The description on the website reads: “Alana and Andrina are a bonded pair. They must be adopted together. They are somewhat shy…and are very sweet and playful. They are litter trained (excellent litter box habits) and neutered. Prefer experienced adopter. Indoor housing only.”
While this may sound like a description for two cats or kittens, this was actually an online description for two rabbits at the House Rabbit Society of Chicago, a rabbit rescue group in Chicago, Illinois.
This time of year, close to Easter, pet stores often have young rabbits for sale. They’re cute, and therefore, difficult to resist, which is why there are rabbit rescue groups all over the country. As the third most popular pet in the nation, they are also the third most relinquished pet too.
While house rabbits make great pets, they aren’t the right pet for every family. Here are five questions to ask yourself before getting a rabbit.
Do you have children? Children can be loud and rambunctious. Rabbits need quiet, low-stress homes to thrive.
Do you have other pets? As a prey species, rabbits are often scared of dogs and cats. Some cats and rabbits, however, can live peaceably together; some cats are scared of some rabbits.
Are you ready for the commitment? House rabbits can live 8 to 10 years, about the age of a very large breed dog. (They sexually mature at six months old and become aggressive if not sterilized.)
Do you have time to play with your rabbit? You don’t have to walk them, but rabbits need lots of supervised playtime outside of their cages every day to maintain their mental and physical health.
Do you have time to train your bunny? You can “clicker train” your rabbit to use the litter box, like a cat, sit and wait, like a dog, and touch a target like a bell, like a bird. Rabbits are very smart animals, and love learning with you. I believe if you train your pet, you will keep your pet. Visit the House Rabbit Society at www.Rabbit.org or get the book Getting Started: Clicking with Your Rabbit by Joan Orr and Teresa Lewin to learn more.
If it sounds like your home is well-suited for a rabbit, then consider adopting from a rescue group. Great rabbits, like Alana and Andrina, are waiting for good homes.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal