Originally, the rabbit was not made to live locked up in a cage. Deprived of activity, the animal can develop behavioral disorders and health problems. The good news? The rodent can acclimatize perfectly to life in an apartment provided that all the necessary precautions are taken for its well-being. It’s up to you!
Teaching rabbits how to live in an apartment
Letting the rabbit explore your apartment is essential to its development, but before releasing it, you must teach it not to do anything stupid. The best way to do this is to train him (as you would do with a dog) with treats adapted to rabbits. Usually, the rodent is clean and defecates in one place. If it does so out of its litter box, place the droppings in its litter box and then put the animal on top. When he goes on his own, reward him with the treat. Similarly, when he starts chewing on a piece of furniture, say “no” in a firm tone and congratulate him if he obeyed. Patience is golden, repeat the learning gestures until he integrates them. To facilitate education, it is advisable to adopt a bunny after weaning (around three months) which will get used to life in an apartment very early on.
The apartment in semi-freedom
Endowed with a powerful musculature, the rabbit is “made” to frolic in the meadows. In order to give your pet the opportunity to let off as much steam as possible, you can offer it a life in semi-liberty by making a few changes in your apartment. The store offers foldable grids of different sizes that you just have to assemble to make a large enclosure, some of which are more than 2 meters long. Other products with a modular structure can easily be enlarged, reduced and create floors. It is possible to add additional sections to form a maze that the rabbits enjoy exploring or a tunnel that they will be happy to go through to do their daily exercise. To protect the floor, install washable cloths or wax cloth.
Total freedom for the rabbit in an apartment
What if you dared to have total freedom, like a cat? The rabbit’s territory can include the whole apartment or a single room. In his domain, place all his accessories: litter box, bowl, water, rack, shelter to hide, basket, cushion, carpet or mat. Observe what he prefers for his comfort and adapt his habitat according to his desires. When you are at home, you can open his bedroom door and let him wander around under your close supervision. His natural curiosity will be satisfied and he will gain considerably in well-being. It will be necessary beforehand to have passed through the education box to avoid marking the territory with a stream of urine.
A cage adapted to the rabbit’s needs
If you have no other option than the cage, plan generous dimensions to ensure its well-being. Choose large and tall because rodents like to stand on their hind legs, roost on high points and cavort. Remember to place it in a place that is not too noisy or too transient, away from drafts and radiators. The place should not be too isolated because the rabbit enjoys family life. In the wild, rabbits are prey and their instinct is to hide from predators, against which they have no other defense than to stay frozen or to run away in their burrow. To increase his confidence, his cage must look like a den enriched with his own objects: toys, tunnel, house and everything necessary for his comfort: basket, cushion, carpet or mat.
The essential accessories are :
The rack for the hay accessible permanently;
The bottle or the pipette to offer water at will;
The feeding bowl for the food;
Litter made of pine, corn, hemp or flax shavings. To be changed at least once a week.
Its habitat must be perfectly maintained to prevent it from catching diseases and parasites.
Securing the apartment for the rabbit
Keep in mind that certain places and materials pose a risk to the small rodent who is unaware of the danger around him. The animal tends to nibble everything, so be sure to :
Place cables and wires in a protective sheath ;
Protect the feet of furniture that could be gnawed on;
Remove carpets on which it is likely to urinate;
Make plants inaccessible to him because they are toxic for him;
Deny him access to a balcony that is not full;
Hide your valuables;
Put away medicines and household products;
Prevent him from accessing the kitchen or a room with an unsecured chimney.
Preserve the health of the rabbit in an apartment
Whether caged or free in the apartment, rabbits are exposed to various diseases against which vaccines exist. Two pathologies in particular can have serious consequences on the animal:
Myxomatosis is transmitted by insect, tick or flea bites and also by another rabbit. Death occurs rapidly;
The haemorrhagic viral disease is transmitted by direct contact between rabbits, with humans, food, stools of a dog having ingested contaminated corpses. Transmission is also by insects. Death occurs within 24 to 48 hours.
Your rabbit is at ease, it stretches its paws like a cat, lets itself be cuddled, explores, plays? So many signs of his happiness. By making improvements to his habitat, spending time with him to avoid boredom and taking care of his health, you will make your city rabbit as happy as a field rabbit!