Puppy training pads are also useful, and large incontinence bed sheets can also work. We put them in places the rabbits insist to use as litter trays, where litter trays cannot be placed, such as doorways. Puppy training pads are highly absorbent and large, relatively cheap (and very tasty to some of the rabbits, it would seem). They are mostly cellulose, and we’ve had rabbits who ate a whole one without any apparent trouble—but it’s not ideal, obviously, so do cover them with a washable mat or a Vetbed. Just make sure to cover them fully because the rabbits will sniff them out, pull them out, and have them for lunch if you leave so much as a corner showing.
Be very thorough hiding the absorbent pads, and hold them in place with heavy furniture, like this:
Your wallpaper will suffer from the attention of the average rabbit. It will be peeled off bit by bit and as high as the culprit can reach. The options are glass or perspex panels in front of the wallpaper—or no wallpaper. In the photo below, you can see how the perspex panels aid in the cleaning of urine which has carefully been squirted about the walls.
By the way, perspex may need to go quite high:
Also, make sure your art is out of reach; we’ve had picture frames disappear off the walls.
As we also found, they will try the plaster, and Barnaby, in particular, has a taste for the artex (Popcorn ceiling), as is evident from the state of our bathroom walls. Yes, here in the UK such ugliness as artex has been used on walls.
Wallpaper will be the easiest to replace, but eventually, I hope to peel the artex and cover the walls with steel sheets.
Houseplants and heights
The common houseplant (many of which are poisonous) is irresistible to the eagle-eyed rabbit. This is why they have to be placed high up, making sure there are no climbing aids nearby.
Hiding things on the windowsills is no use. In fact, it is more interesting. So, don’t. And shut your windows, too.
Even the podgiest of rabbits possess surprisingly good climbing skills. We once had a shy-looking boy, very clumsy and quiet, and more than once he climbed the wire netting and hopped across the hutch roofs, where he dined on Kim’s seedlings, and then into a neighbouring run, where he enjoyed many a sunny afternoon with the ladies, where he stayed after his third excursion—all rabbits neutered, of course.
They are not so good at swimming, as Barnaby proved. So, if you have the space and the skill, then a moat could be an answer to keeping your plants safe.
Dogs and other dangers
It’s a strange thing, but even with all that fur they still enjoy a log fire. To stop them getting a little too warm, a tri-folding guard was specially constructed, using nothing but scrap wood and wire netting. We do put a thermometer on the floor to see how warm they like it.
If you have other pets at your house, they may also need protection from the rabbits. Always supervise your rabbits with dogs. And remember: it is as much for your dog’s safety as your own peace of mind. Even a German Shepherd is not safe when an apple twig is at stake, and our dogs sustained many bruises from rabbits pouncing into their face to reclaim what was rightfully theirs.
The more amenable of the dogs may be permitted to groom your bunny.
The others will be kept under close supervision.
Unless your cat is very big and sufficiently predatory, he will not have a quiet life, either. Isaac’s cage was for his own safety, but anyone’s enclosure except the rabbit’s own is as good a litter tray as it gets.
Izzie the cat was bullied in every room he stepped into, and eventually, he had to be rehomed.
The soft furnishings
Now for your favourite leather sofa, or armchair—whichever is your personal favourite—will be the one most in danger. The wood frame is fair game but will probably go last (too hard, wax-covered, and not very nice overall), but the leather is soft and chewy, so expect a few holes if you are unable to supervise the loved ones.
If they take to peeing on a sofa, it will be in the spot of their choosing. So don’t hesitate to place an appropriately-sized litter tray where there is a damp patch, give them some snacks, and be done with it.
The use of baby gates is highly recommended to stop the furry ones from deciding the other rooms are way more inviting than the one they are in. Just make sure they cannot fit between the bars, and if they do, fix either wire mesh or a sheet of wood to the gate. It will not be very attractive, but it is superbly effective.
Another thing you need to work out is how high your bunny can jump. The gates do come in various heights, and if the rabbit clears the one designed for babies, you can always get one made for dogs.
Where there is no space for a conventional baby gate to open, we went with the folding kind.
Eventually, when you have so many baby gates, your house can pass for an obstacle course, and the more permanent solution will be required. Kim is always good at coming up with more work for me, and when she saw me sit down with a cup of tea, she had the brilliant idea of cutting all the doors in half, thus making them into stable (or Dutch) doors.
Now I cut all doors in half, we had the problem of making sure the doors were always shut. We had rabbits in every room (including the bathroom). Some 2-inch springs were purchased and screwed between the door and the frame when they were in the shut position.
When the door is opened the spring is stretched and will pull the door shut again.
Now for the ever increasing amount of cables in our lives. Rabbits can and will, with pleasure, reduce the number of cables in a matter of minutes—or increase, depending on which way you look at it. They do not care if they have electricity passing through them; in fact, this appears even more enjoyable.
It has been noted that the black ones will be the first to suffer from their razor-sharp teeth: they snip those off like roots in their warren. However, all cables will need to be placed or pinned high up and out of reach (like the one in the photo above) or encased in trunking.
You can try to hide the cables behind heavy furniture and other immovable objects. Bear it in mind, the rabbits will be searching for these cables: they will find them, and they will kill them.
Make sure they cannot squeeze through a gap you thought was too small for them. And learn how to solder and repair cables: this one thing will save you money and frustration of having to throw out perfectly good equipment.
You will need to accept that some cables will be beyond repair, and those you must throw out. Just make sure there is no rabbit attached to them, as now you went through all that trouble for your rabbit you will probably want to keep your pet.
In any case, it is good to stick to cordless equipment where possible …
… just don’t let your rabbits operate it no matter how knowledgeable they look.
Other important considerations
Keep them away from your mail …
… and email …
… because you never know what they will order:
That was a long one. But now you’ve checked it off your list you may sit back and relax with your furry bundle of happiness in your now almost bunny-proof house.
See, how happy we look? Told you it was worth it.
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