It is now not uncommon that many owners are keeping their rabbit indoor. As a matter of fact, many organisations and societies such as the House Rabbit Society had championed the cause that owners should keep their rabbits indoors. Rabbits that are kept indoor was found to have lived much longer lives and are healthier. Besides, why do you want to take a rabbit as pet if you are not after the companionship offered by pet rabbits?
There are many considerations however, if you wish to keep your rabbit indoor. Perhaps the first requirement is to have an indoor rabbit cage. There are many types of rabbit cage available in the market today. There are also those wire rabbit hutches that is elevated above the floor to enable easy cleaning. We find that those wire cage with a pull-out tray to be suitable and good enough as an indoor rabbit cage.
If you are using an indoor rabbit cage with wire floor, you may want to consider putting grass mats at one corner of the cage for the rabbit to rest comfortably. Most indoor rabbits cage have floor wires that is too far apart that make it very uncomfortable for the rabbit’s tiny leg. However, if you get a wire cage that with too close spacing, the rabbits’s poo will not be able to drop directly into the pull out tray below which defeats the purpose of using an indoor rabbit cage with pull-out tray.
If you have found a suitable rabbit indoor cage with wired floor, then there is no necessity to locate any litter box within the cage. This will allow more space for the rabbits to move around when he is in his cage. Keeping rabbits indoor do not always mean that you will allow the rabbits to roam the house at all times. Cage time is a learning and training time for your pet rabbits. Many rabbits also need their personal time in their own abode to rest and to feel secured. This is especially true in the afternoons where most house rabbits will take their nap.
Depending on whether you are keeping one or two rabbits as pets, there are many types of litters available to be placed in the pull-out tray of the rabbit indoor cages. Recycled newspaper has good absorbent properties and makes good litter. If you are keeping two rabbits or more, newspaper alone may not be sufficient and you may want to provide processed litter in the form of wood shaving and litter that is processed into pellet form.
The wood material is important. Avoid pine and cedar shavings as these wood release odour that is found to be damaging to your indoor rabbit in the long run. Although the odour is pleasantly fragrant to the human nose, these woods are found to cause liver cancer in pet rabbits. Clay based litter such as those used for cat litter are also not suitable, not only due to health reason but it can be quite messy.
One questions that many potential owners asked is “Is rabbit a smelly animal?” Rabbits are actually quite clean and their poo are quite odour-free when dried. Rabbit’s urine can be quite pungent and you can overcome this problem by using good absorbent litter as suggested above.
Ensure that your rabbits have plenty of water all day long. You can easily attach a drinking bottle to the side of the wire cage.
Indoor rabbits can be easily toilet-trained. If you have only one rabbit, it is even easier. The key to train your pet rabbits lie in understanding your pet rabbit’s behaviour and not the other way round. Do not expect your pet rabbits to understand you.
If you have just obtain your first pet rabbit or have just decided to relocate your rabbit indoor, then keep them in their cage for say one week. Your rabbits should not be allowed to wonder around the house during this time. Provide them with a comfortable and clean cage. Rabbits can be quite fussy when it comes to cleanliness and will treat their cage as an important nesting place if it is clean and comfortable to them.
Then gradually allow them to roam more into the house, starting with allowing them the freedom to roam the room where the indoor cage is located. Do not leave them unsupervised at this stage. When you see that your rabbits about to do their business, quickly shoo them back into the cage. This way, they will learn that the only place that they are allowed to do their business is in the cage. Accidents will still occur sometimes and it is important for you to be accepting about this.
Gradually, allow your rabbits into more rooms of the house after they have mastered their toilet habits.
You should also be very careful with electrical cords. Young rabbits are especially playful and like to chew on your electrical cords. Even when supervised, many pet rabbits just could not resist chewing on one cord when they see ones, and they do fast enough before you could even stop them. Damaged electrical cords not only are costly for you to repair, but it can post safety hazards to both your pet rabbits and to human too. Therefore, you should bunny-proof your house if you want to allow your indoor rabbit free roaming in the house.
Your rabbits may sometimes chew on carpet and furniture or even plants too and you should be prepared about this. One way how you can prevent this is by giving them enough chewing toys. Chew toys include the cardboard portion of the toilet roll or you may purchase chewing block from pet store. Give them adequate chewing time and they will not be that interested to chew on your furniture.
You will also notice that your indoor rabbits love to rub their chins on legs of furnitures. This is perfectly normal. Rabbits have their scent gland on their chin and by rubbing their chins on the furniture they are leaving their scent and are in effect telling the other rabbits that this piece of furniture now belongs to them.
Keeping rabbit indoor as house rabbit is very fun. House rabbits bond closer with their owners and are not necessarily a nuisance if you understand them well enough. Rabbits have been domesticated for less than 100 years, and still retained much of their wild rabbit’s behaviour. They will provide you with much of their bunny tricks such as jumping suddenly into mid-air. This is called the binkie. They may even rub their chin on your toes, effectively telling you that the toes belong to them now!
If you do not intend to allow your rabbit the freedom to explore the house all the time, you can also purchase indoor rabbit run. A play pen such as those used for toddlers are perfectly suitable to be made as indoor rabbit run.
As you sit on your sofa watching the television, your house rabbit may jump on the sofa and demand that you pat him on his head or scratch his ears. If you have forgotten to feed him, he will try to displace you from the sofa by digging on your lap or biting your pants. You may need to make some adjustment to keep your rabbits indoor, but it is only a small hassle and adjustment compared to the great joy of living with a house rabbit.