Never underestimate a highly motivated rabbit’s ability to get into places and things that they shouldn’t. We found the biggest key to successful bunnyproofing was getting to know each of our rabbits really well. Then we knew whether to bunnyproof for a chewer, digger, thrower, jumper, burrower or combination rabbit. Knowing what your bunny is most likely to do can help you to make areas of your home safer for them or protect cherished things in the home from rabbit damage.
We read the recommendations to have open roam times be in smaller controllable spaces at first, like kitchens or bathrooms. That made a lot of sense to us because unless a new rabbit has already been litter box trained, these spaces usually have floors that are easier to clean up accidents. Small throw rugs can allow the rabbit to run some and usually the rugs used for kitchen and bathroom spaces can be easily washed too.
These smaller home spaces usually have doors or entries that are easier to block and cabinets down to the floor which don’t allow bunny to get into too many places they shouldn’t. We stuck cardboard boxes or plastic bins in any open spaces so that they were a tightly wedged fit that Tigger couldn’t easily dislodge. We thought we had done well in the kitchen with a planting bin stuck into the space beside the refrigerator that blocked it for 3 feet up. However, with Tigger we learned quite rapidly that things needed to be at least 4 to 6 feet tall if we didn’t want her to try to hop on or over them.
We spent a lot of time in the kitchen with Tigger. While we litter box trained her, we also learned she loved to run, was an awesome jumper, a so so chewer, but loved to throw her toys. Tigger from the start was suicidal in her stunts to go everywhere a bunny could possibly go and do everything a bunny could do. She really tested all the limits of our ability to stay one step ahead of her with bunnyproofing, even in the confined and controlled kitchen. Her energy level was absolutely exhausting.
The most important thing we learned about Tigger is that where she looked, she would next run or leap. Once we left the kitchen with her and started expanding her space that was an important key in bunnyproofing. If she spent any amount of time looking at something, it was going to be next on her bunny to do list.
We knew from Tigger’s sit up looks that she planned on hopping on her cage top. She had hopped up on her carrier in the kitchen which was at the outer limits of safety for the spacing of the bars to the size of her paws. We didn’t want her hopping on her big cage top or she could have easily broken a leg, since the bars there were too far apart to land safely. Fortunately we heeded her looking at it and when she did leap, we already had a piece of flat cardboard held in place by clips. She did skid a bit on the cardboard, so we found a small throw carpet that was the same size as the cardboard and then clipped that on top of the cardboard giving her a safe and comfy landing-place. Over the years it has become a place she loves to use as her high ground to survey her bunnydom.
We learned with Tigger, then Shadow many ways to keep them safe by being observant and staying one step ahead of what they might try next and either blocked access or made the area or item safer for them. On coming Wednesdays, I will share some of what we learned that really helped us bunnyproof over the past ten years so that they survived safely to be elder buns. I will also share some of what we are learning now to adjust both ourselves and them to the limitations that are coming with their older age.