Giving Up Your Rabbit

Unfortunately, because of the number of unwanted rabbits in the Kansas City area and the limited number of foster homes available, we are unable to take owner surrendered rabbits. What we can offer is the following information, which looks to offer solutions to some of the more common problems people experience with their bunny. For those determined to forfeit their rabbit, we also offer suggestions for finding it a good home.

Allergies

One of the most common (and understandable) reasons people give for trying to place their rabbit is that someone in the family is allergic. Before deciding to give up your rabbit because of allergies, please make sure the rabbit is really the problem and that getting rid of it is the only solution!

If the rabbit’s cage is in the bedroom of the person with allergies, try moving the rabbit to a different part of the house for a while. An unused guest room or even the basement is a good place to start. Often, this will alleviate symptoms. Assuming symptoms go away, have the person with allergies spend short amounts of time (20-30 minutes to start with) with the rabbit. Increase the amount of time slowly, watching carefully for any signs of allergies. This technique worked with my husband, who sneezed around a neighbor’s rabbit and now lives, symptom-free, with two upstairs and two basement rabbits! If putting some distance between the sufferer and the rabbit does not make allergy symptoms go away, it is quite possible that the rabbit is not the cause of the problem! It is also possible that the bunny’s hay, and not the animal itself, is the problem. In that case, make sure the allergic person does not handle the hay—the problem may take care of itself.

Behavior Problems

When rabbits reach about 6-9 months of age, they become adolescents. Most rabbit behavior problems can be traced to raging hormones and will improve within 3-6 months after the rabbit is neutered or spayed. Please consider neutering/spaying your rabbit and giving him/her another chance if your primary reason for calling us is any of the following behavior problems:

  1. General loss of litterbox training
  2. “Spraying” with urine (more common in males)
  3. Aggressive behavior or “biting the hand that feeds it” (more common in females)
  4. Mounting anything in sight — your arms, legs, stuffed animals (more common in males)
  5. Chewing, digging, tearing up carpet (NOTE: Rabbits do need things they can chew on.Provide untreated wood, old phone books, empty toilet paper rolls, carpet samples, or untreated straw mats or baskets to satisfy chewing instincts)

To find a qualified veterinarian to perform your rabbit’s neuter or spay please see our list of local veterinarians.

Our Rabbit Doesn’t Get Enough Attention

If you really think your rabbit doesn’t get enough attention or human interaction, you are probably a better rabbit owner than you think! If he/she has food, water, medical care, and regular exercise time, he/she is better off than most rabbits. If you are concerned that your rabbit spends too much time alone, consider adopting a companion for him/her. Two rabbits are no more trouble than one. They will keep each other happy, healthy, and out of trouble (most destructive behavior is a result of boredom). And when you do have time to spend with them, you’ll really enjoy watching them interact!

Our Child Has Lost Interest

If this is your primary reason for calling us, please consider the lesson you are teaching your child about commitment and responsibility! Assuming your child asked for the rabbit in the first place, remind him or her that this is a living creature who is totally dependent on them for survival. Pets often represent a child’s first lessons in commitment to a relationship with another living being. Be sure the message you send is the one you want applied to other commitments in the future!

Surrendering Your Rabbit

If you are determined to get rid of your domestic rabbit, do not, under any circumstances, turn him/her loose!

Domestic rabbits are completely different from wild rabbits. They have not developed the instincts that allow them to forage for food or outwit (or even recognize) predators. Unless they are rescued immediately by animal control or a kind stranger, they will either slowly die of starvation or become “dinner” for one of the following predators: dogs, cats, foxes, raccoons, hawks, owls, snakes, etc. Below is advice on how to properly rheum or find shelter for your rabbit.

Rehoming

The following are things you can do to find a home for your rabbit:

  1. Ask everyone you know (and trust) if they would be interested in a rabbit (you neverknow until you ask — our first rabbit came from a broker we bought bonds from!). However, make sure they understand the realities of a pet rabbit — it is very traumatic for a rabbit to change homes, so make sure his/her new home will be permanent. Do not ask a pet store if they would like your rabbit — if they take it, it will probably be for snake food!
  2. Advertise, but do not say “free to good home.” A minimum price of $15-$25 should discourage people who are looking for “snake food” (no, we are not kidding). If you live in a suburb, try your local paper first. Include your bunny’s best characteristics (e.g.neutered/spayed, litterbox-trained,playful, sociable, intelligent,cuddly — be creative, but honest!). If you have pictures, consider posting them with his/her best qualities and your phone number at one or more of the following places with bulletin boards: veterinarian offices, pet supply stores (PetSmart, Petco) but NOT pet stores that sell bunnies.
  3. Interview the people who call. Make sure they know what to expect from a rabbit. Ask about previous and current pets. If your rabbit is used to being indoors, make sure he will continue to be a House Rabbit. If your rabbit is already outdoors, an indoor home — or one where he/she will be inside during extreme temperatures – is still preferable. Listen to your “gut” — if you don’t feel comfortable with a person, make an excuse and keep looking!

Shelters

If you must get rid of your rabbit quickly, please take him to an animal shelter. Be aware that a rabbit taken to a shelter will probably be euthanized, but at least death will be humane. As of 2014 the following shelters in the KC area take rabbits. Please contact them to verify:

Wayside Waifs (816) 761-8151
KC Pet Project (816) 513-9821
Great Plains SPCA (913) 831-7722 Merriam KS office, (816) 621-7722 Independence MO office

Have questions or concerns?

MOBUNGiving Up Your Rabbit

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