If you’ve done your homework and determined that you and your family are ready to welcome a rabbit into your home, then consider adoption!
Rabbit rescues and animal shelters are continually overrun with homeless rabbits. There are bunnies of all ages, shapes, and sizes just waiting for their forever homes. A shelter volunteer can help match you up with just the right bunny (or pair of bonded bunnies).
Plus, adopting a rabbit from a rescue or shelter doesn’t just benefit the bunny. Many rescues litter train the rabbits in their care and acclimate them (if needed) to living inside the home. Further, if the rabbits are mature enough, most rescues will have the rabbits neutered/spayed. This will save you money on vet bills for the procedure.
To find out more reasons to adopt a rabbit from a shelter as opposed to purchasing one from a breeder or pet store, see our article, “Benefits of Adopting a Pet Rabbit.”
If you’re ready to find a bunny in your area, you can start with PetFinder or you can check out the House Rabbit Society website for links to all of their regional chapters.
In case you didn’t know, February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit month!
To celebrate, Petco is hosting a “Meet the Critters” adoption event this weekend, February 18th – 19th, from 1-2pm in their stores nationwide. Petco does not sell or breed rabbits. Instead, they work with local rescue groups to find forever homes for available bunnies. During the event, volunteers from the rescue groups will be on hand to offer advice on how to properly care for house rabbits.
If you’re wondering if a pet rabbit is a good fit for you and your family, see our article, Thinking About Getting a Pet Rabbit? to find out. To learn more about why adopting a pet rabbit from a shelter or rescue is a wonderful alternative to buying one from a store or breeder, see our article, Benefits of Adopting a Pet Rabbit.
In our earlier post, we mentioned that February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month. For those of you inspired to add a bunny to your family, here are a few basic tips before you bring your new furry friend home.
- Finances: Be prepared to spend money up front on the adoption fee, as well as housing/food/bunny proofing supplies. Be sure you’ll be able to afford ongoing costs for your bunny on food, litter, and vet bills (including spay/neuter fees if your bunny didn’t get the surgery while at the shelter/rescue). So often I receive heartbreaking emails from people whose rabbit needs veterinary attention, but they cannot afford it. Please don’t let that happen to your bunny. Check out Petfinder’s chart of estimated yearly costs of pet ownership to give you an idea.
- Bunny Housing: Rabbits are social animals. The location of your rabbit’s housing area (which can take the form of a cage, puppy pen, bunny condo, or just an area with the food, litter boxes, and cardboard castles if your bunny is free reign) is an extremely important consideration. Make sure your rabbit has a place to relax by himself, but make sure that he’s not completely secluded from your family. Rabbits need social interaction, plenty of exercise, and a lot of enrichment activities. Take a look at our Housing article to learn more.
- Bunny Proofing: If your bunny will have free reign in your house/apartment/room, you will absolutely need to bunny proof the area. Even if you keep your bunny in a cage, condo, or puppy pen, you still will need to safeguard your home when you let your rabbit out for supervised exercise. Rabbits are very curious and persistent creatures. They will find a way into your computer cables, wires, molding, couch piping, slightly frayed rug, etc. They will eat your most important documents. Check out our Bunny Proofing article for tips on protecting your bunny and your things.
- Enrichment: Rabbits will get into trouble if they’re bored. They’ll make their own fun chewing your possessions if you don’t provide alternate forms of entertainment. A great diversion for rabbits is a cardboard castle filled with empty toilet paper rolls, old phone books, and other paper products you find around the house.
- Litterbox Training: Most rabbit rescues will start the process of litter training the bunnies they take in. So your bunny should have the basics down, but sometimes rabbits forget their good habits once they move into their new home. This is natural because the drastic change in environment can be very stressful. Litter training can be frustrating at times, but the key is persistence and consistent reinforcement of good habits. Read our article about litter training to learn more.
- Nutrition: It’s important to have a good understanding of your rabbit’s nutritional needs throughout his/her life. Proper nutrition (and in the correct amounts) is vital for your rabbit’s well-being. The staple of a rabbit’s diet is fiber. But for a more detailed explanation, see our article, What to Feed Your House Rabbit. Another great link is the House Rabbit Society’s article about diet, which discusses the appropriate amounts as well as types of food to give your rabbit from youth to old age.
- Bonding with Your Bunny: Give your rabbit time to adjust to his/her new setting before expecting him/her to be your new best friend. Check out our article about building a relationship so you get off on the right foot. Rabbits can be quite affectionate animals, but personalities definitely vary from individual to individual. Most rabbits don’t particularly like being held/picked up, and some bunnies are more aloof than others. Talk with a volunteer at a local rabbit rescue to learn more about which rabbit (or pair of rabbits) has a personality that will be a good fit for you and your family.
Bottom line: Do your research first! Check out our articles under the Rabbit Care, Rabbit Behavior, Health, and General sections to learn more. There are also many other websites devoted to rabbit care education. Go to our Resources page to find other useful websites.
February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month! So if you or someone you know is interested in becoming a rabbit owner, definitely look to shelters and rescues first. There is an overwhelming number of shelter rabbits looking for a forever homes. You can find a range of different personalities, breeds, and ages in shelters/rescues, and the dedicated volunteers will be able to find a good match for you and your family.
To learn more, check out our article about the Benefits of Adopting a Pet Rabbit.
Find homeless bunnies in your area on Petfinder.