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My rabbit likes cat food.
September 3, 2008 8:11 PM   Subscribe

I think my rabbit occasionally eats my cat's crunchy food. Is this bad?

The cat food sits in a bowl on the floor in the room where we let the bunny roam. A few times I've walked into the room to see the bunny sitting and facing the cat food bowl - so I think she sometimes eats it, but probably not a lot. Is this bad for her? I don't particularly want to move the cat's food bowl, but I will if I need to.

Also, if the bunny is eating the cat food, does that mean I'm not feeding the bunny enough?
posted by All.star to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
 
I remember my rabbits doing this. I was all, meh, protein's good for 'em. It didn't seem to cause them any problems.

I would think unless the bunny is eating a LOT of cat food (the bowl's contents noticeably decrease after Buns passes through), that it's not indicative of a nutritional deficiency. Bunnies are just curious and like to nibble.
posted by oceanmorning at 8:30 PM on September 3, 2008


Bunnies will eat durn near anything without it being too relevant to their appetite or nutritional needs (one of ours has just discovered the "pull bags off the pantry shelf and eat the contents" game). Unless you're buying really premium cat food, it probably has a fair amount of filler in it that won't be so good on their GI tract, so I'd try to avoid letting the bun get at it. But a few nibbles shouldn't make much difference; ours have sneakily ingested small amounts of cardboard and paper, assorted grains, wood, and even some bicycle inner tube over the years without ill effects.

As long as there's timothy hay always available and a variety of veggies once or twice a day, they don't even technically need pellets (but will often get quite pushy if they don't get them, and pellets can help round out vitamins from sometimes pitiful supermarket veggie selections), so you're unlikely to be underfeeding.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 8:58 PM on September 3, 2008


I used to keep mice to feed my lizard. I know, teh evilz. If you DON'T keep dry dog/cat food in their cage, they will eat each other because they need the protein. I'm amazed at the number of people who don't know that they can prevent their hamsters/mice/other rodents from eating the weaker ones by simply putting a few pieces of kibble in the cage weekly.

I view rabbits as a meat source, but I would assume that as large rodents, they have some of the same issues as little rodents.
posted by TomMelee at 5:16 AM on September 4, 2008


Well, rabbits aren't rodents, so the behavior of mice isn't really relevant (in terms of eating habits, you're better off thinking of them as very tiny horses). You'd also have to be pretty seriously neglecting them for a bun to end up deficient of protein; they have very low requirements, and too much protein (and fats) via lousy pellets is actually a common health problem.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 5:59 AM on September 4, 2008


Rabbits are lagomorphs, not rodents.

Having eaten little bit of cat food probably won't be too harmful for your rabbit - often, whatever they can't digest will pass through their system as long as they're getting enough fiber (hay). HOWEVER, though I don't know the makeup of cat food in general, I assume that it IS, as Dr. Enormous mentioned, full of stuff that isn't good for your rabbit either. Don't take the chance. Move the cat food bowl.

How much are you feeding your rabbit? The rabbit nibbling on things alone would not indicate that he or she is hungry; rabbits chew in general as a form of exploration.
posted by pinksoftsoap at 6:49 AM on September 4, 2008


Oops, my bad. Learn something new every day.
posted by TomMelee at 8:12 AM on September 4, 2008


We had a rabbit that did that. I thought it was mostly a territorial thing in his case; our cat would come and drink his water and nibble at his lettuce and he would chase her away, and whenever he got into the kitchen he'd make a beeline for her food and start eating it.

So, yeah, can't imagine it's worse than all the other weird stuff rabbits ingest unless the bunny is eating whole bowls of it.
posted by substars at 8:59 AM on September 4, 2008


I had a housebunny many years ago, and he regularly ate the cat food (Science Diet Light fwiw). It didn't really cause him any harm, but, just so you're aware -- it may cause your bunny's pee to turn red. Apparently it's something about the excess protein. When I first saw that I freaked out thinking it was blood but vet said it was from the food. So even tho the food didn't really hurt him, we eventually took it out of his reach to be on the safe side. The cat food & water was henceforth kept on a waist-high table in the kitchen that was too high for the bunny to jump onto. Was nice for us to not have to bend over to feed the cats too.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 9:47 AM on September 4, 2008


I had a rabbit who loved dry cat food. While I didn't let her have it TOO often, she did find ways to get into it and have a feast of sorts. Never caused my bunny any trouble, although it made her breath smell weird, and she lived to the ripe old age of 10 (which, I was told, a good lifespan for her breed). Anyway, I wouldn't worry too much about it, just don't let her turn that into her main source of dinner. :-)
posted by I_love_the_rain at 5:35 PM on September 4, 2008


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