By: Jessica Miley
When it comes to your fury friend, you want what is best for the well-being of your rabbit. Setting up a cage and making sure that your rabbit has all that she needs is essential for rabbit care, especially if they spend the majority of their day in the cage while you are away. Here are 8 tips to help make sure your rabbit is comfortable in its cage.
1. Your rabbit needs PLENTY of space to hop around.
It is recommended that the cage be six times the length of your rabbit. The cages at pet stores can be small or they might not have the cage that you had envisioned. If this is the case, you can always build one from storage cubes (that you build yourself) and zip ties. For the owner that would like to pamper their rabbit, there is always the option to build a rabbit condo for your rabbit. For step by step instructions, click here.
2. Do not use mesh or wire lining for the lining of your rabbit’s cage.
This can hurt the rabbit’s sensitive feet and can cause an infection or sore hocks. The material strewn around the cage should be hay or rabbit-safe material. Because rabbits are sensitive creatures, it is recommended that you use precaution when deciding on a material to line the cage. Pine and cedar shavings are popular but the strong aroma of both can cause for an unhappy rabbit. The cedar shavings can also cause respiratory problems. Hay and shredded newspaper are common as well but they do not absorb animal waste as well as recycled pulp. Recycled pulp is more expensive and normally can only be found in holistic pet stores, but it doesn’t need to be changed as frequently as the other options.
3. Know your rabbit's habits.
When it is time to put things inside your cage, it is important to understand that you may be rearranging the cage to your rabbit’s liking. Your fury friend tends to go to the bathroom while he is eating. So it is wise to put the litter box under the hay rack. Remember rabbit care basics: to raise a healthy rabbit, hay must be fed to your pet every day and be 90% of their diet. Timothy hay is fed to rabbits that are older than seven months. Alfalfa hay is fed to rabbits that are younger than seven months. Make sure that this transition happens or your rabbit will become obese and/or develop urinary tract problems.
4. You need a food bowl and a water feeder.
It is suggested that you use a hanging water bottle to prevent any food, feces or bedding finding its way into the water. If you choose to use a water bowl, make sure you check it periodically throughout the day to ensure that nothing has landed in the water.
5. Create a cozy place.
Lay down a towel, blanket or rabbit bed to create a cozy place where your rabbit can relax.
6. Give your rabbit toys.
Rabbit's like to play and be entertained too!
7. Lay out wood or other items.
Make sure they are safe for your rabbit to nibble on. These will help your rabbit with chewing.
8. Include something your rabbit can crawl inside when they are afraid.
It’s no mystery that rabbits are known to be skittish, so having a smaller cardboard box (that they can still fit in) gives your fury friend a place to hide when they need it.
Cleaning the Cage
An important part of rabbit care is to clean your rabbit’s cage daily to help prevent any illnesses. Cleaning the litter box, food container and water dish daily is crucial. Cleaning the cage itself can be done with a white vinegar diluted with water (4:1 ratio). Make sure that everything you washed is dry before you put it back in the cage. If you choose to use a different cleaner, make sure that you check to see if they are toxic to your rabbit.
Location of the Cage
When choosing a location for your rabbit’s cage, it is important to observe the environment and factors that could potentially hurt your rabbit. Avoid putting the cage under windows because of the potential of direct sunlight that can overheat your rabbit. Heat stroke takes more rabbit’s lives than old age. The same concern applies when you are setting up a cage outside. The sun moves from east to west, so check on your rabbit’s cage frequently to ensure that there are places in the cage where she can hide and cool down from the sun.
It may seem like a lot of information to have to recall but to keep your rabbit happy and healthy, it is important to understand rabbit care and the different options you can give to your rabbit to give them a safe and healthy place live.