Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society
Easy Ways to Increase Adoptability for Rabbits
- Make sure each rabbit has a name – preferably unique. If they don’t come in with one, give them one. Try to avoid “traditional” names like Thumper, Cadbury, Oreo, Fluffy, Cuddles, Bun Bun, Bugs, etc. If coming up with original names is challenging, get a baby names book or go to: www.babynames.com or www.babycenter.com/babyname/
- Why does this help? A rabbit’s name is one very important part of catching a potential adopter’s eye. Rabbits without names or with “traditional” names are easily placed into stereotypical roles by visitors/adopters. A unique name catches their attention, at least briefly.
- Give every bun a toy. Toys that can safely be left in cages include: toilet paper/paper towel rolls, paper bags (no handles), newspaper, cardboard boxes (all tape/labels removed), and hard plastic baby keys or links. Best of all, each of these toys are easy to acquire via donations!
- Why does this help? Adopters get a chance to see the rabbit doing something other than just sitting in a cage, which makes them more interesting. The presence of toys is also frequently a conversation starter as many people aren’t aware that rabbits play.
- Provide litterboxes in rabbit cages. The best & cheapest litter is pelleted wood, often sold to be burned in pellet stoves. Avoid any clumping litter as they can be dangerous for rabbits. A generous supply of hay in the litterbox encourages the rabbit to spend time there and use the litterbox.
- Why does this help? Litterbox trained rabbits are more adoptable. If they don’t have a litterbox, they can’t learn litterbox habits. Most still won’t master it in the shelter, but learn quickly once in a home environment. The presence of a litterbox helps adopters see the possiblities.
- Write personality profiles for each rabbit.
- Why does this help? Personality information is a HUGE help for potential adopters – and a great opportunity to educate. It also helps adopters see the rabbits as more interesting than they might otherwise. Personality information also helps make the best possible match between rabbits & adopters – which helps reduce returns. (see “Personality Profiles for Rabbits” for more information)
- List your rabbits on Petfinder.com. (see separate “Petfinder.com Tips” handout) More and more adopters are seeking pets via the internet. Petfinder.com has become a central location where adopters can view rabbits available at multiple shelters all at once. Rabbits listed on Petfinder.com often get between 100 – 250 “hits” per month.
- Why does this help? Many adopters search via Petfinder.com before visiting a facility. They then only visit the shelters with rabbits they are interested in. In addition, Petfinder.com is available 24/7, even when your shelter is closed, which increases public access to rabbits seeking homes.
- Provide rabbits some exercise every week
- Why does this help? Most rabbits are relatively active & being cooped up in a cage for extended periods of time give them lots of excess energy to burn. Too often, this manifests itself in troublesome behavior like lunging, growling, etc. A little exercise can make a big difference.
- Raise rabbit adoption fees.
- Why does this help? Many adopters equate the price of the animal to the worth of the animal. Low adoption fees reinforce that rabbits are easy to care for & inexpensive – and risk returns when adopters find out otherwise. Some shelters are successfully charging between $40-75 per rabbit, and $80-150 for bonded pairs.
- Require spay/neuter for rabbits.
- Why does this help? Not enough can be said about how important this is. For shelters able to alter prior to adoption, rabbits are more sociable in the shelter and tend to be adopted faster. Improved litterbox habits make cleaning easier. Rabbits altered after adoption make better pets, display fewer troublesome behaviors and, therefore, are less frequently returned. Plus, there are many health benefits to the rabbits as well.
- Add Rabbit Adoption Counselors to your volunteer opportunities.
- Why does this help? Rabbit Adoption Counselors can write up profiles, supervise exercise time, help match adopters to the right rabbit, etc. Companion Rabbit Network has training materials to help get such a program going.
- Create “goodie bags” to send home with rabbit adopters. These bags could be assembled by volunteers and include coupons from area businesses that sell rabbit supplies, information on rabbit behavior & care, samples of rabbit food/treats/hay, and/or small toys.
- Why does this help? They make adopting a rabbit even more fun! Plus, they provide resources to help the adopter get off to a good start with their new companion.
- Partner with area businesses to feature adoptable rabbits.
- Why does this help? Many people are not aware that rabbits are available in shelters. By getting rabbits into the public eye, it raises the number of people who would consider adopting a rabbit. Companion Rabbit Network offers a start up kit for shelters interested in starting up partnerships to promote small animal adoptions.
- Participate in Adopt a Rabbit Month (February). Take advantage of national publicity to help place rabbits! Adopt a Rabbit Month is promoted via Petfinder.com, ASPCA, and the House Rabbit Society. Companion Rabbit Network offers a variety of ideas on how to promote rabbit adoptions during Adopt a Rabbit Month and all year round!
- In 2004, some areas saw a 20% increase in rabbit adoptions because of Adopt a Rabbit Month!
Information provided by Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society