Do Cats Eat Rabbits? 6 Tips to Keep Your Rabbits Safe

Last Updated on May 31, 2023 by

It might be weird to ask do cats eat rabbits, but it’s actually a valid question considering the fact that cats are carnivorous predators.

Cats are popular pets in many households. They are obligate carnivores like snakes and wolves. Obligate carnivores mostly eat meat because their bodies cannot digest vegetation well.

They get their nutrients by feeding on animals that feed on vegetation. Cats naturally love hunting. They will skillfully hunt down lizards, mice, birds, and squirrels.

You may be wondering if cats hunt and eat rabbits too. Yes, cats do eat rabbits. If you are thinking of keeping both pets, continue reading to learn more.

Do Cats Eat Rabbits

Why do Cats Prey on Rabbits?

There are various reasons why cats will prey on rabbits, such as:

1. To play

Cats are playful, and they notice very subtle movements. If a rabbit passes and attracts a cat’s attention, they may think that it is a toy and begin playing with it.

The play can become aggressive if the cat is unable to catch the rabbit and it may get hurt in the process.

2. Hunger

If a cat is hungry, it will prey on rabbits for food.

3. Preying instinct

Cats are natural predators and they have a preying instinct from time to time. This can make them hunt down rabbits for satisfaction.

4. Being nearby

If a rabbit is nearby, a cat could prey on them too. This is why you should let both pets interact with each other when you bring them home.

Why Does My Cat Bring Me Dead Rabbits?

Cats are always bringing dead prey to their owners. If this behavior has been worrying you, here are the reasons why they do it:

1. To show off hunting prowess

Your cat wants you to know that they are great hunters and not just busybodies who love sleeping on your lap. 

This is why you’ll find some cats bring home their kill, whether it’s a bird, rat, lizard, or – gasp! – a rabbit.

2. To teach you how to hunt

A mother cat will try to teach their kittens how to hunt. They will take it as their responsibility to teach you too how to do it. 

They begin by bringing you dead prey to encourage you to do the same.

3. To feed you

A cat sees just how much of a breadwinner you are and how you bring in food every day. Bringing a rabbit home is a way of trying to return the favor and feed you too.

4. As a gift

Your pet adores and loves you just as much as you love them. To show you some affection, they may go out to hunt down a gift for you.

What to do if your Cat Catches a Rabbit

Do Cats Eat Rabbits

If you come across your cat holding a rabbit, the first thing to do is to distract them. You can do this by offering them something they love like a treat or a toy.

Throw it in the opposite direction so that they will release the rabbit and go after it. When the cat has been distracted, the bunny will try to run off. Pick them up gently and place them somewhere safe to access the injury.

If they are seriously hurt, take them to a vet. If they are not seriously injured, you can take care of them yourself and ensure to separate the two pets.

How to Keep Rabbits Safe from Cats

Do Cats Eat Rabbits

If you are keeping a cat and a rabbit as pets, you will want to keep the rabbit safe from your cat. You will also want to protect your pet rabbit from wild cats. Some things you can do are:

1. Keep your cat indoors

Keep your cat indoors if your bunny lives outdoors to ensure that they are out of each other’s way. If the cat has to go out, put a leash on them and do not leave them unsupervised.

2. Give cat attention

Cats love attention. Spend enough time with them and provide them with engaging toys. This will prevent boredom which can drive them to hunt down your helpless rabbit.

3. Keep cat well-fed

Sometimes cats hunt for food. Keeping your cat well-fed with a balanced diet will prevent the need to go out and look for their own food.

4. Secure cage

Use a cat-proof fence around your bunny’s cage. You can place rollers at the top so that a cat will be unable to walk on it. 

Secure the cage with a tough metal fence that the cat will not chew through or claw their way into.

5. Socialize them

Another trick is to introduce both pets to each other. Make sure that the rabbit is relaxed and not frightened. Transfer their scents by rubbing a piece of cloth from one pet to the other.

You should also let the cat go near the cage often and sniff around it. If both animals are familiar with each other, there will be lower chances of one eating up the other.

6. Cat repellent or motion sprinkler

Cats hate the smell of citrus. You can spray this around the cage to keep them away from your rabbit.

Alternatively, you can also have a motion sprinkler nearby. It will sense if the cat comes close by and activates the sprinkler. This will keep them away because cats dislike water.

Can a Cat’s Bite Kill a Rabbit?

A cat’s bite can kill a rabbit. A cat’s saliva has bacteria that may be transferred to the rabbit. Rabbits are small animals and a small bite can still be severe.

The bite wound can become fatal if it gets infected or it is not taken care of from the onset. If a cat bites your pet bunny, take them to a vet immediately.

Will Cats Eat a Rabbit if They Kill Them?

Cats can kill a rabbit and not even bother eating them. This is because most of the time, cats will kill their prey for fun. Domesticated cats are usually well-fed, and they do not need to hunt down their own food.

Being natural predators, sometimes cats will have the urge to hunt and kill prey. They can go after a rabbit if there is one nearby. Cats have a gruesome way of dealing with captured prey.

They will play with it for a long time even if it is injured because they enjoy torturing their prey. Sometimes they may eat only the head to celebrate the victory. New mothers who are breastfeeding may eat the rabbit or carry it to their young ones.

Can a Cat Kill a Rabbit of its Size?

Cats can kill small rabbits and big rabbits. Rabbits are defenseless prey animals and do not know how to fight. Even if a rabbit is bigger, a cat can easily attack and kill them.

Do Cats and Rabbits Get Along?

Some pets get along well while others do not see eye to eye even when they are under the same roof. If you are thinking of keeping both a cat and a rabbit, it will be a relief to learn that cats and rabbits do get along well.

Although a cat is a predator and a rabbit is a prey animal, creating a relationship between them can ensure that they cohabit in peace. It will take some effort on your part to make them familiar with each other first.

Dangers of Eating Rabbits for Cats

Rabbits are not always safe for cats to eat. Bunnies can transmit tularemia, which is rabbit fever, to cats. Tularemia is dangerous and fatal for both animals.

If your cat hunts a rabbit, inspect whether it ate any part of it. If they did, take them to the vet for a check-up. Tularemia brings about a high fever with high temperatures of up to 106°F.

Other symptoms are swollen lymph nodes in the head and neck, yellow color in the eyes whites, and stomach upsets. Tularemia can cause organ failure and lead to death.

Infected cats can also pass it on to humans. If an infected cat bites or scratches you, a blister will form around the area within 3-5 days. Always be on the lookout for these signs.


Cats are natural predators and they will hunt down prey from time to time. Their prey includes rodents like mice and rabbits. 

You should keep your pet rabbit protected from both your pet cat and wild cats.

Take your rabbit to a vet if they are bitten by a cat because the wound can be fatal. You should also visit the vet if your cat eats a rabbit because they can contract deadly diseases like tularemia.