A question from Michelle O. in Brooklyn, NY:
Q: Dear Rabbit Advocate: I am considering getting a rabbit...I just don't know if I have room for it in my apartment. Plus my apartment has a cat and I don't know if that would be a good combo. How much time and care do rabbits need? I work long hours but I would love to have a friendly rabbit. Also, could you tell me where I should look for one?
A: These are all important questions that you should think about before deciding to adopt a rabbit. It's hard to think logically when you see that fluffy adorable little furball, so make the informed decision to adopt or not before heading down to your local shelter.
The actual space that rabbits require is not much, though your living quarters do have to accommodate a sizable cage. Different rabbit breeds require different cage sizes--a dwarf mini-lop will have different requirements than a Flemish Giant. (Speaking of Flemish Giants, Murph is an upstanding gentleman at the Boston MSPCA, looking for a forever home. With big size comes a big heart!) But if you have the space for it, a bigger cage gives your rabbit more freedom. You will also need a space for your rabbit to run around. Your bedroom can work just fine for this, or a living room/family room. For a skittish rabbit, bigger isn't always better. Shy rabbits will feel more comfortable in smaller spaces. Otherwise, a moderate-sized playing area should be fine, as long as your rabbit has room to check out different things and do her morning sprints!
One thing rabbits need more of than space is interaction. Rabbits are not hamsters or guinea pigs. They are more on par with cats and dogs in terms of the level of companionship they seek. But just because you work a 9-5 job, you can still have a pet rabbit. On a daily basis, you will need to let your bunny run around a larger territory for a few hours and spend at least half hour bonding. The more you interact with her, the more she will trust you, and the more rewarding your friendship will be. There's a direct correlation here!
Regarding interspecies rabbit introductions, they are not to be taken lightly. However, the House Rabbit Society reports a high level of success between cats and rabbits. Read this literature to learn all the details of a cat/rabbit introduction.
The best place to find an adoptable rabbit will be at your local animal shelter. You can use petfinder.com to locate a nearby animal shelter or rescue organization and even see the available pets online. Look back here to find out exactly how petfinder works or just go straight to their website!