Is It Cruel To Keep A Rabbit In A Cage?

No, it’s not cruel to keep a rabbit in a cage as long as the cage is big enough for your bunny to roam around easily.

Bunnies are a popular pet choice worldwide, but most new rabbit owners are rather clueless when it comes to housing their fluffy pet.

Keeping rabbits free to roam around the house is often seen as an unfeasible option for many reasons, so keeping your rabbit in a cage that is big enough for them doesn’t make you a cruel person.

Why You May Need to Keep Rabbits in Cage?

Firstly, if the house is not rabbit-proofed, leaving your bunny to wander can be dangerous as your pet may hurt itself.

Secondly, without confinements, you will have to keep an eye on your bunny at all times; otherwise, you will not know where your little bud shot off to, leaving you worried.

And of course, no restrictions on traversing the house means you will encounter your pet’s dropping in every other corner of the place.

And if you have other pets, such as dogs or cats, your bunny might be in constant danger of attack.

Simply put, letting a bunny free in the house is not the most suitable choice for housing a fluffy rabbit.

You can leave them out in the house or in the garden for some time, but rabbits are not like dogs/cats and would need a lot more supervision.

So the other option left for a bunny owner is to invest in a big enough hutch and keep their rabbits locked up. But that is considered a cruel way of keeping a rabbit.

Many newbie bunny parents believe that placing a rabbit in an enclosure is a harsh approach to housing a bunny.

However, as mentioned above, it is not cruel to keep a rabbit in a cage as long as it’s big enough for the burrowing animal to hop around.

But that’s not all; there’s more to caging a bunny than the size of the hutch.

Also read: Can Domestic Rabbits Survive in the Wild?

Putting A Rabbit In A Cage: What’s The Right Way?

Rabbits are naturally sociable and high-energy animals that love to explore and move however they please.

That is why wild bunnies can be seen having a grand old time in the wilderness without constraints on their movement.

Considering the innate personality of bunnies, caging them may seem like an inhumane choice at first.

But if you do it right and allow your rabbit time in the open, using a hutch to house, your pet will seem fitting.

The key, though, is doing the job right. While there is no set-in-stone way of raising a bunny, keeping in mind, a few guidelines can be helpful.

Things To Consider When Caging A Bunny

According to the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF), a rabbit cage should have the following characteristics.

  • It should have ample space to provide the caged pet to hop around horizontally without having to halt its run at every two steps. Ideally, your little one’s home should have a wide hoping plane for your pet to run from one end to another.
  • It should be high enough to accommodate your burrowing, fluffy cure pet if they choose to stand on their hind legs. Naturally, when rabbits get on two feet instead of four, their height is elevated, needing sufficient space not to bump into anything. Considering that it’s pretty easy to assess how high your bunny’s hutch needs to be.
  • It should provide your pet room to stretch and roll around without hitting a wall at every half-roll. In simple terms, when your little buddy chooses to sprawl, they should have ample space to toss and turn without bumping into the sides.

The mentioned details of how a cage should be are explanatory enough to help you find the right house for your little one.

However, your job doesn’t end at finding the perfect enclosure for your pet.

There are some other steps that you need to take in order to ensure your bunny’s wellbeing.

Daily Free Time In The Open

Rabbits are fond of the wilderness and like to have the freedom to jump and frolic in the open.

Even when they are confined, their nature doesn’t change; they still enjoy the outdoors and crave the outdoor space.

Therefore, you must give them the opportunity to experience the outdoorsy fun they miss.

To do that, leave the hutch unlocked for at least one hour daily and let your fluffy friend breathe in the fresh air.

Ideally, your little bun would prefer if you left them free for more time, about 3-4 hours.

But if that’s too much for you, be sure to stick to keeping them out for at least an hour.

Toys In The Cage

Even when confined in a cage, your tiny fluff bud needs something to stay occupied; otherwise, they will get irritable and possibly lethargic.

All that can also lead them towards obesity. So, put some boredom busters in your bunny’s hutch.

Try to keep physically and mentally stimulating toys so that your furry child remains active and cognitively charged.

One excellent addition to a rabbit’s home is a bunny wheel.

Ware Manufacturing Metal Small Pet Tread Exercise Wheel, Large

Typically associated with rodents, hamsters, and hodgepodges, rotating wheels are equally beneficial for bunnies. Invest in one and place it inside your little one’s cage.

It’s a great apparatus to keep an animal energized.

So, buy an exercise wheel to provide your fluffy pal with a tool to keep them pumped up.

Also read: What Can Rabbits Chew on for their Teeth? 10 Safe Chews!

Daily Family Time is a Must

Like all pets and even human babies, bunnies yearn for affection and want to feel included.

If you keep your rabbit locked outside without any interaction with the family, you might as well give up your pet.

Logically speaking, if you don’t intend to bring your fluff friend inside and spend time with them, you clearly don’t need them, so don’t keep them isolated and give them up.

Bunnies can seem a small, suitable choice for a first pet, especially for a kid, but that’s a misconception. Rabbits require full-time care and need to be handled with care.

They are often anxious and don’t like to be held.

Children do not understand said needs of a bunny and try to pick up their new friend only to drop it when the pet starts scratching or kicking. As a result, the poor rabbit goes out of the house and into a hutch.

Long story short, it’s possible that you bring home a rabbit for your kid, and they lose interest in just a few days. When that happens, the bunny is most likely to get caged and not be mingled in the family.

So, if the chances of such a scenario happening are high at your place, give up the bunny instead of locking it up.

However, if you wish to truly love your rabbit and cherish it like your own child, be sure to take them out of its enclosure and spend time with it.

Run with them, play with them and if possible, bring them inside the house where they can be around everyone else.

An easy way to keep your furry friend close by when the whole family is together is by placing a playpen in the living space to let your pet roam around freely.

Doing so will enable you to keep a watch on your tiny child, and they will also feel loved as they should!

Let Your Bunny Exercise

Bunnies need physical activity regularly; otherwise, they can become lazy and obese eventually.

If you are not sure that your tiny bud is getting enough exercise inside their cage, you should take them out and see for yourself that they move their muscles.

So, take your fur friend out and have them work out a little daily. If possible, become their workout partner and help them get their fair share of exercise every day.

If you follow the mentioned guidelines, you can cage your bunny and not worry about it being a cruel approach to raising a pet.

However, if you force your rabbit to be in a cabinet all day, every day, you will be oppressing your pet.

And remember to keep your bunny close, or put a harness on them when taking them out.

What Happens When A Bunny Is In A Cage 24/7?

Nobody likes to stay confined within boundaries 24/7, and bunnies are no different in that regard.

Like all other pets and humans, if you keep your little fluffy pal in a cage for hours on end, you will negatively impact their emotional, psychological and physical health.

Naturally, when they will not be included in the family often, they will begin to feel isolated and most likely become more anxious than they initially are.

That says enough about the emotional toll 24/7-confinement can take on a bunny’s wellbeing.

Next, continuous caging will mar your tiny kid’s personality, affecting them psychologically.

Lastly, when they don’t get out, they will become lethargic, obese, and even develop deformities.

With all that said, it’s safe to say that keeping bunnies locked in is not good for their wellbeing, and of course, plainly cruel!

The Final Verdict

Keeping your fur friend in a cage is inhumane if you take care of their needs, such as taking them out periodically and showering them with love.

But of course, if you completely neglect them and leave them in a hutch for long periods, your way of dealing with your pet will be unquestionably ruthless! 

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