You've taken the plunge and added a new rabbit to your family. Congrats! The pitter-patter of those fury feet will bring joy to your home, but what about their habitat? How can you make your new pet's dedicated space feel extra cozy? Here are a few ideas for setting up small animal habitats to match your pet's instinctual needs and make him or her feel at home:
Tip #1: Discover The Supplies You'll Need
First and foremost, your rabbit needs a habitat of his or her own to call home. To make them feel like a true member of the family, we suggest going for an open-concept habitat, such as the Kaytee Open Living™ Habitat. With rabbits, we highly recommend using the Open Living™ rooftop for added safety and security.
Each Open Living™ Habitat gives your rabbit small animal the opportunity to roam and play in either 8 or 12.5 sq. ft. Plus, they are fully customizable and can be connected for additional living space and multiple configurations.
If looking to liberty train your rabbit, Open Living can be used as a “home base” for your pet. The home base can be used to house their food , water, litter box, and more. By opening the side door and unfolding the fabric ramp cover, your pet rabbit can safely and freely travel out of the habitat and into your home or another play space.
In addition to a habitat, you'll need a few basic accessories tucked inside to keep your furry friend healthy.
Bedding: Pick an absorbent substrate for the bottom of your rabbit’s habitat to help your pet’s space feel warm, safe, and comfortable. We like the Kaytee Clean & Cozy Extreme Odor Control Bedding to keep your pet’s home odor free for up to 14 days. Your pet will love this soft, fluffy bedding for burrowing and nesting.
If your pet rabbit is litter trained, we recommend using the Kaytee Hi-Corner Litter Pan in a corner of the Open Living™ habitat. Clean & Cozy bedding or Kaytee® Critter Litter can be used in the litter pan to help absorb moisture and odor.
Food: Hay and a fortified food are essential parts of your pet rabbit’s diet.
Choose a pellet or medley diet specific to your animal's breed. For a medley option inspired by your pets natural feeding habits, try Kaytee® Food From The Wild. This food includes a medley of pellets and whole ingredients to meet the unique dietary needs of your pet rabbit. For a pellet option, made with timothy hay, try Kaytee® Timothy Complete. This high fiber food is made with nutritious hand-selected Timothy Hay and essential vitamins and nutrients necessary for your Rabbit.
It is important to offer your pet rabbit endless amounts of fiber-rich Timothy Hay daily. The high fiber supports digestive health, and the first texture helps support dental health.
To provide extra happiness for your pet rabbit, offer him or her an occasional treat such as raw berries or leafy greens. To avoid excess sugar intake, make sure all treats are in moderation.
Food dish: Ensuring you have a dedicated food space in the habitat will help your pet stay comfortable and satisfied. For food dishes, Kaytee offers both plastic and ceramic options. To provide a clean supply of both food and hay with separate compartments for each, try using the Kaytee® Hay & Food Bin Feeder.
Separating food and hay in your pet’s home can help keep them mentally stimulated by making a choice of a hay snack or their food meal.
Make sure food is located in a dish so it stays sanitary and can be easy to access for meal time.
Water bottle: Finally, your pet needs consistent access to clean, fresh water each day. By hanging a water bottle from the side of the cage, there's no chance of a spilled water bowl, leaving your pet thirsty or damp. Be sure to provide fresh water daily and clean up any droplets that may not make it into their mouths! To ensure your pet rabbit is staying hydrated, consider placing multiple water bottles in the habitat.
Tip #2: Add Extras For Additional Comfort
Once you have the core accessories in your new pet's home, it's time to make it their unique personal space. Add in fun places for your rabbit to hide and play around the habitat. For additional mental enrichment, share a few toys with your pet like Kaytee Apple Orchard Sticks for chewing and hiding, or a hanging toy they can nibble and nudge, like Kaytee Perfect Chews for Rabbits. Your pet is much like a child, requiring both playtime with you and on his or her own in their habitat.
Tip #3: Position The Small Animal Habitat
Now that you have your cage perfectly assembled, where's the best place for it in your home? If you've chosen an open-concept habitat, be sure to keep the cage away from other household pets. A few more tips for proper habitat placement include:
- Keeping cages away from heat or air conditioning vents, as these can make pets too hot or cold
- Placing cages away from drafty windows or doors, especially during cold winter months
- Move house plants away from the habitat, as some foliage is not safe for pets to nibble
- Choosing a location where your pet will get lots of attention, such a living room, recreation room, or playroom
Since open-concept small animal habits and cages are easy to set up, they can move around your home to conveniently include your pet in family activities. Movie night? Bring your rabbit into the room and easily reach inside his or her Kaytee Open Living Habitat to give him or her extra cuddles while you watch the show. During intermission, easily lift your pet up and out of the open-top habitat for one-on-one bonding.
Tips #4: Keep Your Rabbit Safe
Because rabbits are expert jumpers, we recommend using the rooftop attachment for their open-concept cage for added safety and security. This will give you peace of mind if you have cats or dogs in the home or a friend who regularly visits with a small child.
It's also a good idea to set up a daily routine for your pet so his or her needs are always met. For example, you could have an older child in the home fill the pet's food dish and water bottle each morning. Designate another family member to do a quick tidying of the habitat in the evenings, removing soiled bedding and straightening accessories to set the pet up for another round of fun the following day.
Making your pet rabbit’s habitat a home is simple when you know what you need to place inside to keep them cozy and how to choose the perfect safe location in your home for maximum interaction.
Here's to enjoying your new pet!
The Humane Society of the United States, Guinea Pig Housing
VCA Hospitals, Feeding Your Rabbit
RSPCA, What should I feed my guinea pigs?
• NC State Veterinary Medicine, Caring for Your Pet Rabbit
• American Veterinary Hospital, Chinchilla Care 101