Litter Training FAQ

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Main article: Litter Training

Can a rabbit be too old to be litter trained?

Older rabbits are actually easier to train than younger rabbits, especially babies. Rabbits gain longer attention spans and learning ability as they grow.[1] If your rabbit is not spayed or neutered, you may have much more difficulty litter training your bun due to territorial tendencies.

I've been trying to litter train my rabbit for weeks, but he continues to refuse to keep his waste in the litter box. What can I do?

First note that rabbits will not have perfect litter habits. They will drop a poop pellet here and there around their cage if they feel like it is their safe zone. This is how rabbits mark their territory. Poop should not be a big deal since proper poop pellets are dry and hard, easy to sweep or pick up, and do not leave a scent.

If your problem is more serious than the above, then continue reading.

If your rabbit is not spayed or neutered, this fact plays a large part in proper litter habits. When rabbits reach puberty anywhere from 3-6 months, their hormones become active. Unfixed rabbits after this age can get very territorial and spray urine and poop everywhere. Spaying and neutering your rabbit will make it more likely for him to learn proper litter habits.

Another reason your rabbit may have messy litter habits is that you are giving him too much freedom at once. Take a look at the Training Methods section of our litter training article.

My bunny pees (in some location). How do I make it stop?

Clean the mess up with a mixture of white vinegar and water, club soda, or a pet-safe enzymatic cleanser to decrease the urge to remark the location. Soap and water alone is not sufficient to remove all chemical traces of the urine even though it may look clean.

Is your rabbit good with using their litter box? If not, take a look at the Training Methods section of our Litter Training article. If your rabbit is not neutered already, the surgery can often make a huge improvement in general litter habits.

If your bunny has good litter box habits already, you might consider getting another litter box in the problematic area. Sometimes bunnies can get too lazy to hop back to their cages and pens to eliminate. It may be easier to adapt to the rabbit than try to train them out of it.

However, in the case that the problem area is your bed or a couch, this may need to be addressed in a few different ways:

  • Keeping the rabbit off the furniture by fencing it off or covering it with a bunny-proof waterproof covering like a shower curtain.
  • Keeping a close eye on them to shoo them off and into a litter box when it looks like they are about to pee. Remember to reward the rabbit whenever they voluntarily hop in the litter box to urinate or poop.
  • Cover problem furniture with a blanket that already has their scent on it to reduce the urge for additional territorial marking.[2]

If your rabbit has already been fixed, environmental changes, stress, and medical problems can also cause poor litter habits. The introduction of a new pet or strange guests can cause your bunny to feel territorial and poop everywhere. The same may occur if you move around furniture too much or move to a new place. However, as the rabbit gets used to the new environment, their litter habits should return to normal. If no stressful or environmental factors can be detected, your rabbit may have a urinary tract infection (UTI) or another condition that is causing a weak bladder. In this case, please take your rabbit to your rabbit-savvy veterinarian to be properly diagnosed and medicated if necessary.

How many litter boxes should I have in my house/apartment/room?

For a one-story location with around three to four rooms, one litter box in your rabbit's enclosure should usually be enough. For more rooms and more than one floor, you might consider having a second litter box in some of the other rooms and on the other floors. Your rabbit will let you know if one is not sufficient.

Can my rabbit share a litter box with my cat?

For health reasons, it is better that your rabbit does not share a litter box with your cat, especially if your cat eats raw meat or goes outdoors. Infected cat feces can transmit deadly parasitic diseases such as toxoplasmosis, giardia, and cryptosporidiosis; all of which can be fatal to a rabbit within a few days.[3] While rabbits may not directly ingest cat feces, rabbits can contract the parasites in households with cats by jumping in a cat's litter box, stepping in infected cat feces, and then ingesting the parasite when cleaning their feet.

See also

References

  1. HRS, FAQ: Litter Training > 8.2 Does age make a difference?
  2. u/SlyDonutShopper. (2020). How to keep your bun from marking your furniture if you're having to wait to get them fixed. Retrieved 16 Apr 2020 from https://reddit.com/r/Rabbits/comments/g2lkjc/how_to_keep_your_bun_from_marking_your_furniture/
  3. Go Pets America, Inc., Internal Parasites in Rabbits. Accessed Aug 19, 2015.