Rabbits are delicate creatures which have specific housing needs:
INDOORS: First and foremost, rabbits MUST be housed indoors at all times. Outdoor dangers include parasite infection, animal attack, and sensitivity to weather extremes (both cold and heat).
ENCLOSURES: Ideally, rabbits should be housed part-time in a puppy exercise pen or a dog crate large enough to accommodate their litter box, food bowls, toys, and plenty of room for the rabbit to stand, stretch, and walk a bit. Wire-bottom cages are not recommended due to the rabbit’s delicate feet susceptible to debilitating sore hocks. It’s recommended rabbits are confined during the hours their owners are sleeping and at work.
They should have several hours of supervised, out-of-cage playtime daily with power cords and wires kept out of chewing reach, to prevent electrocution. We call this “bunny proofing.” Carpeting underfoot is necessary to prevent uncomfortable slipping and sliding that can cause injury and discourage exercise.
TOYS/STIMULATION: Corrugated cardboard, unpainted baskets, natural woven mats, baby keys/rings, stacking cups will keep them busy and entertained. However, nothing is more important to a rabbits sense of well being then a properly assembled litter box, see below.
LITTER BOX: Another amazing thing about rabbits is that they can be litter box trained! An ideal litter box is big enough for your rabbit to easily hop in and turn around. A cat litter pans are better than corner litter pans, which are far too small. Line the bottom with rabbit-safe litter; either thick sections of newspaper, pelleted litter or soft paper bedding. Then top with copious amounts of timothy hay. This will create a recreational place to graze in addition to a potty spot. Note that most rabbits should eat roughly their own body size of hay daily.
You can read more detail about rabbit housing on longislandrabbitrescue.org and rabbit.org. Rabbits are a lot of work and require different accommodations than dogs and cats. But if you provide them with the ideal setup, their personalities and intelligence can come through and they will be a much more fun companion.
If you are considering adopting a companion rabbit, or have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org