Can rabbits feel owners stress?

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sgaowens

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I am currently under a huge amount of stress and even my children have mentioned the tension in the home. This morning Oreo piddled on her stuffed rabbit. This is the first time she has ever done anything like this. She is completely litter box trained. So I am wondering if she can feel my stress and tension and is reacting to it.
 

Blue eyes

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Rabbits can pick up on the stress of us humans. Whether or not her behavior is a result of that, or a result of some other factor(s) is the question.
Is she spayed?
 

sgaowens

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Yes she is spayed. Ever since the situation with my mom has started I’ve noticed she is a little withdrawn. But if my attitude changed and I felt less stressed she is her usual self. This morning when she piddled I had just gotten off the phone with my mom where we were arguing.
 

sgaowens

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I should add that I am much more relaxed this afternoon and she is fine. Running around and doing binkies and popcorns.
 

Catlyn

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All 4 of my rabbits would sense my stress, especially my first rabbit. He would go the extra length with his supreme kissy-ness and stay in my arms longer if i was feeling worse than usual. He would stick closer to me and actively seek extra attention. My first hybrid boy was exactly the same.
My current rabbits, they understand too, but tend to do the opposite-not so fond of cuddles but will gladly take an extra minute of head scritches.
I've also noticed buns know when people are beyond tipsy. They will avoid drunk ones like a plague and are more susceptible to being irked and nippy.
 

john.thorpe1952

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They definately can,in fact the majority of animals can and do,being on many levels much more emotional and sensitive than we are.I've seen so many examples ofthis sensitiviity,and of course it will vary from animalto animal and as to how closely bonded they are with their keeper.I know it isn't always easy in a stressful situation,but if you can set aside even a little time to make a fuss of your rabbit i think you'll see a change.
 

sgaowens

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Yesterday evening I managed to do that. Her extra panels for her pen finally came in so I sat on the floor inside her pen fixing it and she was hopping all around me. Up in my lap and chinning the new panels so I think we are good. Right now she is aggravated because I moved her pen to a new location.
 

john.thorpe1952

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Glad to hear it,she doesn't seem to hold a grudge,which many can do.Thankfully for us mere humans,most of them are quite forgiving of our shortcomings.Best wishes from England.
 

sgaowens

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Oh no. She can hold a grudge. She is glaring at me right now because I refuse to move her litter box back to its old place. I built a little alcove to hold it and she doesn’t like it. The second picture is the old size of her pen.
 

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john.thorpe1952

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I spoke too soon obviously!It certainly denotes character for sure- so sad since the majority of people who have rabbits and don't realy look into their needs have no idea what hidden depths of character they have.I wish you luck with the rearrangements!
 

sgaowens

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I realized very quickly that she has character. Like “ringing” the binder clip that holds her door shut when she wants out in the morning. Or throwing her stacking cups or straw ball to get my attention. She also will sit in her veggie plate when it is close to time for her veggies or sit and stare at me when she wants her little bit of pellets in the evening. She is very spoiled and has so many facets to her I have lost count. She also brings our family immense joy, laughter and love. I never thought about a rabbit as a pet and now that I have one in my home I cannot envision any other kind of pet.
 

sgaowens

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Oh and as to the new arrangement I believe she is getting used to it. She only tried moving the litter box four times today. So in my book that is a win. The tunnel on the other hand is not where she wants it so we are trying different places until it is just right.
 

john.thorpe1952

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It's so wonderful to hear someone put it into words the way you have.I was a zoo keeper for a few years a long time ago,and had always kept animals from being a child,but with hindsight, I knew very little about rabbits even though I had read all the information at the time(born in the early 1950's).We did not appreciate how smart,sensitive,complicated and misunderstood they really were,and looking back i am often filled with regret at my ignorance,in the light of what we now understand.I can't go back and make amens but I can do everything I can to tell others about them and encourage them to look at them with fresh eyes-something I'm sure you do and something this site does so well.We don't always get it right and we make honest mistakes,but we are trying to give them the lives they deserve.
 

sgaowens

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I believe every animal has a right to the best life. I’ve had plenty of pets over the years including two cats I had to bottle feed from three days old until their death at 15. Oreo is the most multi-layered pet I’ve ever had. She has so many layers to her that I am always discovering a new layer. And the people on this site have helped me so much.
 
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I truly believe that rabbits (just like other pets with whom we have a loving and caring bond) can feel their owner’s stress.

For me boning means that I´m always aware of responding in the best possible way to even the tiniest signal that my dear bonny Bianca shows me so she (just like humans) feels seen and heard. My response encourages her to show even more of her unique and lovely personality to me. And likewise, the other way around from her to me.

Rabbits are just amazing and I simply can’t imagine my life without a cute little Bonney friend jumping happily around in my home!
 
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I agree that some rabbits are sensitive to their human’s stress. My daughter (@woahlookitsme) had a French lop named Franklin who she had to rehome to another RO member. He became that member’s emotional support bunny because he came to her whenever he sensed she needed emotional support. She even had a blog on RO about him.
 

HalaBuns

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My adopted buns are not particularly cuddly and if I’m sick with a cough or cold they will literally flee the room rather than give me any extra attention. But I had a few days last year where I was incredibly sad. They were still their sassy selves during the day, but at night I woke up to find them snuggled up by my chest, which they had never done before and have not done since. I definitely think they could tell I was in need of some comfort. Now I’m fine, they’ve gone back to pretending to not care about me at all unless I have food.
 

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