Rabbit as a pet: why add it as a member of your family

Rabbits are great pets for all who live in flats, but cannot afford a cat, or just want to have a cheerful companion who won’t let you down and can handle being alone at the same time. Still, there are certain factors you should think about before getting a pet rabbit. We interviewed breeder Nikola Čapková on what it entails to have a pet rabbit.

What are the benefits of having a pet rabbit?
Rabbits are very intelligent creatures. For some people, silence is one of the benefits – rabbits don’t bark as dogs do. If they inhabit a flat in a block of flats, a rabbit might be the right choice when you want to be considerate to your neighbours. Another benefit is the relatively easy “maintenance” – these pets only need claw trimming and brushing from time to time. At the same time, certain breeds are as big as a cat, which is good for those who cannot afford a cat. To me, a rabbit is a trouble-free pet that doesn’t require much in terms of its surroundings and special training. Moreover, rabbits very often do well on their own and don’t need a companion of the same species as guinea pigs do.

Is there any group of people for which a rabbit is better suited than other small rodents?
Rabbits are certainly good for children who could accidentally hurt any smaller rodent, like a hamster. Rabbits are larger, and thus much safer to handle. Furthermore, rabbits are great because of their patience, but if someone treats them badly, they may bite. Rabbits are great teachers – they won’t let themselves get pulled by the ears or poked in their noses. 

What should people consider before getting a pet rabbit?
The financial side of it certainly plays a role (care can be financially demanding, for example, in case of illness or unexpected injury). Also, we should consider whether we have enough time or whether the rabbit will have everything it needs, for example, the ability to move around and stretch. 

Is it appropriate to get a pet rabbit in a flat?
Definitely. Rabbits don’t need a whole yard. All they need is a human company and enough food. Plus, they are trouble-free creatures, which is why most landlords don’t mind them. Rabbits are also very clean.

When, on the other, should one avoid getting a pet rabbit in a flat?
If you have allergies, I would definitely reconsider getting a pet rabbit. If you suspect that the rabbit's fur might make someone in your household uncomfortable, you should consult a doctor first. Time is also another factor. If you know that you spend entire days at work, you should think about whether the rabbit will be safe at home all the time. 

How much does having a pet rabbit cost on a monthly basis?
If I were to break it down:
Pellets 15 kg: approx. 3,5 €, depending on the brand 
Brit feed 3 kg: 12 €
Shavings: approx. 4 €
Vegetables: 4 to 8 €
Buying other things (a new toy here and there): 4 €
Veterinary care for half a year: vaccination 7 €, test for coccidia 5 € and others.

We should also take into account any unexpected costs (injury, illness).

What else should the care include?
You shouldn’t forget about lots of love. Rabbits are pets able to give the love back. Some time and finances, of course, should be taken into account as well. Standard training is also important. Paying the pet more attention in puberty is important. 

Is there anything you would recommend to people who opt for getting a pet rabbit?
I certainly recommend getting a purebred rabbit with a pedigree and a tattooed identification. Choosing the right rabbit is the beginning. The breeder should be helpful throughout the rabbit’s life. Of course, before taking the rabbit, I would recommend reading some basic information or visiting the breeder and getting informed.

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