RIVERSIDE COUNTY – Rabbits can make wonderful pets. If you want a pet but cats and dogs aren’t for you, a rabbit can fill the void. Although rabbits may need less interaction than a dog, they still require a lot of responsibility and commitment. The task of caring for a rabbit is made easier by training your rabbit to use a litter box.
Many people have pet rabbits, and after a little training, these animals can roam the house just like other pets. Contrary to popular belief, rabbits aren’t dirty. In fact, this reputation often stems from inattentiveness and lack of cleaning on the part of the pet parent. In reality, rabbits are “prey” animals who will instinctively keep a clean home to prevent the build up of odor that would reveal the location of their dens to potential predators.
Unlike other mammals, rabbits and other lagomorphs produce two types of droppings. Fecal pellets are the commonly found ones that are round and dry. These can be seen in piles and can number in the dozens. Rabbits will also produce cecotropes, which are formed in a region of the rabbit’s digestive tract. These cecotropes contain important nutrients and healthy bacteria and fungi, which are essential to the health of a rabbit. Rabbits will eat the cecotropes as they exit the body. Fecal pellets are not usually eaten and are the droppings that will need to be contained.
It has been said that rabbits can often be litter box trained and seldom have accidents outside of the box. Rabbits prefer one or two places to put their waste. To start the process you will need patience.
Buy a litter box that the rabbit can easily access. Standard cat litter boxes often work well.
Confine the rabbit to one room and place the litter box in the cage with the rabbit.
Observe where the rabbit likes to relieve itself. If it’s in the litter box, this is a great first step. If not, simply move the litter box where the rabbit is doing its business.
Once successful, give the rabbit a little bit of freedom at a time. Try letting the rabbit out of the cage in the confined room with the litter box nearby.
Gradually give the rabbit more freedom, luring it to the box with treats and praise. Make sure the pet is aware of the litter box’s location.
If the bunny continually makes mistakes, it could be a signal that the rabbit would like the litter box moved to a different spot closer to where the accidents are occurring.
It may take locating a few boxes around a large space before a rabbit grows acclimated to using the litter box. Then you can gradually reduce the number of boxes.
Rabbits can take time to catch on to litter box training, and even when you’re fairly certain the training is complete, you may still find a few pellets left near the box.
Some people overlook rabbits as pets because of fear of the unknown and the idea of droppings all over the home. However, rabbits can make affectionate and agreeable pets for families that have the time to devote to training.