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.”
To promote rabbit care and adoption, AfFURmation and Bunny’s Blog are co-hosting a Rabbit Adoptathon Hop starting Sunday, May 13th at 6pm ET and ending at 6pm ET on Saturday May 19th.
Here’s what you do to get involved in spreading awareness:
If you have a blog, create a post anytime during this week about rabbit care or share information about adoptable bunnies. Add in the Rabbit Adoptathon badge (code below) so others can do the same on their blogs.
If you’re on Facebook, you can share an adoptable bunny’s information by using the Facebook Share button located on each animal’s profile page on Petfinder.com.
(Copy the code above and paste it into your blog if you want to get involved.)
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.
The winning story came from Kelly S. in Boston, who volunteered at a local shelter and watched as a large white bunny waited and waited for her turn to be adopted.
“Everything changed when Bunnicula, a large New Zealand rabbit, was brought to the shelter. The sign on the window of her cage stated that her previous owners no longer had time to care for her. I opened the door to her cage that first day and Bunnicula hopped right over to me, giving my hand a little nudge to let me know she wanted attention.”
As January comes to a close, we are entering a time when many people may be suddenly inspired to buy a pet rabbit. The Chinese Year of the Rabbit starts February 3rd, and Easter is around the corner on April 24th. Of course, at My House Rabbit, we love having rabbits as pets, and we love that many other people share that sentiment. However, before prospective bunny owners make any impulse buys, we wanted to encourage a few things:
Do your homework about pet rabbits first! Make sure a bunny is right for you and your family. Check out these articles:
Second, if you have done your research and are certain you can provide a loving home to a bunny, we strongly encourage you to adopt a bunny from a rescue or shelter. Shelters are overrun with homeless bunnies in need of forever homes. Check out the following article for many reasons why adopting a bunny is preferable to buying one from a pet store or breeder.
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.
I wrote an article for the local paper here in southeastern CT about the benefits of adopting a rabbit in honor of February being “Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month.”
Here’s an excerpt:
If you are uninitiated to the world of bunnies, you may not realize that February is “Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month.” So in the spirit of spreading awareness, here are a few benefits of adopting a pet rabbit from a rescue or shelter.
But before you get too excited about getting a rabbit, it should be noted that although rabbits make wonderful indoor companions (who can be easily litter trained), they are not low maintenance pets. Rabbits require the same amount of care and attention as cats or dogs, and they can live around 10 years or more. But if you and your family are willing to make the commitment, read on!
PETCO announced today that it is phasing out its rabbit sales. Instead, the chain of pet stores is expanding its rabbit adoption efforts across the US. According to PETCO CEO Jim Myers, “Rabbits are great companion animals, and we believe PETCO can play a pivotal role in partnering with animal-welfare groups to connect responsible pet parents with happy, healthy neutered rabbits through in-store adoptions nationwide.”
The shift in policy is welcoming news to the thousands of rabbit rescues overrun with abandoned bunnies in need of forever homes.