cat chasing rabbit, just playing?

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carmelsdad

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My cat Roxy likes to chase our lion head Carmel sometimes. Carmel runs with her ears up, and not as fast as she can, until she gets near her cage, then turns around. At this point, Roxy stops dead in her tracks, and runs away as soon as Carmel moves. I've read that a rabbit running with its ears up instead of laid back isn't really scared, and at least some rabbits like to play chase/tag. Is this true?
 

Aki

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It's hard to tell without seeing it, the rabbit can indicate fear by keeping his ears up and slightly turned toward his rear end. I wouldn't let the cat run after the rabbit, because even if the rabbit isn't scared an accident can happen in the blink of an eye. Just imagine that the cat forgot he was playing for one second lost in the thrill of the chase. I very often see post of people asking what went wrong when their cat or dog suddenly kill the rabbit they've been friend with for years. So, at least, don't leave them together without supervision.
 

carmelsdad

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She's only out if we're home, they're never unsupervised. Any ideas how to stop the cat from chasing the bunny? It's pretty hard to go against instinct, and like I said, Carmel won't run if she really doesn't want to.
 

Blue eyes

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I don't have cats but do have dogs. I would think, however, that the concept is similar. A prey animal like a rabbit does not find fun in being chased.

I know of a family that had a rabbit and a dog. The very friendly dog would playfully chase the rabbit in the yard to the family's delight. Within a week (possibly two) the rabbit died of apparent stress.

It seems that the concept would be the same with a cat.

Dogs or cats can certainly get along with rabbits. The only issue would come if the rabbit is being chased.

I've been able to train my dogs not to chase. Unfortunately I have no experience with training cats.
 

ts786

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Do you have a video? Rabbits can be best friends with cats and dogs, but they can also be completely terrified of them to a point where this fear has major health consequences. Some chasing is playful where as some is fearful.

My first rabbit chased the dog, and then got chased by the dog. As she was chasing or being chased, she would make the grunting sound she made when eating, and would frequently binky. She was not in distress, and when the dog wasn't around she would move about the house looking for him. I made sure when they first started interacting that there was an area she could hop up to that the dog could not. As she preferred to lay next to the dog instead of in this area, that helped me determine that she understood the dog was being playful, and did not see herself as being on the dinner menu.

If you provide the rabbit with an area that the cat cannot access, whether or not the rabbit goes to this area when chasing can help determine how the rabbit is interpreting the cat's playful intentions.
 
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carmelsdad

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A cat free area isn't possible with my house, short of putting the rabbit in a bedroom, which isn't happening. I'm not locking the cat away when the rabbit is out, either.

The bunny approaches the other animals, sniffs them, interacts just fine. She doesn't act scared, and when the cat does chase her, she comes right back into the living room after the cat turns tails and runs, which is what happens as soon as the bunny turns around to face her.
 

ts786

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A cat free area isn't possible with my house, short of putting the rabbit in a bedroom, which isn't happening. I'm not locking the cat away when the rabbit is out, either.

The bunny approaches the other animals, sniffs them, interacts just fine. She doesn't act scared, and when the cat does chase her, she comes right back into the living room after the cat turns tails and runs, which is what happens as soon as the bunny turns around to face her.

I'm not saying make an entire area. I am talking about a small area such as a corner or ledge area designed to act as a retreat area. It would not need to even be permanent or anything. It could even be one of those toy hay houses designed for rabbits to do into. You are testing to see what the rabbit does. If when the rabbit is chased by the cat, it retreats to this type of area, you need to take action to condition either the cat, the rabbit, or both.

It sounds like the rabbit is probably fine with what is happening. But by doing this, you can get a better answer to your original question. Heck, you could even use simple markers such as breathing, ear position, what direction the rabbit faces, the sounds you can only hear when paying close attention, and display of the eye whites to determine if this causes distress.

It's also worth noting that, if the rabbit is a relatively new addition, don't be surprised if he or she humps the cat. Even when spayed or neutered, they will still do it as it is a behavioral thing. If a rabbit decides a certain area is his or her territory, they will hump the crap out of dogs and cats. My current rabbit is a spayed female and, being free roaming and having decided that the entire home is hers, she will hump visiting animals to, presumably, send the message that, "this is MY area."
 
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I'm not locking the cat away when the rabbit is out, either.

You might have to change that way of thinking for the well being of your rabbit.

This type of thing needs to be evaluated in person or through video. Every bunny is an individual, with individual emotions and ways of expressing themselves. You as the owner are going to know how she feels better than us internet folk. No, rabbits do not generally enjoy being chased and it is good they are always supervised.

You will have to be OK with separating them as soon as the rabbit shows signs of stress (and by then it's already too late, you should separate them before that point is even close). You could try using a squirt bottle on the cat right at the moment she "turns predatory". However, separation during free time would be a lot more fair to the both of them if you can't tell whether Caramel is having fun or not.
 

Akzholedent

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.... the comment about not locking the cat up when the rabbit is out irritates me. Would you let a kid crawl around in an area with a lion? Because hinestly, that's what you're doing with a rabbit.

I love how they consider cats "domesticated," when they're not. You can pretty easily train a dog to leave things alone, yet a cat will knock over your coffee mug, because he's a jerk. Cats "play" to kill... just because it hasn't yet, doesn't mean it won't.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/s...never-be-as-domesticated-as-dogs-9858889.html
 

Ivythelionhead

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My rabbit is fine with my cats as well, though to be honest she's the one that dose the chasing.
 

carmelsdad

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I'm not saying make an entire area. I am talking about a small area such as a corner or ledge area designed to act as a retreat area. It would not need to even be permanent or anything. It could even be one of those toy hay houses designed for rabbits to do into. You are testing to see what the rabbit does. If when the rabbit is chased by the cat, it retreats to this type of area, you need to take action to condition either the cat, the rabbit, or both.

It sounds like the rabbit is probably fine with what is happening. But by doing this, you can get a better answer to your original question. Heck, you could even use simple markers such as breathing, ear position, what direction the rabbit faces, the sounds you can only hear when paying close attention, and display of the eye whites to determine if this causes distress.

It's also worth noting that, if the rabbit is a relatively new addition, don't be surprised if he or she humps the cat. Even when spayed or neutered, they will still do it as it is a behavioral thing. If a rabbit decides a certain area is his or her territory, they will hump the crap out of dogs and cats. My current rabbit is a spayed female and, being free roaming and having decided that the entire home is hers, she will hump visiting animals to, presumably, send the message that, "this is MY area."


She has a place she can go if she wants to get away. The cat pretty much stays away from her cage area, and the door is always open when she's out so she can get back into it whenever she feels like a snack or needs some water, or if she's just tired of people. Once Carmel is within a few feel of the cage, she turns around and lets the can know who the REAL boss is.

She hasn't humped anyone yet. The worst she's done to anyone so far is lunge, and when we first got her she gave me a pretty good bite when I was trying to take her food bowl out to refill it. We worked with her a lot every day after that, so now she just makes noises at us when we mess with anything in her cage. The lunging is enough to make the other animals back off though. It's funny seeing a 55 pound shepherd mix back away from a 4 pound fuzzball.
 

carmelsdad

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.... the comment about not locking the cat up when the rabbit is out irritates me. Would you let a kid crawl around in an area with a lion? Because hinestly, that's what you're doing with a rabbit.

I love how they consider cats "domesticated," when they're not. You can pretty easily train a dog to leave things alone, yet a cat will knock over your coffee mug, because he's a jerk. Cats "play" to kill... just because it hasn't yet, doesn't mean it won't.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/s...never-be-as-domesticated-as-dogs-9858889.html


yes, because letting a house cat and a rabbit be in the same room is aexactly the same as a baby crawling around a lion
 

Ivythelionhead

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Their obviously careful with letting the Rabbit around the cat, they dont let the cat near the rabbit unless there home, they don't let her cat get to vicious with the rabbit, and yes okey maybe a cat chasing a rabbit isn't the best but the rabbit can get away from the cat if she wants, plus my rabbits are around my cats all the time and there's no problem though my rabbit is usually the one that dose the chasing but my point is lay off.
 

ts786

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It does not sound like the rabbit is all that distressed. However, it would be easier to say with a video.
 

RavenousDragon

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My own cat and one of the rabbits will chase each other. Usually the rabbit instigates it. The other rabbit hates it, however, so the cat leaves her alone. So it can just be play, but I'd look into rabbit behavior more to be sure.

To be honest though, this cat has been around rabbits since she was only a few weeks old (we don't know how old really, since she was super emaciated, and potentially behind in growth- but she was not old enough to be weaned).
 

JBun

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Key to knowing whether or not a rabbit is enjoying something, is understanding their body language. Some running is fear based, some is happiness and play. There are subtle clues in their body language to look out for, to be able to know which is occurring. This link has some good info on understanding a rabbits body language.

http://language.rabbitspeak.com/
http://language.rabbitspeak.com/the-need-for-speed/
 

Azerane

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I would be discouraging this behaviour from your cat. If the cat chases the rabbit, tell it off. While it may not be sinister, accidents do happen and all it takes is one slightly different set of circumstances and the cat will do more than chase.

I also recommend a high energy play session with your cat before you let the rabbit out for play time. Find a toy that really gets your cat going, perhaps something like Da Bird, and have a good long play session to wear your cat out. At the end of the session, let your rabbit out. Your cat will likely show less inclination to chase because he's really worn out from his play session.
 

brandop

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My cat Roxy likes to chase our lion head Carmel sometimes. Carmel runs with her ears up, and not as fast as she can, until she gets near her cage, then turns around. At this point, Roxy stops dead in her tracks, and runs away as soon as Carmel moves. I've read that a rabbit running with its ears up instead of laid back isn't really scared, and at least some rabbits like to play chase/tag. Is this true?
I know this thread is old, but I think a lot of the people on here don’t know what they’re talking about. I think it’s perfectly okay that your cats and rabbits interact with each other, and it’s okay that they are not separated. They all sound like helicopter parents of their animals. If they are never interacting with each other, how are the cats supposed to react the first time they see your rabbit? They’ll probably think it’s prey. You just have to teach your cat that your rabbit is family. Same with dogs and cats. Dogs are known for not getting along with cats, but you don’t see people separating them. A dog can easily kill a cat. But it doesn’t if you train it right. Cats and rabbits are no different. Additionally, I would speak to a professional animal expert about the chasing thing. Someone who can really spot out whether the cat is preying upon the rabbit or playing. Obviously random people on the internet are quite ignorant when it comes to owning a pet.
 

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