Many people see rabbits as pets traditionally kept outdoors. In reality, having your bunny in your house is safer and healthier for your furry friend. There are many types of indoor rabbit cages available, and it can be overwhelming to decide on the perfect one if you only know the right information.
The most common housing people associate with rabbits is the traditional hutch. Features of the average hutch style cage include stilts to raise it off the ground, three solid sides and a wire front, and a hinged top and side door. Although these are made for outdoor use they can function perfectly inside. The biggest drawback to the hutch is the fact that they are not made for the average sized rabbit to live in full-time. Therefore, these cages are best suited for dwarf breeds or free range rabbits.
A lesser known type of rabbit cage is the dog kennel or crate. A wire crate made for large dog breeds is a good size for dwarf and some average sized breeds. These cages are great for rabbits to hop out of when they are let out for playtime and the wire makes it easy to hang hay racks and water bottles or add levels anywhere you’d like (although the spacing may be too tall for a baby rabbit to reach her water bottle at first). However, if you have a rabbit that isn’t litter trained or loves to kick her litter this can make a real mess! This is a simple fix though, as you can buy metal urine guards or surround the bottom with plastic or cardboard on the outside.
C&C (or NIC) cages require a lot of creativity and some constructing, but are highly recommended by rabbit enthusiasts. C&C squares are wire mesh squares used for creating storage units. Where you buy them depends on the region you live in, but a quick web search can tell you where to find them or allow you to buy them online. With plastic zip ties the C&C cages can be made as large as you want them, with multiple levels. They do require a lot of work, but they are extremely affordable and can be made into a perfect fit for any rabbit and owner.
The most popular choice amongst rabbit owners is free range, especially owners of large breeds. Free ranging is allowing your rabbit access to an entire room or section of your house. This gives them plenty of room to run around and stretch out. If you decide to let your rabbit be free range you may choose to get a cage or dog kennel anyways for the litter box, a nesting area, food and water. This will give your rabbit a place that is entirely hers to feel safe in. Although free range is the best option it requires the most energy to create the right environment in, as all electrical wires and outlets must be covered, you will need to set up baby gates or a pen to restrict your pet to its designated area, your rabbit will need to be litter trained, and you will need to make sure that they don’t chew the baseboards or carpeting.
What a Good Cage Should and Should Not Be
No matter what option you choose there are a few universal rules to keep in mind, as highlighted below.
A good housing option should:
- Be at least four times the size of your rabbit
- Be well equipped with toys, food, water, a hiding place and a litter box
- Be kept out of drafts and extreme hot/cold weather
A good housing option should not:
- Have a wire floor
- Be kept in an isolated place where your rabbit will be lonely
- Allow access of any kind to household dangers (such as electrical wires, other pets or poisonous houseplants)
- Be easy for your pet rabbit to escape
At the end of the day, the most important thing is your pet’s happiness, health and comfort. Choose wisely!