Apartment living often comes with limitations, especially regarding pets. But don’t rule out welcoming an adorable bunny buddy just yet! Rabbits can make for delightful apartment companions with the right prep and training. All it takes is a little creativity. Follow these handy tips to transform your small urban space into a fabulous rabbit wonderland. We’ll cover everything from gaining landlord approval to rabbit-proofing your place. You’ll learn smart solutions for housing, clean-up, noise issues, and more. Getting that fuzzball you’ve always wanted is totally doable, even in tight quarters. Just hop to it and get ready for an unbelievably fun adventure with your new house rabbit!
Rabbits are Great Apartment Pets! (11 tips to help you get started)
1. Make sure your apartments allows rabbits
Before bringing home a rabbit, make sure your apartment community and landlord allow them. Many apartments have pet restrictions, including restricting certain animals like rabbits. Check your lease agreement and apartment rules and regulations. You may need to pay an additional pet deposit or pet rent. Get written permission from your landlord before getting a rabbit. Make sure to clarify exactly what breeds and how many rabbits are allowed.
When inquiring with your landlord or apartment manager, emphasize that rabbits can be ideal apartment pets. They are quiet, odorless, and can be litter trained. With proper care and attention, rabbits won't cause any disturbances or damage. Offer to provide references from past landlords or neighbors that can vouch for you being a responsible rabbit owner. Point out that your rabbit will be safely confined in an enclosure and supervised when out playing. Reassure them that you’ll properly bunny proof the apartment.
If your apartment doesn't allow rabbits, ask what needs to be done to get an exception. Offer to pay a higher pet deposit or monthly pet fee. Volunteer to have your rabbit spayed or neutered to prevent noisy thumping and aggression. You can also suggest a trial period of 3-6 months and agree to remove the rabbit if any issues arise. Getting a letter from your veterinarian certifying your rabbit's health and temperament may help sway your landlord. Persistence and willingness to compromise may convince them to make an exception.
If you’re ultimately denied permission for a rabbit after negotiating, consider moving when your lease is up. Look for apartments that specify allowing rabbits on their pet policy. Some even have separate listings categorized as "pet friendly" units. You can also consider nearby private houses for rent that don’t have the same restrictions. Don’t let an uncooperative landlord deter you from rabbit ownership forever. With some flexibility and searching, you can find a home suitable for your bunny buddy.
2. Spay or neuter your rabbit
One of the most important things you can do for your rabbit's health and behavior is to spay or neuter them. Neutering helps curb aggression and territorial marking habits. Female rabbits especially should be spayed to prevent uterine cancer, which can be fatal. Spaying/neutering minimizes destructive thumping and noisy mounting behavior. It also reduces that distinct musky odor intact rabbits give off. Overall, sterilized rabbits make better apartment pets as they are calmer and better behaved.
Most veterinarians recommend scheduling the spay or neuter procedure around 6 months of age. However, it varies for each rabbit. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the appropriate timing for your particular rabbit. Make sure you go to an experienced rabbit-savvy vet, as the surgery and aftercare differs from cats and dogs. The House Rabbit Society has a directory of qualified rabbit vets.
Allow 1-2 weeks for your rabbit to recover post-surgery, as they should be closely monitored for any complications. During this time, limit their mobility and prevent them from chewing stitches. You may need to hand feed them critical hay and water if they are groggy. Take time off work if needed to properly care for them during the recovery period. The upfront investment of spaying or neutering leads to a happier, healthier rabbit and prevents unplanned litters. It's a must for any rabbit living in close quarters.
3. Have a home base for your rabbit
Rabbits are most comfortable and secure when they have an established home base inside your apartment. This is an area they can retreat to when they want privacy, rest, or sleep. It should be an enclosed cage or a penned off section of a room blocked by an exercise pen. The minimum recommended size is 8 square feet, bigger if possible. Make sure it's tall enough so your rabbit can stand on their hind legs without escape. Rabbits are active and need ample space to stretch out when confined.
Fill the home base with these rabbit essentials:
Plush bedding and blankets for snuggling and warmth
Litter box filled with hay and rabbit-safe litter
Food bowls for pellet food, vegetables, and unlimited hay
Hideaway houses or cardboard boxes to dart into
Safe chew toys to nibble on
Position the home base in a peaceful spot away from noisy appliances and direct sunlight. Try placing it against a back corner or wall. Keep the sides partially covered to create a protected den-like environment. Place food, water, and litter boxes near the enclosure entrance for easy access. Consider installing a baby gate around the home base when your rabbit is roaming so they can easily return. Be sure to rabbit proof the rest of the apartment too.
Let your rabbit retreat here when they need comfort and security. The home base creates a little zone of familiarity, even in a small apartment. Respect when your rabbit ducks into their home base, signaling they need some downtime.
4. Use an enclosure that’s easy to clean
A key factor of rabbit enclosures for apartments is that they be easy to clean. Rabbit's potty habits make cleanliness a top priority. Unlike cats, rabbits do not bury their waste. Any living areas need regular sanitizing to prevent odors and bacteria. Look for setups with smooth surfaces and removable parts for maintenance access.
Plastic bottom or metal framed cages with pull-out plastic trays are the most apartment friendly. They allow you to frequently empty soiled bedding and swap out tray liners. Wire mesh sides also promote ventilation and are chew proof. Try putting disposable puppy pads or newspaper in the tray too. Just slide out the dirty pads for quick changes between deep cleans.
For exercise pens, use washable padded floor mats covered in fleece blankets. Avoid carpet or rugs that absorb urine and odors. The mats can be tossed in the washing machine regularly. Or opt for interlocking plastic floor tiles or laminate boards that wipe clean. Never place enclosures directly on hardwood floors or baseboards either.
When cleaning, use gentle rabbit-safe products like diluted vinegar, unscented soap, or steam cleaners. Strong chemicals and fumes are unsafe around rabbits. Their sensitive respiratory systems are easily irritated. Proper enclosures coupled with good litter habits and cleaning keeps the apartment smelling fresh.
5. Use space saving furniture
Fitting a rabbit setup into a modest apartment takes some creative space planning. Look for compact furniture and enclosure options to maximize every inch. Vertical stacking and wall mounting can help circumvent limited floor space.
For housing, choose a tall narrow cage with platforms instead of wide and low. Opt for 2-3 tier wire shelving units to use as levels for climbing and lounging. Hang wire storage cubes or wire baskets on walls for hideaways. Use spring-loaded door mounts and brackets to securely attach these elements.
When building a pen, go with stackable panels rather than large free-standing exercise pens. Look for lightweight frames and mesh panels that fold down compactly. Use wall anchors and cable ties to affix panels directly against walls as makeshift enclosures.
For litter boxes, feeding stations, and supplies, utilize wall mounted shelves, hanging fabric cubbies, and over-the-door storage. These vertical storage solutions keep items organized while conserving floor space. Just ensure everything is securely fastened and not at risk of falling on your rabbit.
Getting creative with compact and multi-purpose furniture lets you design a complete rabbit habitat. Even in a studio apartment, you can make space for your hopping friend.
6. Cover carpets
Protecting apartment carpeting helps contain those unavoidable rabbit accidents. Avoid damage from urine spraying, droppings, and digging. Cover any wall-to-wall carpets with a layer of protection that is waterproof and easy to clean.
Try using a large area rug or cut-to-fit vinyl floor runners. These create a barrier over the actual carpet. Look for non-slip backing so the cover stays firmly in place. Use additional area rugs on top for traction and softness. Just watch out for rugs with looped piles which can catch nails.
If you don’t want to cover the whole room, use interlocking foam play mats, rubber stall mats or vinyl tiles around key areas. Throw blankets over couches and chairs too. When accidents happen, you can toss covers in the wash instead of shampooing carpets. Rotate out rugs and blankets to have clean spares ready.
You can also lay protective clear plexiglass sheets over carpets to create temporary plastic flooring. Purchase sheets at your local hardware store and secure them with double-sided tape painted on the perimeter. Plexiglass prevents digging damage too.
Properly covering and protecting carpets saves your security deposit and makes cleanup much easier. It gives you peace of mind about stains and odors impacting the underlying carpet.
Related Post: The Complete Guide to Bunny Proof Your Home
7. Clip your rabbit's nails regularly
To avoid snags and damage, rabbit nails need regular trimming. Try to clip them every 4-6 weeks. Long nails can catch on carpet, scratch furniture, and tear down wallpaper. You’ll also avoid getting scratched during handling.
Use properly sized clippers designed just for rabbits. Illuminate nails with a bright flashlight so you can clearly see the pink quick inside to avoid cutting too short. Give a little treat afterwards so they associate it with a positive experience.
Go slowly and do just 1-2 nails at a time until they get comfortable with the process. Even better, ask someone to gently hold them wrapped in a towel burrito style to keep them calm and still. Have styptic powder on hand in case of any bleeding.
Save clippings as a chew toy so they can file down remaining sharp points. You can also use river stones, concrete pavers, ceramic tiles or rough textured rugs in their space to help wear down growth. Keeping those nails trim ensures your apartment furnishings and you stay scratch-free!
8. Block baseboards
Rabbits love chewing on wall trim and baseboards. To protect your apartment’s woodwork, block access to these prime targets. Surround baseboards with tall cardboard protectors or foam tubing slit down the side. You can slide either on like sleeves over the trim. Look for extra tall sizing with wings that extends a few inches up and out from the wall.
For standalone barricades, cut x-pen wire panels to size and anchor them over baseboards with brackets. The mesh screening prevents nibbling while still allowing airflow. Similarly, affix sheets of plexiglass as barricades using sticky-back Velcro strips. The plastic acts as a see-through shield.
If you rent, ask the landlord if they have spare scraps of baseboard trim or molding. Use these to temporarily replace sections rabbits can reach. Just save the original pieces to swap back in when moving out. The scrap wood offers a sacrificial DIY alternative the landlord won't mind getting chewed up. Protecting the actual apartment’s permanent baseboards will save you money and headaches.
9. Rabbit proof wires
Prevent electrocution and fire hazards by concealing all exposed wires. Rabbits love to chew and peel casings. Secure loose plugs and hide cords inside plastic tubing or flex loom split open lengthwise. Coil up excess cordage and fasten it back with zip ties or twist ties.
For permanent protection, run cords inside white PVC irrigation pipe with openings drilled for outlets. Conduit pipe wiring is safe and makes a cleaner looking setup. Use cable staples to affix them tightly along baseboards or undersides of furniture.
Limit use of electrical devices in the rabbit area altogether. Extension cords and power strips should be avoided since rabbits can easily reach and damage them. Hardwire ceiling lights instead of table lamps which are more vulnerable. Place any essential devices up high on anchored floating shelves.
Be diligent about monitoring conditions daily and replacing exposed wires. A curious bunny can shred an unprotected cable faster than you’d expect. Take preventative measures so you don’t come home to a shocking emergency situation. Your rabbi’s safety depends on it.
10. Litter train your rabbit
The key to odor control and cleanliness in a small space is diligent litter training. Rabbits naturally like going in one spot. With positive reinforcement they can quickly learn to use a designated litter box.
Place litter boxes where bunnies leave droppings like corners and cubbies. The sides offer privacy and containment. Fill boxes with paper or aspen shavings and a layer of hay to encourage nibbling. Add their stray poops daily so they associate the box with pottying. Give treats whenever they use their box properly.
Use one box for each rabbit, plus extras in case they miss. Position them out in the open, not hidden away. Once trained, they’ll seek out boxes on their own. Scoop solid waste at least twice daily and empty urinated litter regularly. Proper litter habits make having rabbits in apartments infinitely more pleasant.
11. Keep a quiet apartment
Rabbits are known for expressing themselves by thumping loudly on the floor. Try to identify key triggers like a crowded room or sudden loud sounds. Distract with toys when your bunny seems agitated and ready to make noise. Provide hideouts they can retreat to for privacy and security.
Use padded floor mats and area rugs to muffle thumps. Place foam or felt furniture pads under enclosure bottoms as sound dampeners too. Ask upstairs neighbors to remove shoes inside to minimize stomping thuds. Fill any empty rooms with furniture and storage bins that absorb echoes.
During active hours, turn on TVs and fans to help drown out noises. Avoid hard surfaces like tile, laminate, and glass. Textiles, curtains, and plush furniture absorb vibrations. And always make sure you have permission for rabbits before signing a lease. With proper preparation, rabbits can quietly and contentedly co-exist in apartments.