From an email received on August 27:
Recently, I’ve been doing research on rabbits so I can try to convince my parents to get me one. The main thing that my parents are concerned about is space. I have found lots of different answers on the size cages need to be, but I don’t know which one is right. How big does the cage need to be and does it depend on the size of the bunny?
This is a great question! There are many different ways to approach this. The most important thing from a rabbit’s perspective is to give us a safe place, not to make us feel confined. So yes, it does depend on the size of the bunny and the number of bunnies – for example, if we are a bonded pair we need a larger cage. Being able to move around freely, standing up on our hind legs, and having enough space for our litter box, water bowl, and food bowl plus some toys and a comfy pet bed are all important considerations. The House Rabbit Society has some advice here about housing.
Long story short: really, we should not be spending all of our time in the cage. Interaction with the family is important for everyone’s mental health. We also need to be able to get exercise every day. Sitting around in a cage all day will lead to obesity, boredom, etc.
Some rabbit adopters don’t even have cages, they let the rabbit roam the house freely. However, a lot of extra precautions should be taken so that we learn how to use a litter box properly and not chew on things we aren’t supposed to – like cords, or furniture.
There are also people who provide a large pen or closed off area so that there is plenty of space to run around and binky. Maybe even enough room for the humans to get inside and spend time with us. Check out some cool ideas here.
If you don’t have horizontal space, see if you can make use of vertical space. Some adopters have learned how to create special multi-layer cages from organizer cube components. You can also buy pre-made bunny condos with ramps between the layers. Leith Petwerks is a great example.
Although I cannot definitively answer your question, maybe I have given you a little bit of food for thought. Knowing whether you want a small or a large bunny may help guide you towards a solution among the many options. Most of all, I hope that you will consider adopting a rescue rabbit like myself – because we are so very grateful to have a second chance with a loving family!
Please email any questions for Usagi to firstname.lastname@example.org