Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rabbit Cage Set-Up: A Diagram

I love browsing the web for fun rabbit pictures. My favorites are those that show rabbits enjoying their cages and habitats. I love seeing what kind of crazy set-ups people have provided for their rabbit. Because I live in a 700-something square foot apartment, I don’t have the luxury of donating an entire room as my pet rabbit’s domain. So, given this limitation, I try to make his cage as much of a bunny haven as possible.

So, here’s a replication of Walter’s bachelor pad:

We originally bought Walter the Clean Living Large 2-Level Cage, but after doing some more reading, decided that a rabbit might prefer a longer cage rather than a taller one. So, despite Paul’s pleas to keep the prettier, more adventurous cage, I returned it and picked out the Super Pet “My First Home for Rabbits” cage in extra large. I hated that it was purple, but it was my only option.

Next, I picked out the WARE Small Animal Bungalow as a hiding place for Walter. He rarely uses it to hide, but instead likes to lie half-inside, while keeping his head out in order to see (and hear!) what’s going on in the apartment. He also likes to use it as storage for his favorite toys. I routinely find his favorite ball in the bungalow, and since the sound of him playing with this ball often wakes me up at night, I think Walter hides it in the bungalow so I won’t take it away from him at bedtime. Walter uses the bungalow as a look-out as well, hopping on top of it to see what’s going on in the other room, and watching me as I prepare his meals in the kitchen. When I walk back to the cage with his food, he hops excitedly from the roof to the other side of the cage and back. Walter’s strangest use of the bungalow, though, is squeezing his body between the side of the bungalow and the side of his cage, hiding between the two, with only his one ear perked up to hear what’s going on.

Hanging on the back wall of the cage is Walter’s hay buffet. It’s great because it keeps the cage clean, but sort of worthless because my rabbit prefers to eat the hay off the ground. As I have horrible allergies, Paul is the “hay manager,” and kindly takes care of removing hay from the buffet and sprinkling it on the floor.

Near the hay buffet are two ceramic dishes: a white one for water, and a blue one for food. Walter started off using a water bottle, but I couldn’t find one that wouldn’t leak. The trouble with the ceramic dish is that, despite its weight, Walter’s antics throughout the cage inevitably knock the dish over and a mess of water goes everywhere. If you have recommendations for a new water bottle, I’d love to hear them! The one for his food works well enough, though Walter often paws it closer to him while he’s sitting in the litter box, and this almost always results in the dish being turned upside down and food spilling everywhere. I thought rabbits liked to keep their habitats clean!

And finally, the litter box. Yes, it’s just a Rubbermaid Take-Along container. We started out with the standard Small Animal High Corner Litter Pan from Petco, but my rabbit would always scoot his little bunny butt over the side and urine would go everywhere. No repositioning could fix this problem, and I couldn’t find another high-backed litter box in the right dimensions. Surprisingly, the Rubbermaid container has worked really well for us; it’s big enough to fit the entire width of the cage to avoid misdirected sprays, but skinny enough that Walter still has ample room to hop around.

I would love nothing more than to give Walter his very own bedroom filled with tunnels and boxes with cut-outs and digging stations. But alas, the reality is that I simply cannot. His set-up works for him though. He makes his own tunnels via furniture that isn’t flush against the wall, and he makes the most of the space underneath the couch as a digging station. He’s a creative rabbit, and he seems happy. It always amazes me, though, that at the end of the day – even if he thinks he should be allowed more playtime before bed – he is content to retreat to his cage and really considers this his own little sanctuary.

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