Cats + rabbits 4eva (or: Stop licking my eyeball, you sandpaper-tongued freak.)
We love kitties. We love bunnies. But what happens when we want our little fearsome predators and our little gentle herbivores to coexist? Horrible, horrible things? Love at first site? General awkwardness? Cuddles?
My boyfriend Gary and I decided to try it out. He has two cats, Wallis and Tibault, and I have two rabbits, Ellis and Linda. I had received the seal of approval from both of his cats, and he had received the seal of only-mild-disapproval from my rabbits. (Which is about where they rank me.) So, we decided to move in together.
Then he confessed his fear of the blood-drenched horror that could ensue. He, like many a cat owner, had seen his fluffy friends do unspeakable things to smaller animals. I tried to reassure him by telling him I wouldn’t write off the bunnies so fast – they’ve got some sharp teeth themselves, and those back legs could probably gut an inexperienced attacker. Somehow, this only made his vision of the worst-case scenario even more ghastly.
I asked around. Marcy, the founder of SaveABunny, has cats herself, and while she doesn’t let them near the rescue buns, the cats and the rabbits she lives with seem to coexist peacefully. Several of the other SaveABunny volunteers also have cats. The all-around advice was to take it slow and keep an eye on them.
The day Ellis and Linda and I moved in, we decided to keep the bunnies in the bedroom with the door shut and allow minimal contact. Better safe than sorry. “Right?” “Right.” “Right.” “Ah, what the hell, let’s throw ‘em in together and see what happens!”
We took it one cat at a time, in the smallest room of the house – the bathroom.
If they could all speak English, it would have sounded something like this:
Ellis: “Hey, a corner. I like corners. Yay.”
Linda: “Ooh, a laundry basket. Neat! Hey what’s that?”
Wallis: “Holy crap what are those things?!?!”
Gary: “Wallis, these are rabbits. That’s Ellis, and that’s Linda.”
Linda: “Hi! I’m a rabbit!”
Wallis: “Gary where did you find these unspeakable abominations?! And why did you bring them into my house?!”
Linda: “You smell funny.”
Wallis: “God why do they hop like that???? I can’t take it!”
Exit Wallis. Enter Tibault.
Tibault: “Hey guys, I’m here. What’s up?”
Me: “Tibs, these are my rabbits. Ellis and Linda. Bunnies, meet Tibault. We call him Tibs for short.”
Linda: “Oh hi! You smell funny too. Hey look it’s Ellis!”
Ellis: “I do indeed like corners. The darker the better.”
Linda: “Oooh, I wonder what’s behind the toilet!”
Tibs: “Bunnies you say. Hmm. I’m a cat!”
Fast forward three months. Wallis has finally stopped fleeing the room every time she sees a rabbit. Ellis approaches the cat situation like he approaches most situations, with mild disapproval. Linda, after an initially strong curiosity about the cats, now mostly ignores them. Tibs, the attention whore of the family, has had a hard time accepting the unwillingness of the rabbits to either play with him or let him lick their eyeballs, which for some reason are irresistible to him. Gary and I are trying to resist the temptation to fit just one more adorable rescued animal in our one-bedroom condo. The answer, according to both physics and the homeowner’s association, is always no.
Overall, the cat-rabbit experiment has gone significantly better than our worst expectations, and significantly better than my previous dog-rabbit experiment. We keep trying to get all the animals to cuddle together on the bed, but so far no luck. I promise I’ll post a picture if it ever happens. So far I just have these: