Rabbits are curious creatures that enjoy exploring new places and gaining new vantage points. However, they are also clumsy animals and may hurt themselves trying to explore. So, can you give them cat towers or trees to help them explore more safely?
Cat towers are perfectly safe as long as you follow certain guidelines. More curious and brave rabbits will enjoy the different levels and the exercise that comes with the climb.
Keep reading to learn how to pick safe cat towers for your rabbit and what your rabbit might enjoy the most.
Why do rabbits enjoy using cat towers?
Rabbits are naturally burrowing animals. Therefore, many people are understandably confused when they learn that cat towers are a perfectly acceptable form of entertainment and enrichment for pet rabbits.
This is because rabbits are very curious. They love to explore their living environment, and this includes climbing up some structures to get a better view and a new perspective on their habitat.
Particularly tall cat towers may, however, be too extreme for some rabbits that tend to be on the shy side.
Still, if your rabbit is adventurous or sociable at all, purchasing a cat tower may be another form of enrichment for your furry little friend.
Are cat towers suitable for rabbits?
The short answer is yes! Cat towers can be a relatively cheap and exciting addition to your rabbit’s toys and play areas.
They are also an excellent choice if you have an old cat tower you would otherwise have to toss.
If you already have a cat, and they get along with your rabbit, they may even be able to share the towers.
Some cat towers come highly recommended for curious rabbits. This is because cat towers can provide a great deal of mental stimulation and healthy exercise.
Exploring new textures, places, and smells is always a great way to ensure your rabbit gets proper enrichment and enjoys life.
When rabbits sniff and chew on their new toy, they learn more about their play area, and their brain creates new connections from that stimulation leading to a healthier and happier rabbit.
Meanwhile, rabbits that climb onto the many levels of a cat tower benefit from short, strenuous exercise bouts.
Climbing a cat tower provides a safer alternative to jumping and hopping for rabbits as it uses many of the same muscles.
But there is less risk of the rabbit getting injured since they are in contact with secure footing the entire time.
This doesn’t mean that you should get just any cat tower, though.
What about cat trees?
Many people think cat trees are the same as cat towers, but this isn’t the case – there are slight differences between them!
Cat trees are simpler structures, usually with a few platforms branching from a central pole. They look vaguely like a tree, hence the name.
Cat towers, on the other hand, are usually more complicated structures that may have multiple poles supporting platforms, hiding boxes, swings, or hammocks of various sizes and shapes.
In general, a short cat tree is better for rabbits because of the large platforms for exploring and relaxing.
Adventurous rabbits may appreciate a cat tower more because of the variety in shapes.
How to make sure a cat tower is safe for my rabbit?
Finding a safe cat tower for your rabbit isn’t the same as finding a cat tower for your cat.
While they have some overlapping similarities, there are some distinct differences between a cat and a rabbit.
For example, rabbits are much clumsier than cats and much more fragile. Having too tall of a tower can cause a bunny harm if they slip and fall.
They also have very sensitive stomachs, and if they are curious enough to eat something from the tower, they shouldn’t. They may cause severe stomach problems.
What to avoid in a cat tower?
One of the most important things to consider when looking at a cat tower for your rabbit is the materials used for construction.
Most cat towers use wood for the base, and different levels are then covered in carpet to give cats grip and comfort. While this is ideal for cats, it is not good for rabbits.
Because rabbits often chew and taste new things to better understand their environment, they may gnaw on and even eat the carpet covering as they explore.
Some rabbits may not, but if you are worried or know your rabbit enjoys chewing, it might be worth finding other materials.
Carpet fibers are hazardous to rabbits because they are usually a blend of synthetic materials and some wool, meaning that it is not a natural thing for your rabbit to eat.
These foreign and unusual fibers can get stuck inside a rabbit’s gastrointestinal system, leading to severe health conditions.
For this reason, you should generally avoid getting a cat tower with carpet covering.
If you decide to purchase a cat tower with carpet on it, check what the rug is made of to ensure it is only natural wool fibers.
Monitor your rabbit when they play to ensure that they only chew and do not eat the carpet.
What to look for in a cat tower?
Aside from the carpet, a tower can also be made of materials that can cause your rabbit to slip as they try to explore.
This can lead to severe injuries depending on how high the rabbit is up the cat tower if they end up falling.
That’s another reason to research your cat tower and make sure it isn’t tall enough for your rabbit to hurt itself if it slips.
Rabbits are curious and sometimes even adventurous, but they are also pretty clumsy. Getting a cat tower that features non-slip materials and surfaces is ideal for preventing any accidents.
Cat towers with lots of space for safe climbing and stretching out are ideal. Otherwise, your rabbit may not feel comfortable exploring and not use the tower.
These kinds of towers are also shorter and box-like in shape, which is excellent because a cat tower repurposed for a rabbit shouldn’t be taller than three feet in height.
Also, many cat towers feature a column wrapped in string or rope as a scratching post for cats. This rope is usually made of sisal, which is safe for a rabbit to chew and eat while it plays.
Making sure the rope is sisal is a great way to give your rabbit something safe and fun to chew on.
What could I get instead of a cat tower for my rabbit?
Cat towers are often quite tall so that cats can survey what they interpret as their territory. This isn’t ideal for rabbits, so what alternatives work better for rabbits?
Kitten towers are just the same as cat towers, but they are specifically made for kittens.
This makes them more ideal for rabbits because, as young kittens, tall heights are dangerous to their health.
Cat condos, while generally considered the same as cat towers, can feature large platforms that are lower to the ground, perfect for safe rabbit exploration.
The market for rabbit towers and other structures is still small, but some products do exist which may be worth looking into.
They are usually stable, short structures made of rabbit-safe cardboard.
This ticks most of the boxes in a safe and fun structure for your rabbit, especially since chewing on cardboard is not a danger to your rabbit and its digestive system.
How can I make a tower for my rabbit?
You may think that you can make a rabbit tower yourself, and you can!
If you want a more permanent structure in your house for your rabbit, you should focus on the same materials as a typical cat tower.
Make sure that whatever wood you use is non-toxic for rabbits, as they will often want to chew on it to whittle down their teeth and learn about the new toy.
You can either make sure that your rabbit doesn’t eat any of the carpets that you use to make a custom rabbit tower, or use carpeting that uses all-natural fibers, especially if they are all plant-based fibers.
Temporary entertainment for your rabbit can be made from cardboard, just like the few commercial rabbit towers out there.
Make sure that the base is stable and doesn’t wobble so that your rabbit doesn’t accidentally fall.
Instead of carpet, fake grass mats are another alternative to provide grip for your rabbit on higher levels. Just make sure they aren’t chewing them!
Any cardboard should be fully safe for your rabbit to chew as long as it is free of dyes, so feel free to get creative with your rabbit tower design!
Curious and bold rabbits will benefit greatly from repurposing a cat tower for their exploration.
The opportunity to sniff and chew on something new while also surveying the play area from a high vantage point gives them plenty of mental stimulation outside of their cage.
The exercise a rabbit gets from going up and down simulates a rabbit’s instinct to hop without increasing the risk of injury.
However, some care must be taken to ensure that your rabbit’s new structure isn’t dangerous for its gut health or too tall for its clumsy feet.