Rabbits vs Cats as Pets: Which Is The Ideal Family Companion?

Hey everyone! Are you thinking about getting a pet for your family but can’t decide between a rabbit and a cat?

In this blog, we’re going to compare rabbits and cats to help you figure out which one could be the best companion for your family.

Whether you’re a pet enthusiast or just curious, understanding the differences between these furry friends will help you make the right choice for your family.

Rabbits are social creatures that enjoy human interaction and cuddling, making them ideal companions for those seeking affection from their pets. They can be a cost-effective choice, as their diet comprises primarily of hay, which is relatively inexpensive.

Cats, on the other hand, are known for their independence and may require less individual attention. They are usually better suited to a wider variety of living situations due to their adaptability and easier access to veterinary care.

Let’s explore the unique qualities of rabbits and cats to find out which one could be the ideal family companion for you!

Key Takeaways

  • Compare and contrast rabbits and cats to find the best pet for your lifestyle
  • Evaluate the unique needs of both animals in terms of space, diet, and maintenance
  • Consider each pet’s health, lifespan, and activity level to make an informed decision.
rabbit with cat

Choosing the Right Pet: Rabbit or Cat

As a pet owner, it’s essential to find a pet that fits your lifestyle and preferences. In this section, we will discuss the pros and cons of rabbits and cats to help you make an informed decision.

Rabbit Pros and Cons


  • Rabbits are gentle, quiet, and social animals that can offer excellent companionship.
  • They’re perfect for small spaces and do well living indoors.
  • Rabbits can be trained to use a litter box, making it convenient for pet owners.


  • Rabbits have specific dietary needs, mainly consisting of hay, leafy greens, and rabbit pellets.
  • They require regular grooming to prevent ingesting loose fur.
  • Finding a veterinarian specializing in rabbits might be more challenging.

Rabbit care demands a dedicated owner who can invest time and attention to their needs.

If you’re considering a rabbit as a pet, it’s essential to research their requirements and see if they align with your lifestyle. To help you decide, take a look at Is A Rabbit The Right Pet For You?.

Cat Pros and Cons


  • Cats are low-maintenance pets as they groom themselves and quickly learn to use a litter box.
  • They can be independent and adaptive, fitting well in various living spaces.
  • Locating a veterinarian for cats is usually more straightforward than for rabbits.


  • Cats may not be as social as rabbits, and their personalities can vary.
  • They have predatory instincts and might hunt smaller animals like birds or rodents, which could be problematic for some pet owners.

Cats tend to be more independent pets but still provide excellent companionship. It’s crucial to understand a cat’s needs and requirements and assess whether they suit your lifestyle before adopting one.

Understanding Basic Needs

In this article, we will explore the fundamental requirements for keeping rabbits and cats as pets, checking into their basic needs and how to ensure their well-being in a domestic environment.

Understanding Basic Needs of cats and rabbit

Rabbit Diet

As a herbivore, a rabbit’s diet primarily consists of hay, vegetables, and a small number of pellets.

Hay, mostly comprised of grass varieties, serves as their main source of nutrition and roughage, essential for maintaining proper gut health.

Take care to choose safe vegetables for your bunny and avoid overfeeding pellets, as they can lead to obesity.

Cat Diet

In contrast to rabbits, cats are carnivores.

Their diet comprises mainly of meat-based proteins and animal-derived fats.

While commercial cat food provides all the essential nutrients for a cat’s optimal health, you can also include some raw or cooked meats and fish to effectively cater to their nutritional needs.

Housing and Space Requirements

In this section, we will discuss the housing and space requirements for rabbits and cats as pets, covering the essential considerations for providing a comfortable and safe living environment for these beloved companions.


Providing adequate housing and space for your rabbit is vital, both for physical and mental well-being.

A large enclosure measuring at least 4 ft x 2 ft is recommended, allowing your furry friend enough space to run, explore and play.

The area should include a litter box, sleeping den, and entertaining toys to avoid boredom. How to Set Up a Rabbit Cage offers a comprehensive guide on setting up a comfortable and secure living space for your pet bunny.

Furthermore, rabbit bedding is an important aspect contributing to a cozy home. Provide soft and absorbent bedding that can be easily replaced and cleaned.


Cats have relatively lower space requirements compared to rabbits. A cat’s living area should consist of a litter box, access to water and food, and space for play and exploration.

Cats naturally seek high places and often benefit from having a designated climbing structure or cat tree.

Ensuring that your feline pet can roam and interact with their environment will significantly impact their well-being.

Health and Lifespan

In this segment, we will delve into the health considerations and average lifespan of rabbits and cats as pets, providing insights into their well-being and longevity in a domestic setting.

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Common Rabbit Health Issues

Rabbits can experience health issues such as GI stasis, a potentially life-threatening condition affecting their gastrointestinal systems.

It’s important for rabbit owners to recognize the key signs and prevention tips of this condition.

Another issue rabbits can face is flystrike, which commonly affects them during warm weather and can be life-threatening if not treated timely.

Furthermore, rabbits may also experience other illnesses like ear mites, dental problems, and infections.

Familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of common rabbit illnesses can help you spot any issues early and seek appropriate treatment.

For ear mites, effective treatment solutions are available to ensure healthy ears and general well-being.

Common Cat Health Issues

Cats, on the other hand, may experience health issues such as feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), upper respiratory infections, and kidney disease.

Regular visits to your vet for check-ups and vaccinations can help catch and manage any health problems that your cat may encounter.

Spaying and neutering your cat not only helps prevent overpopulation but also decreases the risk of specific health issues, such as pyometra (a life-threatening infection) in females and some forms of cancer in both sexes.

Life Expectancy

Rabbit life expectancy varies depending on their care, diet, and breed, with most domestic rabbits living up to 8-12 years.

As your rabbit ages, their metabolism slows down, and mobility decreases, which may require specific elderly rabbit care to ensure optimal health and well-being.

Cats generally have a longer lifespan than rabbits, ranging from 12-18 years.

Providing proper nutrition, routine veterinary care, maintaining a safe living environment, and spaying or neutering your cat will contribute to a longer, healthier life.

In terms of vet bills, both rabbits and cats may require occasional visits for vaccinations and routine check-ups.

However, rabbits may require additional costs for dental care due to their constantly growing teeth. Make sure to budget for these expenses to ensure the health and happiness of your furry friends.

Behavior and Temperament

In this section, we will explore the behavior and temperament of rabbits and cats as pets, shedding light on their unique traits and providing valuable insights for understanding and nurturing these animal companions.

Can Cats And Rabbits Get Along?

Rabbit Behavior

Rabbits are social animals with a complex language of noises and body language. They need companionship and crave attention and affection.

Establishing a hierarchy is natural for them, as they can display dominance in certain situations. You can learn more about dominance in rabbits by reading this article.

Being prey animals, rabbits can be skittish and always on the lookout for potential danger.

They have a wide range of body language signals to express their emotions and communicate, coming from their wide eyes and long whiskers.

As a rabbit owner, it’s important to understand the different rabbit noises and their meanings, using this guide as a resource.

Rabbits may become anxious or fearful, displaying several signs of distress or unease. Recognizing and addressing fear and anxiety in rabbits is crucial to ensure their well-being.

If your rabbit experiences anxiety, there are strategies to help calm and comfort them.

Cat Behavior

Cats, on the other hand, are more independent and often exhibit behavior that stems from their predator instinct. They may be territorial and wary of strangers, while others enjoy human companionship and attention.

The feline body language communicates a lot about their mood and intentions. For example, an arched back and flattened ears may indicate fear or aggression, while a slow blink can be a sign of trust and affection.

Unlike rabbits, cats may not require the same level of supervision, as they can be left alone for longer periods without anxiety.

Yet, ensuring that they feel safe and secure within their environment can foster a strong bond between you and your feline friend.

Remember, although these general behaviors are common among rabbits and cats, each pet is unique and may exhibit different temperaments.

Taking the time to learn about your pet’s specific needs and behaviors is essential to provide them with the best care and develop a trusting and loving relationship.

Maintenance and Care

In this part, we will cover the maintenance and care requirements for rabbits and cats as pets, offering essential guidance on meeting their needs and ensuring their well-being in a domestic setting.

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Rabbit Grooming Needs

As a rabbit owner, it’s important to maintain your rabbit’s fur and overall hygiene. Brushing your rabbit regularly helps to prevent hairballs and matting.

Learn the basics in minutes on how to brush a rabbit. Additionally, your rabbit’s teeth require essential dental care to prevent overgrowth, which you can learn more about from these rabbit dental tips.

Remember to keep their nails properly trimmed using a quick and easy step-by-step guide and ensure they stay cool during hot summer months with expert tips and tricks.

Cat Grooming Needs

Cats, on the other hand, require different maintenance. They groom themselves, but you may need to assist with brushing for long-haired breeds.

This helps remove loose hair and keep their coat healthy. Regular nail trimming and dental care are important for both rabbits and cats, albeit with their distinct methods.

Cleaning Routines

When it comes to cleaning, both rabbits and cats have unique requirements.

For rabbits, you need to ensure their living space is clean and safe. Here are some steps for maintaining a hygienic rabbit habitat:

  • Regularly clean the cage with a quick and easy cleaning method to ensure a healthier pet.
  • Sweep up any scattered hay and droppings daily.
  • Rabbit-proof your home to prevent chewing of wires or ingestion of harmful materials.

Cat owners, on the other hand, need to provide a clean litter box and spot-clean as needed. Scooping the litter box daily and replacing the entire litter bi-weekly helps to maintain a fresh environment.

When comparing the two pets, rabbits may require more attention in terms of grooming and living conditions. Cats also need care, but their independence allows them to be generally lower-maintenance pets.

Activity Level and Enrichment

In this section, we will discuss the activity level and enrichment needs of rabbits and cats as pets, providing valuable insights into keeping these animals stimulated and happy in a home environment.

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Exercise Requirements

Rabbits need regular exercise to maintain their health and well-being. Providing ample space for them to hop and explore is essential.

According to a rabbit care expert, rabbits require several hours of daily exercise outside their cage or enclosure.

On the other hand, cats are known for their bursts of activity followed by periods of rest. They also need exercise but may require less hands-on involvement from you.

Play and Stimulation

Both rabbits and cats need mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Offer your rabbit a variety of toys to chew, dig, and play with.

Rabbit toys can range from simple homemade options to store-bought enrichment items. Cats are natural predators, so their toys are often designed to mimic prey.

Engaging your cat in interactive play with toys like feather wands, balls, and laser pointers will satisfy their hunting instincts.

Training and Tricks

While rabbits may not be as quick to learn tricks as cats, they are still capable of training and can learn basic commands.

With plenty of patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement (like treats), you can teach your rabbit some simple tricks and commands.

As a veterinarian specializing in rabbits, I’ve seen how rabbits can even learn to play fetch, roll over, and jump through hoops!

Cats, on the other hand, are highly intelligent animals that excel at learning tricks and commands. From fetching items to walking on a leash, cats can be trained to perform a variety of tricks and follow various orders.

Several hours of daily exercise outside their cage/enclosure neededSporadic bursts of energy
Chew, dig, and play toys needed for enrichmentPredator-based toys, such as feather wands and laser pointers
Capable of basic command trainingHighly intelligent, able to perform various tricks

When it comes to activity levels and enrichment, rabbits need more hands-on attention and exercise, while cats, being more independent, can entertain themselves for longer periods. Keep this in mind when considering which pet is the best match for your lifestyle and preferences.

Dietary Considerations

In this segment, we will explore the dietary considerations for rabbits and cats as pets, offering essential guidance on meeting their nutritional needs and ensuring their overall health and well-being.

Feeding Rabbits

Rabbits primarily feed on plants and their dietary needs consist of hay, leafy greens, and specially formulated rabbit pellets.

Your rabbit’s diet should be composed of about 80% hay, which is relatively cheap compared to other food options and provides them with essential fiber to support their digestive system.

In addition to hay, provide a variety of leafy greens and vegetables, such as kale, arugula, and bell peppers.

Remember, not all plants are safe for rabbits, so always keep a list of safe plants for them to eat. Pellets should be given in moderation, as they can be high in calories and fillers.

Check this guide on rabbit pellets to ensure the right balance in your bunny’s diet. Finally, access to clean, fresh water is essential for your rabbit’s well-being.

Here’s a simple breakdown of a rabbit’s diet:

  • Hay: 80%
  • Leafy Greens: 10-15%
  • Pellets: 5%
  • Fresh Water: Always available

Feeding Cats

Cats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores, which means their diet should primarily consist of meat to provide them with the essential amino acids and protein needed for their health.

Meat should make up the majority of a cat’s diet, and it can come from various sources, including poultry, fish, and other available meats. Commercial cat foods generally fulfill most of these dietary requirements.

Cats also require water to stay healthy, but unlike rabbits, they might not drink water as frequently. Providing wet food can boost their water intake, preventing dehydration and promoting kidney function.

Here’s a simplified breakdown of a cat’s diet:

  • Meat-based food: Majority of their diet
  • Protein: High percentage
  • Wet Food: Encouraged
  • Fresh Water: Always available

Having a deeper understanding of your pet’s dietary needs is crucial to maintaining their health and ensuring they are well-nourished. Remember, feeding them the right kind of food plays a significant role in the overall quality of their life.

Social and Space Needs

In this section, we will delve into the social and space needs of rabbits and cats as pets, providing valuable insights into creating a nurturing environment that supports their natural behaviors and well-being.

Rabbit Social Interaction

Rabbits are social animals that require companionship to thrive. In fact, they often do best when housed with another rabbit.

But be cautious when introducing rabbits to other pets; they may be intimidated by larger animals like cats or dogs. For more detailed information on introducing your rabbit to other pets, visit this rabbit care expert advice page.

Having only one pet rabbit is possible, but it requires more attention from you to ensure their happiness. You can learn more about having a single rabbit by reading this guide.


Rabbits need spacious enclosures with sufficient room for hopping around. Recommended minimum enclosure size is 4 ft x 2 ft, with some additional space for them to stretch their legs and play.

Cat Space Utilization

Cats, on the other hand, are more independent creatures and can adapt better to smaller spaces. They only need enough room for a litter box, food, water, and a comfortable spot to rest.


Cats enjoy human interaction but are also content to spend time alone. This makes them a more low-maintenance pet than a rabbit, which needs more social interaction to stay happy and healthy.

To sum up, cats and rabbits have different social and space needs. Rabbits require more companionship and a larger enclosure for proper exercise and well-being. Cats are more self-sufficient and can adapt to smaller living spaces.

The Cost of Ownership

In this part, we will cover the cost of ownership for rabbits and cats as pets, offering insights into the financial considerations and responsibilities involved in caring for these beloved animal companions.

Initial Setup Costs

For rabbits, the initial setup costs can vary depending on your choices. A basic hutch can cost anywhere from $50 to $300.

Toys and accessories can add another $20 to $100, while litter boxes, dishes, and grooming items add another $20 to $50.

If you decide to adopt a rabbit, adoption fees may range from $50 to $75 with benefits like spaying or neutering already done.

In contrast, with cats, you need to spend around $100 on basic necessities like dishes, a collar, toys, a litter box, and a scratching post.

However, cat owners also need to account for the cost of a climbing tree, which can add an extra $50 to $200 to the initial setup.

ItemRabbit Cost RangeCat Cost Range
Housing$50 – $300$50 – $200
Toys & Accessories$20 – $100$50 – $150
Litter Box & Dishes$20 – $50$20 – $50
Adoption or Purchase$50 – $75 (Adoption)N/A

Monthly Care Expenses

Owning a rabbit can cost you around $300 to $800 annually on average. Monthly costs for food, litter, and bedding range from $10 to $50.

Rabbits also need preventive care which focuses on a healthy diet, proper grooming, and cleaning of their living space.

Veterinary expenses for rabbits can range depending on your location and their specific needs, but you can expect to spend $50 to $300 on average for annual checkups, vaccinations, and other routine care.

On the other hand, cat ownership costs around $835 annually according to the BCSPCA. Monthly expenses for food, litter, and grooming are similar to those for rabbits.

While cats may require less space, they still need preventive care, vaccinations, and routine checkups which can cost a few hundred dollars per year.

As a vet specializing in rabbits, I’ve seen many rabbit owners effectively save money by investing in high-quality supplies and taking proper care of their pets from the start.

If you are considering either a rabbit or a cat as a pet, it’s essential to carefully consider the expenses and dedicate your time and effort into keeping them happy and healthy.

Pros and Cons of Rabbit Care

Quiet pets: One of the biggest advantages of owning a rabbit is that they’re generally quiet pets. Rabbits don’t vocalize loudly like cats, which means no annoying meows waking you up in the morning.

Companionship: Rabbits are social animals and thrive on interaction with their owners. They require daily attention, so you’ll need to allocate time for petting and playing with your bunny companion.

Diet: Rabbits have a simple diet that mainly consists of hay, fresh vegetables, and water. This makes feeding rabbits less complicated than cats, as you don’t need to worry about finding the right blend of nutrients for a balanced diet.

Supervision: It’s important to keep a close eye on your rabbit, as they can be prone to health issues like dental problems or digestive troubles. Regular vet check-ups are recommended for maintaining good health, along with monitoring for any signs of illness.

Space requirements: Rabbits need more space than cats, as they’re active animals that love to run and jump around. A dedicated indoor enclosure or outdoor hutch with enough room for exercise is essential.

Quiet petsSupervision needed
CompanionshipRequire more space
Simple dietRegular vet checkups

As a vet specializing in rabbits, I’ve witnessed firsthand how rewarding these animals can be as pets.

Despite the extra care and attention required, their unique characteristics and engaging personalities make them a joy to have in your home.

Remember to consider these pros and cons when deciding if a rabbit is the right pet for you.

Pros and Cons of Cat Care

Diet: Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require a diet rich in proteins. You’ll need to provide your feline friend with quality cat food that meets their nutritional needs. On the bright side, cats often eat smaller portions than other pets, which can help save on food costs.

Grooming: While cats are known for being self-sufficient groomers, you should still brush your cat regularly to help minimize shedding and prevent hairballs. Also, remember to trim their nails and provide dental care.

Prey Drive: Cats have an innate instinct to hunt and may go after small animals, even when living indoors. To help satisfy this drive, give your cat toys and regular playtime to keep them mentally stimulated and to prevent boredom.

Companionship: Cats can be quite independent, but they still appreciate and need companionship from their owners. Spending time with your cat, whether through play or simply petting them, can help strengthen your bond. Some cats may even pair up with a fellow feline if given the opportunity.

Affection: It’s a common misconception that cats are aloof and indifferent. In reality, most cats enjoy receiving affection from their owners. However, each cat has its individual preference and some may be more reserved in showing affection.

Lower maintenancePossible vet costs
Independent groomingRequires regular grooming assistance
CompanionshipCan show signs of behavioral issues if left alone
AffectionateVaries in the level of affection displayed

In my years as a vet, I’ve seen cat owners experience great joy when their pets cuddle up to them, but also frustration when dealing with health or behavioral issues.

Like any pet, cats have their pros and cons, so be prepared to adapt to your feline’s specific needs and personality.


In the end, choosing between a rabbit or a cat as a pet depends on your lifestyle and preferences. However, to provide a well-rounded perspective, certain factors must be considered.

  • Space and housing: Rabbits need more space than cats. They require larger enclosures with room for exercise. Keep in mind that adequate space is necessary for rabbits’ well-being.
  • Attention and socialization: While cats are more independent, rabbits thrive on companionship and may require more attention. They are social creatures who enjoy interacting with their human families.
  • Diet and care: Rabbits have a unique diet compared to cats, primarily consisting of hay and fresh vegetables. Their care requirements can be more challenging, especially if you are new to rabbit ownership.
  • Litter training and destructiveness: Cats generally adapt to litter training more quickly than rabbits and tend to be less destructive with their surroundings.

As a veterinarian, I can attest to the joy and companionship these pets can bring. However, it is crucial to thoroughly research and prepare yourself for the responsibilities involved in pet ownership.

Regardless of your choice, both rabbits and cats can become cherished family members when given proper love, care, and attention.


How do rabbits and cats compare in terms of activity levels?

Both rabbits and cats are most active during the morning and evening. They tend to nap for most of the day, and as they grow older, their energy levels decrease. This makes them less demanding than dogs in terms of activity.

What are the differences in housing requirements for rabbits and cats?

Rabbits require much more space than cats. They need an enclosure that’s at least 4 ft x 2 ft, along with additional room for running and playing. Cats, on the other hand, only need enough room to access food, water, and litter, plus some space to play.

How do their diets differ?

Rabbits have a plant-based diet consisting of hay, leafy greens, and rabbit pellets. In contrast, cats are carnivores, meaning their diet consists primarily of meat. It is essential to provide proper nutrition according to each pet’s dietary requirements.

As a vet, I’ve seen many cases where improper diets led to health issues in both rabbits and cats. Make sure to follow the appropriate dietary guidelines for your pet.

What are the physical differences between rabbits and cats?

Size2-5 pounds5-15 pounds
MovementHop and jump with longer hind legsWalk and sprint with even leg length

Rabbits have wide eyes and long whiskers that help them sense their surroundings, whereas cats have shorter whiskers and excellent night vision.

Keep in mind that these are generalisations and individual pets may vary in their characteristics. It’s important to consider each pet’s personality and specific needs before deciding which one might be the best fit for your lifestyle.

Maurice Alice

Dr. Maurice Alice is a veterinary expert with over 10 years of experience in exotic animal medicine, specializing in dental care for rabbits and rodents. He is dedicated to providing exceptional care for his patients and is passionate about promoting animal welfare.

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