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Rabbits can make good pets and may be the ideal choice for people living in small apartments. They do require a great deal of socialization in the early months, however, as well as intensive litter box training. These animals are also better suited to families with older children, children well instructed in their care, or for adults with no children. Young children may be too anxious to hold them, and this can result in a rabbit that is poorly bonded.
Contrary to popular belief, rabbits can be litter box trained. They do, however, have the tendency to explore things by chewing, so an owner will need to keep them in an environment designed for these animals. It is especially important to supply lots of safe chewing opportunities and chew toys. Electrical plugs and exposed wires are very dangerous, so these should be kept well out of sight.
A rabbit should also not roam the house without supervision, since investigative chewing is likely to occur under these circumstances. Instead, when the owner cannot be home with these animals, it is important that they have cages equipped with a litter box, and spacious enough so the animal does not feel confined.
Small pets should have a cage that is at least 2 feet (0.6 m) by 3 feet (0.91 m), with a height of about 1.5 feet (0.45 m). Larger ones need a bigger cage, and minimum dimensions should be 2.5 feet (0.76 m) by 3 feet (0.91 m), with at least a 2-foot (0.6 m) height. Most enjoy a slightly larger cage. Multiple animals may be housed in large "condos" that have several levels.
Rabbits can be affectionate, but as irresistible as they may seem, they usually don’t like to be held or to sit on laps. They do however, like to be close to the people with whom they have bonded. A person can lie on the floor, and the pet will likely stay close by or cuddle up close.
Since normal behavior usually involves these animals living together in burrows, it's easy to understand why they like to lay close to people they have a relationship with. Rabbits also may enjoy being petted or brushed, especially if they are trained to accept these behaviors early on.
These animals do have strong smelling urine, although the smell reduces a little if the pet is spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering is very important because it promotes docility and prevents rabbits from feeling the urge to constantly mate. Healthcare is slightly more expensive for these pets than for a cat or dog, and small animal specialist fees may vary.
Certain breeds seem to make better pets. Large lop-eared rabbits seem to be more docile as a rule, and tend to be a bit more affectionate. Smaller breeds, like Dwarfs and Mini-Rexes, tend toward more behavior problems. Most fans will deny this, however, and point to various examples of each breed that are excellent pets. People who are interested in owning one should consider choosing a fairly calm animal if this is their first experience.
An owner won’t get the same interactive quality from a rabbit that comes from a cat or dog, but these animals do like to play with toys, and an affectionate one can provide quite a bit of entertainment. Care is a bit more labor intensive than care for an outdoor cat, for example, but many find that the care is well worth the price.