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QUESTION: My roommate recently bought a bunny from craigslist. He bought a small cage for him and we are gone 10 hours a day. Obviously even though I don't know much about rabbits I know this is not a good situation. I have two cats so leaving him free is not an option right now. So basically I have been taking the bunny to work with me. I weigh dump trucks so he can run free in the scale house all day. when we get home I block off the living room and he runs and jumps around so he is getting plenty of free time. My problem is he poops and pees everywhere. How can I litter train him? Also I really hate putting him in that cage all night! What are some better options? I thought about a larger hutch for indoors of course but I have NO clue what to get!  He's only been with me a couple weeks but because of the amount of time I spend with him we have bonded quite well. He's  very trusting  of me and I want to give him the best care possible. I read websites but there are so many conflicting ideas. I'm lost on what's right and what's not. Please help!

ANSWER: Hi Kim

I agree about the conflicting advice!

The first step should be looking to get him neutered, this will help with litter training. When they're intact they're a bit like tom cats! Once neutered you could see if there are any rabbit rescues near you who do bonding with spayed females. Two are better than one!!

With the cage, yes you're right cages are bad! Thankfully yours is getting the free time, but if he wasn't and was left in the cage he would end up with gut stasis, muscle wastage, aggression and even arthritis! It baffles me how these things are still for sale. I would look at building him a secure pen around the cage which he can have constant access to, effectively using the whole cage as his litter tray (they like BIG litter trays anyway). If you're handy it's best to build one out of wood and welded mesh - the wire pens can be a safety hazard. There are some good ideas here:
http://www.therabbithouse.com
The more space the better!

Taking him to work is cute, he might be a bun who can cope with this, but travelling can be very stressful for some bunnies and there's a risk he'll chew up stuff he shouldn't, wiring and walls are a rabbit speciality!

As for the cats, unless they're hyper predatory, they're likely to be very wary of the rabbit. My mum's cat, whose brought in baby wildies, took one look at my two when we were visiting and ran off terrified! They are the same size as her anyway.

I hope I've helped?
Thanks
Cat

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Ok so I checked out the rabbit house web site and found some really great stuff! I found a place that sells pens and I think I'll give him a small (but much bigger then his cage) pen until he is potty trained. I had planned on neutering him already so I'll get that set up soon. As for my cats, I'm not afraid they will eat him as they actually seem to like him alright. They want to play with him but they have claws. I would cut them but they won't let me and I don't really have the money to get them professionally done or get soft claws. So I'm not really sure what to do about that yet.

He doesn't seem to mind coming to work with me and doesn't cause any problems except for the pooping and peeing everywhere. He travels good and doesn't appear to be stressed out in any way but yes, ideally I'd like to leave him home. I thought about a bunny companion for him but I need to figure this one out first! So maybe in the future. He really seems to like my cats so for now they will have to do :)

My other question is about the bedding. I have bought some for his cage but it is pretty expensive! When I get a pen up would it be ok to just buy something for him to sleep on and use ripped up newspaper for litter? I can't imagine having to buy this bedding every other week and I'm not entirely sure of its use except for his waste. I saw some sheep skin rugs for rabbits and a few other options for beds. So is the bedding necessary?

Thanks so much for the help!  It's so nice there are websites like this that you can ask someone who knows what they are talking about! Very much appreciated!

Answer
Glad you liked the website!

With bedding, I use fleece pet blankets! As long as the bun has a ton of toys and litter trays with hay, the blanket shouldn't get nibbled and can be washed and swapped over when it gets mucky. Works great for me! My two fosters are fast asleep fully flat out on a blanket right now and I don't think they've had fleece before. You can often get the blankets cheap too if you go to Home Depot type shops or budget shops (I'm in the UK and have giant ones from Dunelm Mill and smaller ones from Poundland).

In their trays I use megazorb (horse bedding) in their litter trays to absorb pee, with hay on top.

Hope that helps some more!
Cat

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Expertise

I can answer questions around the welfare of pet rabbits, basic health queries including gut stasis, diet worries, bonding questions and the proper welfare standards around housing rabbits (i.e. no wire floors, no small cages and they should be kept in properly bonded de-sexed pairs in very large enclosures). I cannot answer showing questions nor complex breeding issues as I do not agree with either, seeing the other end of the story in the world of rabbit rescue.

Experience

I have two 7 year old rescue rabbits and volunteer for a well established rabbit rescue here in the UK, both physically doing cleaning out etc and I am also their events and awareness co-oordinator, helping educate the general public on proper rabbit keeping, this means I have to ensure all information I give is correct and matches current welfare standards.

Organizations
I belong to the RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund) and volunteer for a major rabbit rescue.

Education/Credentials
I have no formal education on this subject, however read everything I can to keep up to date with current welfare standards and health problems. Both my rabbits have sensitive guts and constantly keep me on my toes.

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