Some rabbits learn to use a cat flap if it is a light one. Cat flaps are sometimes used to give privacy for breeding rabbits in laboratories (Beaumann et al., 2005). Watch a rabbit using one at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F21hkMMgRpM
NEVER stuff a reluctant rabbit through it – that will put them off for life. Try holding the cat flap open using wooden clothes pegs. Each time the rabbit goes through, you will have to change the pegs to the other side. Over time slowly lower the flap, making it only half open so that rabbit has to push with its head to open it.
Never let a rabbit out unsupervised into an unprotected garden if there is a chance of foxes, cats or even birds of prey.
Baumann, P., Oester, H. & Stauffacher, M. (2005), ‘The use of a cat-flap at the nest entrance to mimic natural conditions in the breeding of fattening rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus),’ Animal Welfare, 14, 135-142.
These notes are my copyright. I am also usually happy to have the exact words reproduced on websites, in return for a link, my name, and if permission is asked beforehand. I like to check the websites where it might be used. Email me via this website for permission which will usually be given. Organisations wishing to use them in print should contact me via this website. Copyright © 2007 Celia Haddon. All Rights Reserved.
All normal safety precautions should be taken when dealing with animals. The advice in this section should be taken only at the owner’s own risk. All sick animals should be seen by a vet.
General advice of the kind found in this website is no substitute for an individual consultation with a vet or qualified behaviourist working on a vet’s referral.