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Cats are natural predators of rabbits, though they can learn to live together as friends. However, when you first bring home an indoor pet rabbit, or when you are housing a bunny outdoors, the best way to teach a cat to leave your bunny alone is to assure that your rabbit cage is cat-proof.
To cat-proof your rabbit cage, you must ensure that all openings (including the top) are covered and secured with locking latches. Cats usually get into rabbit cages through uncovered openings or covered openings that are not adequately secured.
Now let’s talk about specific areas of vulnerability on most rabbit cages where a cat might be able to get inside and reach your bunny.
Cat Proof The Top Of Your Rabbit Hutch
The vast majority of my rabbit friends who have lost rabbits to a cat have experienced the cat coming in from the top of the rabbit cage.
In some cases, the rabbit either lived or exercised in a rabbit-run where they had lots of floor space, but no top to the enclosure. Just so you are sure what I’m talking about, below is a picture of an open-top rabbit run.
These are great bunny cages under the right conditions.
As an indoor play area, a rabbit run like this is amazing. It gives your bun room to run, hope, and even flip. It gives you and any children you have a around a safe place to play with your bun without worrying about escape.
However, a cat will go right over the side of this and be playing with your bun in a second. This is not a cat-proof cage. Heck, it’s not even a cat-resistant cage.
Even indoors, you shouldn’t leave your bunny in an open-top rabbit run like this if there is any chance that a not-bunny-trained cat is around.
I have rabbit friends who have a run like this in their ‘bunny room’ and their bunnies spend the whole day playing in their run. But the door to the rest of the house stays closed to ensure that the family cat doesn’t get into the room.
A Tool For Training Your Cat To Leave Your Rabbit Alone
This open-top rabbit run is a valuable tool in training your cat to get along with the bunny. You can start by sitting in the cage with your rabbit and letting the cat sniff at him through the cage.
In no time, your bunny will be sniffing back at the cat.
Below is a picture of our holland lop, Snoop in his outdoors rabbit hutch, and our cat, Sox, is setting on top. They are buds, but not buds that we’d let hang out unsupervised without a cage between them.
P.S. Later on, we’ll take a closer look at the features of this outdoor cage that makes it cat proof even when we’re not around.
As your cat gets used to seeing you cuddle with the bunny, you can allow the cat to get closer while you are within arm’s reach to discourage any hint of aggressive behavior.
We have many rabbit friends whose cat and rabbit are best buds, and in time yours could be too.
Outdoor Rabbit Runs And Cats
This open-top rabbit cage design is not acceptable for unsupervised outdoor use. Not only will cats like Sox (our cat in the image above) easily be able to get to your bunny, but many other outdoor predators will find your bunny easy prey if you are not right there to protect them.
Never forget that our bunnies are naturally prey, and one of our most important responsibilities is to keep them safe from the predators who naturally will take them if giving the opportunity.
Best Cat Proof Outdoor Rabbit Run / Bunny Play Pen
Cat’s are not burly brutes when they are trying to get into a cage. Instead, they use the skills of a cat burglar. They will use stealth and finesse to get into your rabbit’s cage.
If you are going to leave your bunny outdoors unsupervised, you need a cat proof rabbit cage. This means something with a top and with secure doors.
Here is my favorite cat proof rabbit run.
This is a good outdoor rabbit run that starts out pretty cat proof. With just a few alterations, I’d feel comfortable leaving our bunnies unsupervised outside for short periods in this cage.
First, I’d make sure that they that I staked down the middle of each wall of the cage. With just four tent stakes, I’m comfortable that a cat can’t push his way under the cage as long as it’s sitting on flat ground.
To be clear, I’d only trust the stakes for small predators like cats. If there is any chance that a larger predator, like a dog, might get to this cage I would not leave my rabbit unsupervised. To that end, I’d only use this cage inside a fenced yard.
The second alternation I’d make is a clasp to make sure the cat doesn’t figure out how to get the door open. I know, that’s a bit of an extreme worry, but for just a few bucks I can avoid even this unlikely danger.
A cheap little clasp like this can go on the locking mechanism to ensure that it doesn’t accidently come open if the cat is pawing at it.
It will be cheaper if you just grab this at your local Walmart or hardware store.
I like the clasps with a loop at the end so I can attach it to the cage and not lose it.
Cat Proof A Rabbit Hutch
In our recommended rabbit gear, the hutch below is the one that we recommend for both indoors and outdoors. This one is the best balance of quality and price. If you want to read more about why this is our favorite be sure to visit the recommended gear page.
This is a pretty secure rabbit hutch, but I wouldn’t bet my bunny’s life that it was cat proof until I checked the potential weak points. But let’s start by looking at the features of this hutch that we know will keep a cat out of your rabbit’s cage.
The latches are on the doors are great. While thy appear to be a simple lever clasp when you slide them over the latch locks preventing it from being lifted up to open the door. This simple feature makes the doors cat proof. Next, the wire on the sides of this hutch is a high-quality wire that is domestic cat proof.
There are no obvious weakness that would allow a cat to get to a rabbit, but there are some points that you’ll want to examine carefully before you leave your rabbit unsupervised in this hutch.
Check to make sure that every wire is firmly attached all the frame that holds it. If there is a loose spot where the wire isn’t securely attached, a cat could push his way into the rabbit hutch.
Next, take a really close look at the bottom of the hutch. First, notice that this rabbit hutch sits up off of the ground which makes it easy to move and clean. However, it also will allow a cat to climb under the hutch.
Remember that the bottom wire is removable which makes it easy to clean, but not secure from cats or other predators. Without the bottom tray, this is not a cat proof bunny cage.
The bottom tray of this hutch must be securely locked in place to assure your bunny’s safety. While the tray isn’t super strong, it is strong enough to keep a cat out and the hutch sits close enough to the ground that larger predators can’t get under the cage.
Is This Rabbit Hutch Big Enough?
Some people will tell you that this hutch is nowhere big enough to house a rabbit. That said, our outdoor bunny primarily lives in a hutch about this size, though he also has access to a run. I wouldn’t want my bunny to spend all-day every-day in this hutch, but with just a little work it’s a great home for a bunny.
I’d encourage you to consider getting a rabbit run like the ones we talked about above for extra exercise space and for a safe place for you to play with your bunny without fear of her getting way or become quick pray for a nearby cat.