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Are Rabbit Cages Cruel?

Are rabbit cages cruel?   I know that I will most likely get some very strong opinions about this from rabbit owners all across the world.  However, it is time we sit down and have a candid conversation about this subject.

First of all I want to be very, very clear.  This article doesn't have anything to do with the issue of whether a rabbit should be living outside in a tiny hutch.  The name of this website is "I love my house rabbit" and I think we can all agree that if you are going to bring a rabbit into your family, it is best to have it inside.

 Also this is not an article that is in anyway against allowing your rabbit to live "free range" in your home.  If you can do this and if your bunny is comfortable in this situation, it is a very good thing.

So, having cleared that up, it is time to broach the subject of whether or not it is "cruel" to have your rabbit in a cage inside your home.  The reason I bring this up is because we share a lot of pictures on our Facebook page that others have posted.  Some of those pics show a bunny in a cage.  Almost everytime we share such a picture we get at least a few people (usually using all caps) saying "YOU ARE SO CRUEL!!  WHY DON'T YOU EVER LET YOUR RABBIT OUT TO RUN????  YOU ARE INHUMANE AND DON'T DESERVE TO HAVE A RABBIT!!!!" and so on and so forth.

We are going to look a little deeper into this subject and understand why some people do choose to keep their rabbit(s) in a cage and whether or not it is cruel.

But first, let's define "cage".  In this article I will be using the word "cage" to mean any enclosure where are rabbit can be "locked" in and does not have full range of a home.  This includes x-pens, 3 story condos, and cages you can buy at the pet store.  I will note a difference when I am specifically talking about a cage that is very small and not considered appropriate for most bunnies under most circumstances.

Why some people choose to keep their bunny in a cage.

Reason #1 – They don't know any better.  Think about it for a minute. If you have never had a rabbit before and somehow one arrives into your life, most people in the general public don't know what they are doing but truly want to take good care of their buns.  

It's unfortunate that most pet stores only offer these kinds of cages

They go to Petco or Petsmart believing that they will get the best supplies for their bunny there.  Of course few employees there know much more than to recommend a cage, usually a small one, to the novice bunny owner.  Heck, if these big box stores won't even pull potentially deadly treats off the shelves, do you really think they know better than to sell tiny rabbit cages?

So now our well meaning new rabbit owner buys the cage and thinks they've done the right thing.  They are super excited about their new bunny so they take a pic (with bunny in cage) and post it to a Facebook page to brag.  Then they get screamed at by people all over the globe claiming they are cruel.  But where you really that much different when you go your first rabbit?  Honestly, how many of you did not know that rabbits could even be house pets when you first got yours?  Sure some of you where very aware of the "house rabbit" lifestyle but most people who get a rabbit learn about it after they have their new charge.

So, is it cruel?  Well perhaps it is.  When rabbits are kept in cages that are very small day after day after day and never allowed to exercise I think we can agree that is not good for the rabbit.  But was it the rabbit owners intention to be cruel? No, in fact they where trying to do the right thing.  

Remember, the house rabbit "movement" is still a fairly new phenomenon (started to become popular in the 80's).  Most people grew up believing it was perfectly OK to put a rabbit in a small cage and had no clue there was any other way.  In fact pet magazines, pet stores, etc all perpetuate this notion with pictures of bunnies in small cages, normalizing it further.

Wouldn't it be nice if pet stores offered cages like this one!

Maybe we need to show a little restraint and understanding in that either this owner does not know better yet or it is not the full story.   Perhaps they  let their rabbit out most hours of the day but that story is not told in a single picture on Facebook.  Helpful suggestions and further education are lightyears better than just labeling that person as "cruel".  Also lobbying for better, more appropriate products in pet stores (who should know better) will help alleviate this problem. 

 

Reason #2 – They need to protect their house.  Some people do not accept this as an excuse and when it comes to tiny cages or never letting their bunnies out, I understand why.  However there are many, many, many rabbit owners who take excellent care of their rabbits, let them out for several hours a day (if not all day) but who are not willing to have their drywall, baseboards, etc chewed up when they are away or sleeping.  

Is it fair to say that these loving, attentive owners are cruel or abusive by putting their bunnies in a safe spot when they can't be watched (again, not excusing very small cages, the enclosure should be comfortable for the bun)?  Is it not in the bunnies best interest to be kept safe from dangers too?  What about a spouse that really isn't "in to" rabbits.  What will his/her reaction be when bunny has chewed a hole in the families brand new couch?  I suppose this is how some rabbits find their way to shelters.

So the questions again is, is this cruel?  I think it would be crazy to deny a bunny a happy, healthy forever home just because he would not be allowed to run loose 24/7.  Obviously it would not be good if bunny was locked up 24/7 but is a happy medium not attainable?   Is 1 or 2 hours too little time?  Is 4 or 5 hours of play time enough?  

These are debates we can have but should rabbits remain in shelters and not be adopted because the new owners will not allow them to have full run of the house 24/7 or not be willing to dedicate an entire room of the house to the bunny?  Further education, tips, and tricks about bunnyproofing your home can help many rabbit owners to allow their buns more free time.  

Again, please remember if you see a picture of a bunny in a cage, don't assume the rabbit is never allowed out and is bored out of his mind.  It may be that it just so happens to be the moment when a good picture was captured and bunny immediately hopped out and went roaming.

 

Reason #3 – The rabbit likes the cage.  Now I really don't know how common this is but this reason hits home for us.  When we got Lola she was kept in a very small cage that was not at all appropriate.  Apperently she lived for two years in a hutch outside and was recently brought in with this cage.  When we got Lola we weren't exactly expecting to get a rabbit so we where unprepared.  A larger enclosure needed to be constructed.  So while Lola waited we would remove the entire top of the cage to give her plenty of excercise since we where sure she must be going stir crazy in the cage.  

To our surprise Lola refused to leave the base of the cage.  It took about a week to get her new enclosure done and for that entire time she never left that cage base.  We put the top back on at night (since we where afraid she would overcome her fear during the night and chew everything) and took it back off in the morning.  We even lifted her out of the cage and put her on the floor but with one strong hop she was back in the base.

Merle and Lola hanging out in their cage even with the door wide open!

The day came when her new, grander enclosure was done.  We placed her in it and she hopped hesitently at first from one end to the other.  After a few days she was very comfortable and we thought that perhaps now that she is away from her "home base" she will be more likely to explore and play in the rest of the house.  

Everyday we opened the door of her new home to give her play time and ever day she stayed in her house.  She would barely even poke her nose out.  This went on for a couple of months.  Then we got Merle.  Merle was a rescue from our local animal shelter and I new he would be a great companion for Lola who seemed lonely.  Merle is young and not afraid of anything so he easily and quickly decided the entire house was his domain.

Lola and Merle have been together for over 2 months now and in that time Lola has strayed outside the cage maybe a dozen times.  She prefers to stay in.  Merle spends about an hour in the morning exploring the house (checking to see if the kids dropped any goodies under the table) and returns to the cage to relax during the day. In the evenings he will often come out again (especially when the kids are eating dinner 🙂 )

Again, is this cruel?  Both rabbits have full access to spend at least most of their time outside the cage but one chooses to stay in all the time and the other readily goes back there to nap during the day.  My feelings are that it would have been cruel to Lola to not give her this sanctuary.  While I hope she gets more and more adventurous over time I believe she will always feel more comfortable in her cage than out.  Forcing her to live without a cage because some rabbit owners would call it "cruel" would have been one of the cruelest things we could have done to her.  

Without a cage Merle would probably do just fine, he would claim some other area of the house to sleep in (and at times has) but he also feels at ease and shows preference to his cage.

You may judge this owner for the size of the cage but did you know they put the buns in there just long enough to clean their much larger enclosure and that they get many hours of exercise a day?

The purpose of this discussion is really to have open, honest dialogue with one another.  So often in our society we fling out the word "cruel" or "inhumane" simply because someone does not care for their pet exactly the same way we do.  But every animal is different, every persons knowledge base is different, and every situation is different.  

I think we should encourage people who are willing to share their life with rabbits and cut them some slack when they don't measure up to our standards.  We may be making all the wrong assumptions about the actual quality of care the rabbit is receiving! Sharing our own experiences, answering questions, and education are the best way to improve the quality of life for our furry friends all over the world.

Let's reserve the words "cruel" and "inhumane" for people like the teenager in this article.

If you are thinking perhaps your bunnies cage is too small, check out this article about indoor rabbit cages for different ideas!

What do you think.  Are your rabbits free range 24/7 or do you have a cage in your home?  How often do your rabbits have "play time" and what special arrangements have you made to make your bunnies as comfortable as possible in their enclosures?

 

  1. Bobbi Bobbi

    All of my rabbits like their cages.  When I bring them out to play, they will play for a little while but then go back into their cages where they feel most comfortable.  I do not want to have the rabbits running freely through our house for their safety, as well as to keep them from damaging the house.  I already have several holes and many urine stains on the carpet in the hallway where I allow them to play, plus several baseboards/doorframes were chewed up when I had guinea pigs.  I prefer to restrict their access to the rest of the house to minimize damage.  There are also a lot of electrical wires that are a danger to the rabbits.  Another problem is that I have 6 rabbits (3 bonded pairs) and they can't roam freely due to the need to be separated.

    • Erica Luisi Erica Luisi

      HOUSE DAMAGE: If your rabbits are toilet trained, try putting out a toilet in the same spot daily to encourage them to keep clean when roaming. Works very well when my buns come into the kitchen.
      ELECTRICAL WIRES: Use some hair ties/grips/clasps to hold wires out of the way, or leave toys and chews (like old loo roll cardboard tubes) for distractions. If you can't get the wires up and out of the way, it's easy to either fence them off with material temporarily or just don't let the bunny in that room. You could also enlarge their run/enclosure or set up chicken wire fences on wood panels.
      6 RABBITS: I hope someone else helps you look after them, the most I have had at once was 4 and that was a handful even with 4 family members helping out. PLEASE PLEASE make sure they are all 100% healthy, nutured/spaid and have enough room. If there are any problems, don't hesitate to ask a rescue/Woodgreen/RSPA for friendly adive or to take them off your hands. It's more important that they are all well taken care of and get all the love and attention social animals like bunnies do than to indulge in cute fluffy companions! Also the house damage needs to be reparied urgently so bunnies aren't tempted to gnaw/get paws stuck/hurt legs when running through the house
       
      HOPE ADVICE HELPED, GOOD JOB WITH ALL THE BUNS!

  2. Cris Soto Cris Soto

    My rabbit's name is also LoLa.  She is a dutch bunny and was abandoned in early summer of 2011 by the family who lives behind my house. The family had packed and left for summer vacation and left the poor rabbit to fend for itself in the Florida  heat and  summer rainy season.I noticed the little rabbit trying to find shelter from the rains and eventually I was able to catch her and brought into the house.  The humane society and Domestic animal services were both unable to take her in, so I adopted her.  I never had a rabbit, so I quickly bought text books and join several groups on facebook to learn about her "kind".  I had her spayed, bought a cage and tried to learn as much as I could about her.   I knew right away I would not keep her "caged" , so I quickly learned to "rabbit proof" the house with critter cord and bought her every imaginable safe bunny chew toy I could find.  I also bought cardboard tunnels and cottages.  she literaly has a "village" in the living room area, behind the human furniture.  she has  two cages…both with doors removed. they are located at each end of the house which she uses as her litter tray and where I place her pellets and fresh hay.  My first priority is to make sure LoLa was safe while roaming free around the house.  When I found LoLa, I had recently retired so I was able to keep an eye on her as she adjusted to her new home and privileges.  She lives with 5 cats (mostly old ones) and 2 small dogs.  They all adore her.  She sleeps with them all.  It was trial and error since the first day she was allowed to roam free in the house and she has passed the test.  She does not chew furniture, nor base boards.  My floors are tiled and the house is only one floor with a large, screened lanai area that has a pet door which leads into to it.  I'm hoping one day LoLa will learn to use the pet door so I won't have to keep opening  the sliding doors to let her out in the lanai.  Would it have been this easy with a different rabbit? … perhaps not.  I do know that LoLa is a very well adjusted rabbit.  She does not neurotically chew things.  She hides in her village whenever she wants the privacy. I think the degree of freedom a rabbit is given depends on the rabbit and the set-up of the house,  I have no kids.  all my pets get along.  The home is peaceful, even to the point of having new age music playing throughout the house.  Because of this, LoLa is able to live "safely"  as a "free roaming bunny".  I've learned alot about rabbits… I'm still learning.  Her treats and chew toys aren't bought at a local Pet Store.  They are delivered, by UPS, from places such as Binkybunny.com….. LOL..  and, yes, LoLa is spoiled.

  3. erica erica

    We are very fortunate to have a house big enough to give bun his own room when we are not home to have him run free in the whole house. We also like to give the cats time to socialize with us as well, so everyone needs to take turns having quiet times in their rooms " 🙂 That being said, We started out with a cage in the living room because we couldn't give him his own room for awhile, and his cage was clearly his safe haven. Then and now, he runs for the cage whenever he is spooked or when he's trying to tell us he's not in the mood to be picked. He also lets us know he's ready for bed when he hops into his cage because that's where he gets his water check and fresh treats. He knows his routine, and I think it's good to have a safe haven for buns instead of ONLY a wide open space without a cage. That being said, I hate to think of buns trapped in cages all the time — ours is only closed when to leave it open would result in danger, such as when dogs come to visit or we are transporting to a vacation house. Making a cage a cozy spot rather than a clinical wire holder makes a big difference. I also hate to think that some people won't welcome buns into their home and give love and care but leave them to waste away in a shelter just because we are driving them off talking about cages. Let people come to see the joys that a free range bun can provide…snuggles, binkies, kisses, and nose bops….and that rabbit will be out more often than they anticipated.

  4. Heather Heather

    I have 3 bunnies. Two are bonded and are out for half the day and the other is in her large condo. Then I switch. All 3 of them are well behaved when free roaming after a few mishaps. 🙂 I really want to get all 3 neutered, but it's taking a while … then I will probably let all 3 out at time.

  5. Julie Julie

    Thank you for posting this article! We are trying hard to let Twinkie out of her (indoor) cage, but have not been successful yet for the following reasons. Can someone help/advise us please?!
    Firstly, we have 2 cats in the house who think our bunny is the best toy ever for chasing.  My cats love my bun, but they just like to run after her, which scares the bun. (Especially the 7 month old kitten …who also likes to get into Twinkie's cage!) I've tried putting the cats in the bedroom, but I can't leave them in there for long.
    Secondly, Twinkie (mini Dutch, I think) is very skittish, sometimes aggressive/territorial, and is very difficult to catch to put back in her cage, when it's time to let the cats out. (My husband nicknamed her "killer!") 🙂
    Thirdly, when we let her out, we can't get her to use a litterbox outside the cage (inside the cage she sleeps in the clean litterbox & the rest of the cage is the toilet!) I don't mind picking up her dry pellets from the carpet but the pee is a different matter.
    Finally, I know there are creative ways to make cages bigger & build enclosures, but our house is very small. There is just no roonm for fancy condos.
    I would love to let her out more, but don't know what to do about there issues. Any advice? 🙂

  6. Julie Julie

    Hi there,
    I wrote a long post & it did not appear here. Do they get held & reviewed first, or should I write it all again?

  7. Julie Julie

    Great article – My bunny has a large hutch located on the very large backyard verandah where we can also leave the back door open for her to hop inside and roam around whereever she pleases and when she is hungry she will hop back outside on the verandah and in her hutch she eats. Every morning and every evening we take her down to the garden where fresh herbs and vegetables are growing and she munches and binkies and runs around until she is exhausted and then she hops back up to the verandah and flops 🙂

  8. I have 4 rabbits (two bonded pairs) and each pair have a 4 story condo that i built for them AND they have their own room in my appartment ! They get a couple of hours of play time everyday but spend half of that time in their condo napping even if their door is open. So i guess they are pretty comfortable in their ''cages'' ! 😉 I agree with the fact that we are quick to juge other people by their picture and i think that the REAL problem is the information that people get from pet stores ! These pet stores should know better about the animals they are selling to give proper information to new owners or they shouldn't sell them ! Maybe that way, poeple that get rabbits would be better informed  about the needs of these sweet creatures 🙂

  9. James and Oreo James and Oreo

    Oreo and I now travel every week (via car) and stay at a different hotel room every week. I can't let her run loose in the room while I'm at work. Sometimes she likes to go in her cage even when the door is open before/after work — especially if she is not in the mood for a walk, etc, A rabbit should always have some place to call their own, even if the door is usually open.
     

  10. Cindy Restuccia Cindy Restuccia

    I have a brother and sister rabblit that are almost a year old. Luckily, my own house is big enough that my rabbits have the run of a ceramic tiled room only I do have metal fences around the perimenter of the room. I don't want them chewing electrical cords, my carpet, my furniture, etc.,outside of the ceramic tiled space which doesn't have doors but realize they need some space to run when they want to which is usually at night. I have a small plastic dog house in the center of the fenced-in area in the room with a litter box in it. I have grass mats at different places in the room along with a nice soft big black fluffy mat for them to lie on. My rabbits are Jersey Woolies and the black mat is a great fur trapper, too. They don't chew it since they have plenty of grass mats to chew.  They have plenty of wood structures ordered from a reliable company to play with and hide in in the fenced area. I found that they destroy cardboard too quickly. I love Cottontail Cottages, but they don't last long with my rabbits!  I keep their pellets in a big ceramic bowl on the plastic pads that go under dish drying racks.The bowl is so big that they both can get their noses and mouths in the dish at the same time.  I keep their water in a bottle attached to the wire gating so it drips (from time to time) on the plastic pad next to the food bowl. I give them greens everyday, and I put those on another plastic pad. The Timothy Hay for eating is in a manger next to their greens and their pellet bowl. They chew on their wood toys, and I have plenty of willow balls, rings, baskets,apple tree sticks etc. that they can chew on, too. 
    I've had rabbits as pets for 25 years, and this has been the best living situation for them that I have had. We recently moved.  When I did have a cage, I had  a two story rabbit condo, I let them run all the time in a smaller space enclosed by the wire fencing attached to the cage that you can buy at a pet store. The flooring was Pergo then, and their food, water, and litter were in the cage. The cage door was open all the time.  They  had enough room to do binkies whenever they wanted!  Rabbits like to be out of a cage when we like to sleep!  I think it's best they are not in a cage in the early morning or at dusk and at night when they want to be active. I think my rabbits are happy with their home. They still need some place to hide though which a cage really doesn't do since it's open. Wire floors are bad for rabbits hocks, too.
    A cage is for humans' convenience and not really in the best interest of rabbits  It's so easy to rig up what I did for my rabbits. It may cost a little more, but before you rescue a rabbit, you need to have money to properly accommodate them and to feed them and time to daily clean their housing.  Also, they need to be handled by their humans according to how they want to be held. Most rabbits don't like leaving the floor. I sit in the center of their room and let them decide how they want to interact with me. They love to be petted and climb on me and sniff and kiss my face.
    If a potential rabbit parent can't do the above, rabbits are probably better off at the rescue with people who know how to house them and care for them.  Visit some rescues. See how the rabbits are housed. I would bet it's not in a cage!  People who breed rabbits for show or food use cages, not people who are genuinely interested in the welfare of a pet rabbit. My heart goes out to those poor rabbits who are destined for food, scientific experiments, or show.

  11. Angie Breeden Angie Breeden

    I live in a small apartment and my bunnies are inside.  They are very territorial and would probably bite each others ears off if they were let out together.  Each one of them has a 21 sq foot run with toys, tunnels, a hay nest, fresh salads daily, a few pellets, unlimited timothy hay, and fresh filtered water changed X 2 a day.  I let them out to play often and they binky through the tiny apartment.  They get nail trims and vet visits.  I think they are better off than being euthanized at the shelter to make more room for abandoned bunnies. 

  12. Julimar Julimar

    Nice article! I have always kept a cage for my rabbit at night so he doesn't make a mess while we sleep since our apartment is small – he does like his cage, to be honest, and we have made sure it is the adequate size. Interestingly, he usually stays pretty quiet in the early morning. (And no wire floors here, I learned from that mistake YEARS ago!). However, the rest of the day he is always in an enclosure where he has a LOT of room to move and play, and most days, we let him out to roam the whole apartment for a while. We'd have him run all over 24/7 but he insists on pooping and peeing near our guinea pig's cage no matter how much we clean *sigh*. And he is neutered and litter-trained (acted like it for a while), but he has decided he *wants* to poop on the floor too, hence the enclosure and cage at night. Sounds like I need bunny boot camp… Then again, he is also a senior bunny (9 yrs old!). But I have felt super guilty many times for not being able to have a huge room just for my bunny. I keep trying to improve my economic situation so I can actually move to a house where he can have more free roam. 

  13. Laura Laura

    I think your article was great. You are right when you say that insulting and judging people (whether it's a house-rabbit person calling someone inhumane on Facebook or that 4H lady who came on here and cussed you out and made herself look very sad in the process) doesn't get us anywhere. We all need to be willing to learn from each other, and remember that we can learn something new from others, even those who might do things very differently than ourselves. Thinking we know it all is not the attitude to have, no matter what "side" we are on.
    Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way with my first rabbit Sophie who was bought from a pet store, and died at age 5 on October 29, 2010 from uterine cancer, due to the fact that I thought all those people telling me I had to spay her were exaggerating the risk and trying to push their "opinion" on me. Someone has to say it: never take the advice of 4H over that of your veterinian on your pet's health!!
    I told myself I didn't need to worry about pregnancy (she was never around other animals and was strictly indoors), which incidentally was true, but now I know that that was beside the point. She had a big metal pet store cage with wire grating and those awful corner litter boxes. I didn't know bunnies could even use litter boxes until she was almost 1, poor bunny. : (
    She got lots of love as my bunnies have always been my best friends. I am not married and have no children, so she was rarely short of bunny massages or fresh veggies and hay. She used to lick my tears away when I would cry. It was the sweetest thing ever. My point in describing all of this is that nothing can replace love (of course), but because of my ignorance and pride, she died years too early. Don't be like I was! You will never forgive yourself. At least I never will. 
    After she died, I decided I would not let her death be in vain and I would do everything I could to help rabbit-kind. I found out that my local humane society has a rabbit rescue program. I adopted a 2 year old boy named Cedar and started volunteering every week (or more often sometimes). I read everything I could find from the House Rabbit Society and similar groups and started from scratch with Cedar. I had a lot to learn, and even more to unlearn. It had been (and still is!) an absolute joy, and I learn something new all the time. I ask questions, and share my own knowledge and experiences as well. 
    So, to answer your original question regarding enclosure/"cage" use and my current baby bunnyface…
    Cedar has a 2-story Leith Petwerks condo, with an awesome wooden ramp. It's a lovely condo, however they are very expensive and I never could have afforded to buy one myself (I worked for a non-profit until I lost my job the day after Thanksgiving last year). However, I was very kindly blessed with the condo by it being given to me by the lady who runs the rabbit rescue I help out at. These condos are great because they are actually made for rabbits specifically. It's made out of nice poplar hardwood and looks more like Ikea bunny-furniture than a cage.
    It also has textured linoleum floors so the buns can have adequate traction, but it's easy to clean as well. Each level is 2'x4'. Cedar also has a 4'x4' ex-pen attached to the condo as a kind of "front yard", and the cage door is always left open. He is in his bunny condo/ex-pen enclosure when I am sleeping at night and when I leave the apartment. This arrangement works well for both of us, and he seems to enjoy both recess and time in his own space. He has a routine, which we all know is so important for rabbits. And having both time in his own space and time to explore the house gives him both variety AND balance, which are equally important.
    I have a small 300 sq. ft. studio, so proportionally to body size, he gets more real estate than his mommy! (which is fine by me) When I'm home (which is most of the time now as I lost my job in November), I open the ex-pen and he gets the run of the apartment. In the Spring, Summer (not on hot days though), and Fall, he gets to be outside on my covered and enclosed 30 sq ft balcony as well (only when I'm home to make sure he stays safe though since at the Humane Society I was taught that it's never safe to leave a rabbit unsupervised outside, no matter how safe or secure one believes their enclosure to be, as raccoons etc can actually scare a rabbit to death even if it can't get to the bunny). Not sure if it's true or not, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. And besides, like I said, I'm done learning the hard way! ;- )

  14. Challis Challis

    I keep my rabbits in a hutch outside, but the weather is never a problem and if it were to be we have a back up plan. Also I make sure that they all get time out of their cages where they can strech their legs and munch on grass.  I can see how if a rabbit is in a cage and just left there as a decration then that can be cruel but rabbit hutches/cages in genral aren't bad; they're just another way for a rabbit to live.  It's whether or not the owner cares enough to make sure the rabbit can get out for exercise. 
    ***This is just my personal opinion of course.

  15. maryann maryann

    i dont think a cage is cruel/inhumane. i think it depends on the situation and the rabbit. some people believe cages for other animals are cruel,as well as crates for dogs. i think a cage should be a safe haven for the rabbit,or any other pet. my past rabbits would prefer to stay in their cage even when we let them out. they would run in the cage when scared to. its much the same for dogs. my dogs crate doors are open and they can go in there if they want. i also prefer to put the dogs in crates and rabbit in the cage when we have to leave.  i think its also best to put the rabbit in his cage when we sleep,i would hate for the dogs to harm him when we couldnt watch them. in the summer our past rabbits would go in a pen outside while we were out with them. i dont trust to leave them outside unless i am there with them would hate for a hawk or eagle to take them  away. also i think that a rabbit should have a cage at least 5 times the size of their body,and tall enough they can stand up and not hit their head. they should have toys,and chews and a hide out as well. i also know when we move to a house instead of an apartment the rabbit will have his own room,just like our dogs will. my dogs and rabbit and parrots are our kids,we cant have children so our fur babies are treated like a child. i also believe that you shouldnt judge by the way something looks. maybe the rabbit was in his cage at night and the person took a pic of him in the cage cause he was doing something really cute. i think we need to think before we speak so as not to hurt somebody. i also think we need to listen to somebody before we judge them. i know sometimes we are so passionate about our fur kids,and their care that we dont take the time to understand another persons situation.    this is a great article and really makes you think and i think it will help new house rabbit parents.

  16. Tiffanie Tiffanie

    My rabbits have always been free range 24/7.  The most restrictions placed on them is usually to shut a door to keep them out of a certain room.  But otherwise they run free.  In order to be free 24/7, like someone mentioned above, it is really important that rabbits are taught what is bad behavior and not to do it.  When my buns chew anything (furniture or baseboard), they get picked up, yelled at and then put down either in a pen or in a corner where I hold them in place for about 20 seconds, the entire time yelling "No biting! No biting!  No biting!".  This doesnt at all physically hurt them, but rather scares them or feels unpleasant.  But I can tell you that it works!  I so much as whisper "no biting" and ears are up, heads on alert… And in general, they dont bite and dont pee in the wrong places, etc.  So seems to work.  I have had 5 rabbits total – currently have 3 – and this has worked for all of them. 
    It never gets old to me to see a rabbit running across my living room floor… I cant imagine having it any other way…
     

  17. Christi Christi

    Bunny cages are not cruel if they provide a safe haven for the rabbit and also if the rabbit is allowed to have time out of the cage and be a member of the family. That doesn’t mean they don’t have to be well maintained though – they should be cleaned regularly and equipped properly. A lot of people (that are handier than me) build their own cages but I chose to buy mine online at http://yourrabbithutch.com/ and it has been a great investment.

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