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Cats & Rabbits Together

As a House Rabbit Society Educator, one of the most comments I hear at community outreach events is: "I can't get a rabbit, I have a cat." That's a logical assumption given that cats are predators while rabbits are prey animals. Surprisingly, however, in domestic (i.e., indoor) situations, cats and rabbits frequently get along fine and are a common combination. 

In a poll on the House Rabbit Society Facebook page of 64 people who share their homes with both species, a majority said their cats and rabbits peacefully coexist: 

Cat and rabbit coexist peacefully but aren't necessarily the best of friends: 42
Rabbit is aggressive toward the cat (i.e., territorial): 13
Cat and rabbit have a close, loving relationship: 6
Cat is aggressive towards the rabbit (considers the rabbit to be prey; you need to keep them separate for the safety of the rabbit): 3

For more information on this seemingly unlikely combination, go to: 

Here are some stories and pictures shared on Facebook:

Debbie Braunschweiger: I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't have cats. I'm an animal lover but it wasn't until later in life that I got my first rabbit. When I moved to OH I got my next bunny Bridget from Columbus HRS. We had 4 cats all with very different personalities. In the photo you can see them all peacefully coexisting. Ernie, the tuxedo cat off to the right came from a foster litter and inherited some feral behavior from his mom. His only interest in our rabbits has always been when they're doing the bunny 500. Then "it's on" and he wants to join in. Consequently the bunnies are never left unsupervised during play time. He would never hurt them but causing a heart attack is a possibility. You always have to respect every animals prey drive regardless of their age or otherwise mellow personality. The total opposite of Ernie was Merlin the black cat closest to Bridget in the photo. He was the only male and the largest in a litter of 5 kittens abandoned at our local shelter. From birth he was a caretaker and as he got older became the "daddy" to any animal foster I took in. It was no surprise when he became BFF's with our Californian, Peppermint or "Peppy" as we called her. The would play together, groom each other, and cuddle on the floor. At night when we'd watch TV Merlin would be on my lap and Peppy on the floor loafing. When it was time to go to bed I'd say "it's time to put the bunny to bed" to Merlin and he'd hop off my lap and go get Peppy by nudging her and flopping down next to her. When Merlin passed before her she mourned him as she would have if he were her bunny BFF. Merlin's sister Blaze and Ernie are now the only two cats left and we have 5 different rabbits now. Blaze has always been indifferent to the rabbits. She is afterall a tortie and feels they're interlopers in her world. Ernie's brother Bert was always afraid of the rabbits and they must've sensed it because he was the only one they ever chased when he crossed their paths. At this point I can't imagine ever not having both in my life.

Connie Cowan: We have always had cats until our daughter brought "Mopsy" home from college back in 2003. We worried about how they would get along, but our two cats were very mellow. As we became involved with rabbit rescue and adopted more, we were surprised how they got along and sometimes a rabbit would run the cat out of the room. Our son's cat now lives with us and she is more of a real cat. We had to watch Eleanor carefully to make sure she knew that Bentley was not to be chased. They are good friends now. Bentley loves to binky around Eleanor! All their personalities are different and each situation has to be handled with caution and patience.

From Amy: Salem and Joy love hanging out near each other when Joy has run time in the living room. 

From Kathy: Gabe, the tripod bunny, with Ellie (laying against him) and Nicolas sitting nearby.
Benita: "Toby (bun) and Moses like to relax near each other."

From Matt: Bruno & KC adore each other!
Judy: Christopher (the cat) and Ms. Parker (the bunny) often sleep together and play together. They also have their share of "bat-bat" encounters to liven it up!
Holly: Adina (kitty) and Rosina (bunny). They were the best of friends for all the time they lived together. When Rosina passed away, Adina was the most heartbroken.
From Laura: Photo of Opal Bunny (now across the Bridge) and Mr. Aristotle the Feline. Opal used to terrorize all 20+ pounds of him, chasing him around the apartment. But sometimes we would find them cuddled together :)
Janet: Larragan & Xanadu generally hang out together like this in the evenings. I have 2 buns who live free-range in our kitchen, and 2 who live free-range in our dining room. Our 3 cats move freely through both areas. At the moment as I'm typing another of my cats is hanging out in our dining room bunnies' hidey spot while they are lying on the rug in front of him. 
From Tanya.
From Nancy: Cookie requests AND receives regular grooming from Willy.

From Kellie McClure: Butters is a three year old flemish giant and Starbuck is a six month old tortoise shell kitten recently adopted off the streets. They got along great from day one. This kitten loves his new bunny friend (and home) so much!

From Nancy: Cricket and Ollie both came to us as babies and loved hanging out together. Cricket has since been adopted, but Ollie has plenty of other buns to love.
Here are some stories shared on Facebook:

Holly: My kitty loved my bunny. They were best friends from day 1. The kitty has been an indoor kitty her whole life, and was happy to enter a family that came with a fuzzy, floppy-eared playmate when I first took her home. When the bunny passed away, the kitty was heartbroken. She missed her long time friend.

Amy: I have 5 cats and 2 rabbits and they ALL get along WONDERFULLY! In fact, the rabbits run the roost - not the cats. The rabbits keep the cats in line around here! ;) 3 male cats, 2 female cats, 1 male rabbit and 1 female rabbit. Everyone has been spayed/neutered except one male cat who has a heart murmur (we didn't want to put him under for the surgery b/c it's too risky with a heart condition). The un-neutered male cat is VERY gentle with the rabbits (and the other cats). There's nothing like watching them all play together and live in harmony like they do.

Benita: My 1st bunny was best friends with my cat. They took turns chasing each other & kept each other company. Currently, my rabbits keep a respectful distance from the cats (cats are scared of them, but the buns want to play), though they're all happy & comfortable relaxing together - sleeping peacefully together on the bed, just keeping about 2 feet apart. Seeing this makes my day!

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