What Is The Best Enclosure For An Indoor Rabbit?

What Is The Best Enclosure For An Indoor Rabbit?

If you're losing sleep trying to find the best indoor cage for your pet rabbit, fret no more.

Over the last ten years, I've gone through my fair share of bunny cages, so I can tell you that the best enclosure for indoor rabbits is spacious, cheap, easy to maintain, and secure. 

But since you're not here for the short answer, I'm ready to spill all the secrets you should know when choosing an enclosure for your bunny.

Just keep reading.

Key Takeaways

  • It's better to keep your pet bunny inside the house so you can bond with your pet, protect them from predators, and observe them for health problems.
  • Playpens are one of the best indoor rabbit cages because they're spacious, cheap, versatile, and easy to move around.
  • You can let your bunny roam free in the house as long as you rabbit-proof the rooms.

Inside vs. Outside: Where Should You Keep Your Pet Bunny?

Before revealing the best indoor cage for rabbits, let's tackle another vital question: Should you keep your bunny inside or outside?

I've had indoor and outdoor rabbits, so I can testify that keeping your bunny inside is better for their health and allows you to form a strong bond with your pet.

Keeping bunnies outside means you have to consider the following dangers:

  • In the wild, rabbits live underground, where the temperature remains relatively stable. But a bunny living in an outdoor hutch will need extra care on chilly or sweating hot days.¬†
  • Predators can get through the cage bars and hurt your pet bunny or worse.¬†
  • Rabbits are active animals and get bored when there's not enough mental stimulation. That increases the risk of escape attempts.
  • Bunnies are also social animals. They need human company and social interactions to thrive, or they can become destructive.
  • More importantly, if you don't spend enough time with your bunny, it's hard to notice changes in their normal behavior that indicate a sickness.¬†

Of course, I have to admit that keeping bunnies in an outdoor hutch can have its benefits. For once, you don't have to fit a large enclosure in your living room. 

You also don't have to worry about your house getting stinky when you forget to clean the cage and empty the litter box. 

But it's not mission impossible to provide your fur baby with plenty of space for hopping inside the house. You just need the right types of enclosure! And it's not what you think! 

What Is the Best Indoor Cage for Rabbits?

I don't like using the word "cage" when talking about rabbits. The enclosure is supposed to be a place your bunny likes and feels safe, not something they desperately try to escape.

Unfortunately, most traditional rabbit cages are too small to provide adequate living space, especially for larger breeds or multiple rabbits. But there's a solution - and it's called a pet playpen! 

A playpen is freestanding and collapsible, giving you plenty of flexibility when managing limited space. It's also relatively easy to clean and doesn't cost a small fortune. 

I don't blame you if you're skeptical about the benefits. I also doubted it would work, but it turned out to be more convenient than a traditional option. But the best bit? My bunnies love it! 

So, I will explain in detail why a playpen is the best indoor rabbit enclosure. 

#1 Large Space

Do you know how much space rabbits need? According to experts from the RSPCA, "Rabbits need an uninterrupted length of 3m to allow them to run and exercise freely." (1) 

The Rabbit Welfare Organization also recommends enclosures with a footprint of 10 x 6,6 feet. But many affordable hutches give you a minimum living space of around 7-8 square feet. (2)

On the other hand, rabbit playpens can provide about 16-19 square feet of space because they consist of connected panels that allow you to make round, rectangular, or square enclosures. 

I can't stress enough how important it is to ensure your bunny has enough room to hop, run, jump, and play. Lack of activity can lead to a wide range of health issues and reduce your pet's quality of life.

Moreover, rabbits can exhibit aggressive or destructive behavior when they don't get enough physical stimulation to burn off energy. So, the bigger the enclosure, the better! 

You also have to think about something else. What do I need for my rabbit? You must find space in a traditional hutch for food/water bowls, a litter tray, rabbit toys, a sleeping area, etc.

But a playpen has lots of space, so you can place all the essential things inside without worrying about how to fit everything.

More importantly, your bunny will be glad to have all that room to hop, explore, and stretch its hind legs fully! 

#2 Price

I like using playpens because they're spacious and cheaper than traditional rabbit housing options. They're also great for saving a little bit of money. Let me explain. 

You can find an enclosure of a minimum size for about $100. But if you want something durable and big enough to keep the bunny happy, you're looking at about $300-$500. 

A playpen costs about $60 (depending on size and height), a fraction of what you'd pay for a fancy indoor rabbit hutch. And it's going to be cheap to replace it or repair it. 

Moreover, you can expand the available space with extra panels, which would be great if you decided to get more rabbits! But more about that later on. 

#3 Easy to Clean

Easy access is one of the main reasons playpens are the best enclosure for indoor rabbits. Sooner or later, a traditional hutch will need a thorough cleaning, meaning you must take it apart.

While most companies advertise their products as easy to clean, taking the cage apart, scrubbing it clean, and putting it together is a hassle. It can take hours! 

The worst thing is that you can't miss deep cleaning your bunny's hutch because mold and bacteria will build up, putting your pet's health at risk and producing a horrible stink. 

A playpen has an easy-access door, so you can remove spills, stains, and messes without taking the construction apart. And let me tell you, daily spot cleaning is a breeze with a dustpan and a vacuum!

Using playpens also means there are no hard-to-reach spots where bacteria, mold, and other nasty things can grow and cause health problems. 

So, they're the best enclosure for maintaining hygiene, vital for avoiding health-related issues. 

#4 Versatility

As I mentioned, you can use the playpen panels to form different shapes, which is excellent for pet parents with limited house space. 

I also like playpens because they're a great option for awkward-shaped spaces. You can connect them into various shapes to make the most of the available room without moving the furniture.

Moreover, you don't have to use all the panels. You can make the enclosure as big as needed to fit the available space. And you can easily move the whole construction in a couple of minutes! 

Playpens are also great when you need a temporal space to keep your bunny occupied and secure while cleaning the litter tray or changing the bedding. 

#5 Easy Transition

Rabbits can get stressed when you suddenly move them to a new environment because they've gotten attached to their home. However, playpens can make the transition easy and lessen the stress. 

If you have a traditional cage, you can attach an exercise pen to it to give your bunny more space. In this way, you don't need to move your rabbit or worry about how it will react to its new surroundings. 

#6 Easy to Move

Imagine you're going on a holiday, you want to take your bunny with you. Finding space in the car for a traditional enclosure can be hard because it doesn't fold. 

But a playpen folds and unfolds in seconds into a convenient shape, so it's easy to take it with you when traveling.

Moreover, you can move the enclosure around the house without much effort whenever you need to deep clean or keep your fur baby away from other pets. 

#7 Perfect for Multiple Pets

In the wild, rabbits live in large colonies. Having a companion keeps your bunny happy, calm, and stress-free, which is why experts recommend keeping a pair.

And let's be honest. When you get a bunny, you will want to have at least another one sooner or later because bunnies are so cute and fluffy! 

So, when you decide to add more members to your rabbit colony, it's easy to do so because you don't have to shop for a larger enclosure. You can connect two playpens to expand the available space. 

More importantly, you can increase your bunny's living and exercise space easily if your rabbit grows larger than expected without paying extra for a traditional cage. 

Playpens can also be a great option for other small pets, such as hamsters, guinea pigs, and chinchillas. They're also great for puppies and kittens! 

#8 Better for Bonding

I think bunnies feel happier in playpens than in cages because they get involved in what's happening around the house instead of being locked in a small cage all day. 

Moreover, studies show that it's vital to socialize rabbits early to make them more comfortable around humans. (3)

So, you must spend a lot of time with your pet to ensure your bunny is used to your presence and company. And since rabbits feel safer on the ground, a playpen is perfect! 

#9 Secure 

Finally, playpens are among the best enclosures for indoor rabbits because they are made of solid material, usually metal.

No matter how much your bunny likes to chew or dig, it's unlikely to break the bars or dig under the floor. (Believe me, wire mesh, plastic, and wood are no match for your bunny's teeth!) 

Just ensure your rabbit can't jump over the fence. Large rabbit breeds can jump more than 2 feet, so pick a playpen with high sides! 

Do Rabbit Playpens Have Any Drawbacks?

Like all types of enclosures, playpens have some drawbacks. The biggest one is that they don't have a build-up flooring.

The lack of a solid floor is a problem because rabbit pee is corrosive and can destroy your lovely tiles, hardwood floors, and carpets. It also stinks, and the smell can build up in time. 

So, what can you do? Let's find out! 

How to Protect Your Floors from Rabbit Pee? 

Fortunately, there's a simple solution to the lack of solid floors. I line the floor with Luftpet's cage liners‚ÄĒthey're waterproof, made from durable material, and super absorbent.¬†

But the best thing? They're reusable, so you can wash them as often as necessary to keep your house rabbit playpen fresh-smelling and germ-free. 

Liners are also my usual answer when people ask what to put in the bottom of a rabbit cage. Unlike shredded paper, straw, or pellets, they're easy to use and not messy to clean. 

Of course, you can use other bedding materials to protect the flooring. Fleece is one of the best rabbit bedding materials because of its absorbency, but a bath mat or an old rug can also work. 

A piece of advice. To keep your bunny safe, make sure your pet doesn't eat its bedding or opt for material that won't cause gastrointestinal issues. 

You can also minimize the risk of urine-stained floors by litter-training your bunny. And it's not as hard as most pet parents imagine. 

Unlike other small pets, rabbits usually use one corner of their living space to do their business, so it's easy to get them to pee and poop in a litter tray. Just check this video for more information. 

And if you decide that a playpen isn't the right choice for you, don't worry. You've got other options that can work almost as well. Let's see them.

3 Alternatives to Pet Playpens for Indoor Rabbits

While I highly recommend pet playpens for indoor rabbits, I understand if you're worried about ruining your floors. In that case, you can consider these three options. 

#1 Dog Crates

Large dog crates can make an excellent indoor enclosure, especially for larger rabbits and bunnies that don't like using the litter tray.

Unlike playpens, crates have flooring, which keeps your bunny's mess contained. Some models also come with leak-proof pans and pull-out trays for easy cleaning.   

However, make sure that you choose a dog crate with a solid floor. Wire mesh can be problematic, as you'll learn in a bit. 

Moreover, follow the rule of thumb‚ÄĒthe crate should be large enough for your bunny to make at least three to four hops from one end to the other.¬†

#2 Traditional Wood Hutches

Wooden hutches come in a variety of sizes, making them an excellent alternative to playpens. And they're beautiful, so fitting them into your interior is easy. 

But I would recommend them for outdoor bunnies. Indoors, wooden hutches are a nightmare to clean because they have many hard-to-reach corners and spots.

You must deep clean the enclosure often to prevent the wood from absorbing urine and stinking up the whole house. The hutch also takes up a lot of space and can cost a small fortune! 

Wooden enclosures are also not versatile since they're heavy and difficult to move around once you place them. However, they offer plenty of protection against outdoor predators. 

If you decide to buy a hutch, ensure you pick one made from rabbit-safe wood. Pine and cedar are toxic to rabbits and can cause health problems if your bunny nibs on its enclosure. 

#3 DIY Enclosures 

Are you handy with tools? Do you love crafting? Then, you can practice your skills by making a DIY enclosure for your indoor bunny.

I like the idea because you can make it as large as you need and tailor it to fit your bunny's needs and available space. 

I haven't tried this option yet because I struggle a lot with DIY projects and almost never finish them. But I'd like to give the hutch in the video below a go when I've got the time. 

Now, let's talk about what enclosure you should avoid at all costs when it comes to indoor rabbits. 

What Types of Enclosures to Avoid for Indoor Rabbits?

Most cages and enclosures you can buy from pet stores will do an adequate job of keeping your bunny safe. However, there are a couple of types you shouldn't use because they can lead to health problems. 

#1 Wire-Sided Cages

I had a wire-sided cage during my first year as a rabbit owner. Many pet parents recommend wire cages because they are well-ventilated, keep the rabbit safe, and are easy to clean.

However, these types of enclosures have a major disadvantage that can hurt your indoor bunny in the long run, just like I learned from my experience. I'm talking about sore hocks. 

Wire flooring is a great option for keeping the enclosure smell-free, but it can injure your bunny's sensitive feet by rubbing off the fur and causing the skin to break and bleed. 

While sore hocks don't sound serious, they can cause severe infection if left untreated. Avoidoid cages with a wire floor are best for your house rabies!

#2 Plastic Cages

Plastic enclosures can seem like a good option for indoor rabbits, but they're not as safe as you'd think. Bunnies tend to chew almost everything in sight, and plastic is bad for their tummy.

Moreover, your pet can choke on plastic pieces, develop an intestinal obstruction, or chew a large hole in the enclosure and escape. 

It's best to avoid plastic cages and ensure that your bunny doesn't have access to plastic objects around its enclosure. 

#3 Small Pet Cages 

Pet cages for hamsters, gerbils, and other small pets are not a good choice for rabbits, especially larger breeds. They're far too small and can impact your bunny's quality of life. 

Lack of room can cause many health problems in rabbits, such as obesity, digestive problems, and depression. 

Moreover, lack of physical or mental stimulation can lead to aggressive and destructive behavior, such as biting, excessive chewing, and overgrooming.

But what about giving your bunny free range of the house? Is that a good idea? You're in for a surprise.

Can You  Give Your Indoor Rabbit Free Range of the House?

Some of my friends have rabbits that they don't keep in enclosures and allow them to roam free around the house. I like the idea, but I haven't tried it for a couple of reasons:

  • I worry about my bunny hiding in some nook of the house where I won't be able to find it or stepping on them by accident.
  • I often drop things and forget about them, so I'd be nervous about my bunny eating something dangerous.¬†
  • It's easy for your bunny to find some corner of the house where they do their business without you knowing.¬†

But free roaming has its benefits because it's similar to how rabbits live in the wild. It also ensures your bunny gets plenty of physical and mental stimulation when you're not around to entertain it. 

However, to keep your rabbit safe, you have to do a few things:

  • Rabbit-proof the room/rooms to ensure your bunny doesn't get in trouble when you're not looking.¬†
  • Start litter training as soon as possible to prevent accidents around the house.¬†
  • Rabbits are chewers, so keep all chewable objects out of reach. They also like to dig, so you'll have to take measures to protect your floors and carpets from their sharp claws.¬†
  • Pay attention to what plants and household objects are dangerous for bunnies and put them away.
  • You still need to provide a safe and secure enclosure where your bunny can hide when it gets overwhelmed, scared, or sick.¬†

 FAQs

1. What size enclosure does a rabbit need indoors? 

You need to provide at least 12 square feet for an average-sized rabbit. The larger the breed, the larger the enclosure should be. 

2. Do rabbits like multi-level cages?

Yes, some rabbits like multi-level cages and the challenge of climbing up and down the levels, but some don't care for them. 

3. Do indoor rabbits need a cage?

You should provide a large, secure enclosure for your indoor rabbit or bunny-proof the room where you'll keep your pet. 

Conclusion

What is the best enclosure for indoor rabbits? A collapsible pet playpen is the best option for indoor bunnies because it's spacious, versatile, and easy to clean. 

Playpens are also a great way to manage limited space or expand your existing enclosure to provide more exercise space. And it's not going to put a dent in your budget! 

However, don't forget about your bunny's jumping abilities. Most rabbits can jump around 2 feet, but larger breeds can overcome great heights, so make sure the playpen is high. 

What do you think about the best enclosure for indoor rabbits? Do you use playpens for bunnies? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

Resources:

1. https://rspca-bedfordshiresouth.org.uk/faqs/rabbits/rabbit-accommodation/

2. https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/space-recommendations/

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7152457/

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