All those who have several pets know how important it is to get everyone to get along. This can be the difference between a peaceful and entertaining family life and the eternal torture of having to take care that no door is left open and disaster occurs. This is not different when you have members of different species. Sometimes you have to get animals that in a natural state would be predator and prey to live together peacefully under the same roof. This is not impossible, just make the presentations with patience and caution and observe the attitude of each to avoid aggression.
Coexistence of rabbits with cats
In this case, the first thing you think is that you have to take care that the cat does not try to hunt the rabbit. However, there are many cases in which the roles are reversed and it is the rabbits who have the wrong to bring their feline companions. Socially rabbits tend to confront other congeners, and perhaps this is what leads them to harass the cats with whom they live. Generally these persecutions do not happen to majors, and when the rabbit feels that it has controlled the situation it no longer bothers the cat. It is not necessary to do anything other than observe that everything remains in demonstrations of power only.
The problem arises when a rabbit gets scared and runs away from the cat, awakening its hunting instinct . That is where you must intervene. It is best to leave the rabbit in its cage, so that both can smell and get used to each other without risk. Leave a box or house where you can hide and feel protected until you lose your fear. This may take days or months, depending on the personality of the two. You must have patience and not rush things; do not generate situations in which you must scold the cat because you will create a negative feeling about the rabbit. Sooner or later they will get used to it and you can move on to the next phase.
Under your supervision, leave the two together and allow them to sniff and observe each other. You should only intervene if you see any aggressive or threatening attitude. The best way to do it is with a water pistol or a loud noise, so that the animal receives the “punishment” without knowing that it comes from you (because if it could not turn to wait until you are present to act). During the adaptation period it is best to keep the cat’s nails short enough to avoid scratches that could lead to abscesses.
It is not uncommon for a rabbit and a cat to get along well from the first day and you can skip the use of the cage. Use your common sense and observe the attitudes of each one to decide if you should separate them or not. When in doubt, it is always better to delay things and not regret later.
Coexistence of rabbits with dogs
In this relationship everything depends, again, on the personality of the animals in question. If the rabbit is very shy or the dog is aggressive, it is better to start with the cage method until they become accustomed to seeing each other. You should always supervise the meetings and reward the dog with caresses and congratulations when he approaches to sniff gently. Remember that rewarding is always better than punishing, so avoid situations in which the dog can get nervous and behave abruptly with the rabbit. It is convenient to have your collar on, so if you do something you should not, you can give it a little tug and say NO, and then reward it when it calms down. This correction is the same one that is used when training a dog in obedience. In fact the dog is much more manageable if he has been trained in basic commands and is already used to following orders.
If the dog is calm and friendly, you can skip the step of the cage, but remember that it is always better to take extra precautions. You should always supervise your encounters very carefully to detect any signs of danger. Unless you are absolutely sure that the dog and the rabbit get along, they are considered “part of the family” and respect each other never leave them together without supervision. Many times the dog does not bother the rabbit when you are there because he knows he will receive a reprimand, but everything can change if they are alone. The difference in size and strength between the two makes even a bit rough game can be dangerous for the rabbit, although the dog did not intend to attack it.
Coexistence of rabbits with children
That nobody feels offended to include the children here. It is that coexistence can be difficult when they are small and do not know how to treat their pet delicately. It is very important to teach children to respect animals , both for the safety of the pets and for themselves. A rabbit that feels cornered can scratch and hurt or scare a little one; If this happens, it can be used to explain to the child what bothers the rabbit and that he should not do it again. If the rabbit usually runs loose around the house, it is convenient to leave his cage or another hiding place always available, so that if the game becomes too rough he will have somewhere to take refuge.
It will be necessary to explain hundreds of times the same things to teach all this to a child, because their energy and curiosity are stronger than their memory, but the effort is well worth it.
It is a good idea to set aside a special day schedule for the game with the pet . In this way the child learns to value and look forward to this moment and provides a framework for you to sit down with him to show him how to caress an animal, allow him to give him a treat and let the child learn to enjoy and respect other beings.