My cat attacked my rabbit

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serabeth

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I was wondering if anyone had some advice to give regarding a cat who hates rabbits. I adopted my cat when she was 6 years old from the humane society. She unfortunately has some behavioral issues and can be temperamental and bite me out of nowhere. When I met my husband, he helped train her a bit and she’s a little better now, but still pretty mean around other animals.

She’s never really gotten along with my husband’s dog that she met about a year and a half after I got her, often hissing if the dog is too close. She’d been doing this to my rabbit as well, but recently she’s been doing something odd:

She’ll go into the rabbit’s space when he’s not there, like into his empty pen, cage, or favorite hiding spot. Then when he hops over, she hisses. We’ve been trying to deter this behavior, but today, the cat slashed at the rabbit repeatedly with her front paws. She is declawed, so I do not think the rabbit has any injuries. We thoroughly examined him all over and felt under his fur and we didn’t find anything.

My husband now wants to get rid of the cat because he says she is the aggressor in this situation and we need to protect the rabbit. However, I don’t know anyone who would take her, and if she went back to the humane society, it would be her second time and she’s 11 years old…I think they would put her down.

Any advice on what we should do?
 

Catlyn

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Rabbits don't really mix with other species, especially predatorial ones. Is your rabbit freeroaming or just in a room of their own? If not, then perhaps you can dedicate/readjust one or more of the rooms to the rabbit in a way that the cat couldn't get into his spaces. If your cat hasn't learned to leave the rabbit alone, then she probably just won't. Rabbits don't really like others roaming in their areas either, as much as i know.
 

Roo1234

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You could make one room a place for your cat to stay in or your rabbit to stay in so they rarely intermix and you can keep both of them
 

John Wick

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There are some articles via the House Rabbit Society on how to introduce and facilitate the best possible relationship between a cat and rabbit (linked below).
That being said, it is true that there are some rabbits and cats that cannot be kept together. For example, cats who have high prey drive may be more difficult to have a safe relationship with.

https://rabbit.org/can-cats-and-rabbits-get-along/ - HRS linked from Small Pet Select
https://rabbit.org/cats-and-rabbits-2/ - by HRS, Amy Shapiro

While dogs and cats have different natures to some extent, reviewing this article about dogs and rabbits may provide some insight and recommendations as well: https://rabbit.org/rabbits-and-dogs/
 

serabeth

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Ok, thanks for the advice everyone. I think part of the problem was the rabbit’s favorite spot is near the cat’s litter box. I’ve moved the litter box into the other bathroom which is outside the rabbit’s fenced off area. I’ll try to keep them separate for now; our setup may have been stressful for the cat since she had to jump over the gate we put up for the rabbit to access her food and litter box. I’ve now moved both of those out to a separate area.
 

serabeth

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The rabbit is scared today :(. He wouldn’t go in his little safe space the cat attacked him from until I coaxed him in with apples. Then the dumb dog ran in for some reason and now he’s hiding under my desk with my feet in between him and the outside. He loves the dog, who is very sweet and gentle with him, but I guess her running in startled him :(. Poor bunny.
 

Cinn-a-bun

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I'm sorry for your cat. Trying to get the cat to calm down, and protect your bunny.
May be the Vet can give the cat something to calm him down.
 

serabeth

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Was the cat declawed recently?
No; she was declawed by a previous owner when I adopted her 5 years ago. She had previous issues with aggression I believe which is why she was already returned to the kennel once. At the time, I thought it would be fine since I lived alone, was single, and had no other pets.
 

Watermelons

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Have you talked to your vet about getting your cat on some type of pain control? What about a sedative?
Declawed cats tend to have a lot of chronic issues. They are basicly in constant pain and pain and cause agression or other behavioural issues.

It sounds like theu both need their own space away from each other.
 

serabeth

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Have you talked to your vet about getting your cat on some type of pain control? What about a sedative?
Declawed cats tend to have a lot of chronic issues. They are basicly in constant pain and pain and cause agression or other behavioural issues.

It sounds like theu both need their own space away from each other.
I haven’t, but I have her annual appointment coming up next month, so I could probably ask there. She’s bitten me before for touching her front paws, so maybe they do hurt. Not sure though bc my parents had a declawed cat years ago that was just fine with having her paws touched.

I think she just hates the rabbit because he was quite aggressive before we got him neutered. He would often full on lunge/charge her and chase her. We thought it was funny at the time because he is tiny and she is huge, but maybe we should’ve stopped it back then.

At any rate, after he got neutered, he’s been a lot more calm and sweet and doesn’t lunge at or chase her. But I think she remembers because any time he hops in her direction, she freaks out.

The gate between their areas has been going well, and the rabbit stopped acting fearful about 3 days after the incident and now is happily back in his spot that the cat now cannot access.
 

StarBunny

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Hi there! :)
I have had many cats and most came from other homes. It seems like your car had to battle to feel safe in the past. It was most certainly a victim of a person or other animals for it to display such fear, which is why it is reacting. I have 2 cats now and a dog and bunny. My one cat is more fearful of the dog and will hiss when the dog startles him or gets within an uncomfortable distance. Many times my dog did nothing wrong at all but the cat is trying to say, I need my space. My cats are very laid back, especially the other non hissing one, however, I do not allow the cats by my bunny unless the bunny is safe in his cage. I’m no expert but I think the cat is unsure or something is bothering him. If your cat found a place he thinks is safest, it might want that spot for himself. Are there high or out of the way places for just your cat to be able to escape to, or all all those places accessible by the rabbit too? If you do not want to keep them separate (which is probably the easiest to do) find a way to give attention and de-stress activities for your cat and his own safe places only he can go to relax. Stressed out cats do weird things. There are great articles online about how tohelp cats de stress. By the way, I am so relieved your bunny is ok. I hope all works out!
 

TreasuredFriend

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We had two declawed house cats for over a decade and they were fine. No aggression issues with our children.

Our daughter has two front-declawed cats at the moment (from rescue groups) and one is especially more aloof when I come to visit. Our SIL's tabby cat didn't like strangers coming to his home however he gradually adjusted. I'm happy that he did not act aggressively to the grandchildren when they were small as that was a concern.


I'm pleased that you've found a way to keep each pet happy and protected from further outbursts or injury-prone interaction. Happy to learn your boy is neutered and he's more calm!
 

JBun

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If you want to try on gradually building a trusting relationship with them, I would try putting feeding times near each other, separated by the fencing. I would gradually work on moving their food bowls closer(fence in between) as they grow more comfortable in each others presence. I've done it for getting cats used to each other, and for rabbits getting comfortable with other rabbits. So no reason it shouldn't work for a cat and a rabbit. Eventually your cat may no longer worry about there being a barrier.
 

serabeth

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If you want to try on gradually building a trusting relationship with them, I would try putting feeding times near each other, separated by the fencing. I would gradually work on moving their food bowls closer(fence in between) as they grow more comfortable in each others presence. I've done it for getting cats used to each other, and for rabbits getting comfortable with other rabbits. So no reason it shouldn't work for a cat and a rabbit. Eventually your cat may no longer worry about there being a barrier.
I’ll try this. Thanks! Their food bowls actually are already relatively close to the gate, but the cat generally won’t eat until she checks and makes sure the rabbit isn’t nearby lol. She also watches the rabbit while he eats pellets from his bowl.
 

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