Prior to getting my first rabbit I wrote them off as being a novelty, something you get until you can get a “proper” pet (a dog or cat). Being that I wasn’t allowed to have a dog or cat in my apartment, I figured a rabbit was better than nothing. Irresponsible? Yes. Ignorant? Assuredly. Best decision I have ever made? Definitely!
Scout was 6 weeks old when I bought her. The plan was to keep her housed in a hutch primarily and have her out in the living room with us when we were home. We naively thought that would work for Scout. We also naively believed the pet store when they told us she was a mini lop (spoiler! She wasn’t and outgrew her hutch). It became quickly apparent that this was an intelligent, confident, curious, and loving creature who would not tolerate being confined and away from the action of our household. The hutch swiftly became the laundry (and only when we were out) and the laundry rapidly became the entire apartment whether we were home or not.
It is important to note that rabbits are not ‘easy’ pets, nor are they inexpensive. They chew things they shouldn’t, usually expensive things. Their veterinary work is expensive as they are classed as ‘exotics’. They require de-sexing (for their temperament, litter training and most significantly longevity of life) and annual inoculations to protect against government-introduced viruses. They are prey animals and can get overwhelmed quickly running away and seeming unsocial. They have a special diet of hay, vet recommended pellets, and fresh leafy greens (they eat a lot!). They also require space that is theirs that are well secured, free of dangers, and with places to hide.
That said, rabbits make wonderful pets and are especially conducive to apartment living. They are naturally clean, and much like cats, they are able to be toilet trained with relative ease (this becomes much easier after de-sexing). They can make great pets for children who are taught to approach them calmly and respect the boundaries of a rabbit’s tolerance, they don’t make a lot of noise unless as in our case, you are late with breakfast, then bowls start getting thrown around. Most significantly I have found them to be the most wonderful companions.
Scout rapidly made herself at home and a cherished member of our family. Her strength of character and her intelligence shone like a beacon from the outset. However, as with any animal, you get back what you put in. If you put time, effort, and love into them you will find yourself with a pet whom adores you, wants to be with you and part of your home.
My family and I have garnered much joy, laughter and love from these beautiful animals and I hope others read this and consider opening their homes to a rabbit in desperate need of adoption. It was the best thing we ever did.
- Natascha Rohrbacher (guest blogger)