fast runners, and they may be able to outrun a cat if they are given enough time to escape.

How to Keep Cats Away From Rabbits

There are a few things you can do to deter cats from attacking rabbits. Follow these tips to keep your rabbits safe:

1. Physical Barrier

The most obvious way to keep cats away from rabbits is to create a physical barrier between them. This could be a fence, netting, or any other type of barrier that will prevent the two animals from coming into contact with each other.

2. Repellents

There are several commercial repellents (Amazon link) available that will help keep cats away from rabbits. These products usually contain ingredients that have a strong scent or taste that cats don’t like, such as citrus or mint.

You can also make your own homemade repellent by mixing water with a few drops of lemon or orange essential oil.

3. Keep Your Rabbit’s Area Clean

Cats are attracted to the smell of rabbits, so it’s important to keep your rabbit’s enclosure clean. Be sure to scoop out the litter box daily and empty it completely once a week.

You should also wash down the walls and floors of the cage regularly with a mild soap and water solution.

4. Cat-Proof Rabbit’s Cage

Make sure your rabbit’s cage is cat-proofed by ensuring that there are no gaps or holes that a cat could fit through.

You should also consider adding a top to the cage to prevent cats from getting in from above.

5. Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Another way to keep cats away from rabbits is to install motion-activated sprinklers around the perimeter of the rabbit’s cage.

These devices will emit an ultrasonic sound when they detect movement, which will startle the cat and deter it from approaching.

6. Train Your Cat

If you have a cat of your own, you can train it to stay away from rabbits by using positive reinforcement.

Every time your cat leaves the rabbit alone, give it a treat or some other type of positive reinforcement. With enough patience and consistency, your cat will learn to stay away from rabbits.

Wrap Up

Do cats attack rabbits? While cats typically don’t go out of their way to attack rabbits, they are certainly capable of doing so if they choose to.

Cats are natural predators, and their instinctual hunting behaviors can sometimes kick in when they see a rabbit. In most cases, however, cats and rabbits can coexist peacefully.

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Rob is a long-time advocate of animal rights and despises any animal mistreatment. He has 4 pet rabbits and loves them all dearly. To treat rabbits properly is to care for them deeply!

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