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Do Cats Attack Rabbits? [And How To Keep Your Bunnies Safe]

If you own rabbits, then one of your sole responsibilities is to keep them safe and protected. Whether you also own a cat, you are housing your rabbits outside, or if you know of neighboring cats in the area, its important to know about how these two different species interact and get along. Will cats naturally and instinctively attack a rabbit? Do they see them as prey?

So, do cats attack rabbits? Cats will commonly attack rabbits. Hunting and killing weaker animals is what comes naturally to cats and they retain the survival instincts of their wild ancestors. Cats will not always attack for food, but may do so as a means of play and to play the role of mother/teacher.

It kind of goes without saying that it is essential to protect your rabbit(s) from any cats at all times.

Whether this is your new cat or a neighbors pet – the reality remains the same.

But there is some good news here.

Rabbits and cats can get along in time, but it does take some effort and time within controlled interactions/environments, as we shall explore later.

Let us now take a closer look at why putting these two animals together, to begin with can be problematic, before turning to some practical things you can do to help support a more peaceful, cohabitating environment.

Why Would A Cat Attack A Rabbit?

A cat may attack a rabbit due to its predatory instinct. As carnivorous animals, cats have evolved to hunt smaller animals for survival. Even domesticated cats retain this behavior. Alternatively, it can be a result of play.

Out of Instinct

Cats have an evolutionary history as hunters, wiht an ingrained chase instinct, activated by the movements of smaller creatures like rabbits.

Even domesticated cats retain this instinctive behavior, leading to potential attacks regardless of hunger.

To Play

Domestic cats may not need to hunt for food but hunting is an instinctive play behavior.

The movement of a rabbit, such as running or hopping, can trigger the predatory sequence in a cat – the urge to stalk, chase, pounce, and kill.

To Relieve Boredom

This activity also provides physical exercise and mental stimulation for the cat.

It’s worth noting that not all cats will attack rabbits, it often depends on their individual temperament and experiences.

Some cats and rabbits can coexist peacefully, especially if properly introduced and socialized.

However, the inherent risk is always present due to the predator-prey relationship between the two species.

Do Cats Kill Rabbits?

Cats do kill rabbits. Hunting and killing weaker animals is what comes naturally to cats, regardless of whether they are hungry or not.

Although cats have been domesticated for over 10,000 years, cats still possess the hunting instincts of their wild ancestors.

Biologically, they still are in possession of a digestive system that allows them to digest raw meat.

In the wild, cat mothers teach their young offspring how to eat by bringing home their dead or injured catch. Domestic cats still possess this behavior.

However, due to the modern environment and domestication, most female cats will not have kittens to present and show their ways.

By bringing their catch to your home, your cat fulfilling their role as a teacher.

However, it is now you/the pet owner, who is playing the role of the inexperienced kitten.

With all this being said, hunting rabbits is not only about obtaining food but also about their love of catching prey.

Catching a rabbit is an exciting reward, just like it is with any other other successful hunt.

Unfortunately, some cats like to torture their prey before killing it and will proudly carry the prey in their mouth before offering a dying, tortured animal to their owner.

This is just a natural occurrence that can happen if you own a cat.

If you own rabbits, you could be at the other end of such an event. It is therefore crucial you remain vigilant at all times.

Can Rabbits And Cats Get Along?

Rabbits and cats can get along, though they need to become comfortable with each other and build trust in each others company.

If you handle both animals carefully and with consideration, your rabbit should begin to feel more confident with the cat.

Equally, the cat should respect the rabbit and realize it is not to be attacked.

Sometimes, regardless of the steps you take this result will not be able to be achieved and you will have to keep them separate from one another at all times.

There are some steps that you can take to introduce the two animals; however, this isn’t a quick fix formula.

How To Help Cats and Rabbits Get Along

Keep Your Rabbit In A Secure Room

It’s essential that your rabbit feels relaxed, calm and safe.

Simply the sight of your cat can easily stress out your rabbit with serious affects on their health. One such example is gut stasis, which can be fatal.

Do not expect your cat and rabbit to get along in the very beginning, and do not attempt to introduce them at this stage.

In the beginning, you need to stop your cat from chasing your rabbit at all costs.

Its a good idea to place your rabbits hutch in a room that your cat does not have access to. Keep the door closed and provide ample space between the two.

If you have a new pet rabbit and/or a new kitten, you need to give them time and space in their new environment first.

Transfer The Cat’s Scent To Your Rabbit And Vice Versa

Before you allow them to meet face to face, do a scent swap. This involves stroking one of the animals with a plain piece of fabric, and stroke the other animal with the fabric.

Repeat this as often as feel is necessary.

This will help both animals learn about the other without any direct contact. It will also help familiarize them when they do so

Place The Rabbit In A Hutch/Cage By Themselves

The hutch/cage should have ample room for the rabbit to move around.

It should also be secure, have thin mesh bars, and enclosed hiding places for your rabbits to go. There should be sufficient hay, toys, food, and water.

Your cat should not have access to the hutch at any time. This is your rabbits safe space, home and enclosure. You want them to feel completely at ease here.

Give Your Cat And Rabbit A Chance To Meet

When the time is right, carry your cat/kitten into the room of the hutch and allow the two animals to interact through the hutch. Do this often and preferably daily.

Be sure to hold your cat at all times and leave the room at any sings of stress by your rabbit or excitement by your cat.

Make sure that the rabbit stays in the hutch during these interactions and has hiding places within the enclosure. Observe as they grow accustomed to each other’s scents, movements, and behaviors.

Allow Your Rabbit Some Time Outside Of the Hutch

The best time to do this is when both animals are relaxed and your cat is well-fed, and even a little sleepy.

Keep your cat restrained if needed, this will help your rabbit to feel safe.

Separate either pet, if they become uncomfortable or agitated at any stage.

Closely Monitor Cat And Rabbit Interactions

You must observe your pets but avoid admonishing either pet unnecessarily as they will pick up on your disapproval very quickly.

This could hinder any progress at friendship.

How To Protect your Rabbit(s) From Cats

Get A Predator-Proof Rabbit Hutch

Wooden hutches are ideal and should have weld mesh wiring. The door of the hutch should have a latch with a secure bolt.

Predators like cats, look for weak spots on the rabbit’s enclosure, so, the hutch must have strong support.

Wood is preferable, as it makes things hard for animals who will try to scratch their way through.

You must ensure the roof has a sturdy roof; this will make an ideal deterrent from predators such as cats, who would try to climb over to get at your bunny/ies.

This is an excellent, well-reviewed hutch on Amazon that you can get for a great price.

Ensure You Place The Hutch Strategically

When placing your hutch down, make sure that it’s on an impervious surface, such as concrete or marble; this will prevent animals like foxes and cats from digging underneath.

A wooden frame on a wooden stand is the safest option for your bunny.

Consider Electrical Fencing

For added protection against cats and other attackers, consider electrical pet fencing.

If any predator were to feel an electric shock, it would think again before returning for your rabbit(s).


Cats will instinctively attack rabbits; it’s in their nature and DNA. This is not something that we will ever be able to totally control.

This is why, as a rabbit owner, you need to be vigilant, careful, and wary of any cats/other potential predators.

Thankfully, in time, with patience and consistency, you can introduce a pet cat to your rabbits and help to form a bond and relationship between them.

While you will always need to be around and present within their company, the chance of attack can be greatly reduced and you can establish a more peaceful and less-threatening home environment.

Either way, its imperative that you do all you can to protect your rabbit from attack ahead of time.

Wondering what else a cat may attack? Then my following guides may be of interest