+
Joy

Five reasons rabbits make the best indoor pets

bunny, pet, indoor

Bunnies make amazing indoor pets.

Our family has gone through a passel of pets while raising our kids.

We started with a goldfish named Princess (who lived a surprisingly long life for a feeder fish we got at a festival). We've had several pairs of fancy rats, which really do make sweet, personable pets. We got our first cat when we moved to a place that allowed them, which as a lifelong cat person I was excited about. Then added a feline friend for him a couple of years later.

Finally, several years ago, two of our kids got rabbits. And honestly? If we had known how awesome bunnies can be as indoor pets, we would have skipped the fish and the rats—maybe even the cats—and never looked back.


The fish was interesting to look at. The rats were sweet and cute. (If you've never seen a pet rat wash its face or eat a Cheerio, you're missing out.) Rats themselves are clean, but their cages get smelly pretty fast. The cats are great—again, always been a cat person—but ours are indoor only and the catbox situation is … less than desirable. They've also destroyed several pieces of furniture with their claws. Good thing they're so entertaining and lovable.

But the rabbits have surprised me by having a leg up on all the other pets we've had. Here's why:

1. They can be litterbox trained—and it's way less stinky than a cat's litterbox.

Photo by Li Yan on Unsplash

I had no idea that rabbits could be litter trained.

Rats can allegedly be litter trained as well, but we never had any luck with that with any of our pet rats. And cats are easy to litter train, of course, but cat pee and poo are smelly. It takes super expensive litter to cover cat pee ammonia smell, and if a kid waits too long to change the litter it's … noticeable.

Rabbit pee doesn't stink. I don't know how, but it doesn't. It barely has much of a smell at all, and the smell is just sort of "earthy." Same with rabbit poop. It's basically just digested hay, and it's little dry-ish pellets that pick up easily. We often joke that it's like picking up a Cocoa Puff, not that we have to pick up a lot of it because they generally keep it all inside their litterboxes.

It took less than a week for each of our rabbits to start using their litterboxes consistently. And their "litter" is just paper. Super easy to clean out their boxes, and again, super not smelly.

2. They're adorable and unbelievably soft.

Photo by Степан Галагаев on Unsplash

Bunny fur is so soft it's unreal. The only thing I've ever felt that was softer was chinchilla fur. They do shed sometimes, so there's a vacuuming element to having rabbits, much like there is with cats and dogs. Totally worth it, though.

There are a bazillion different rabbit breeds out there, with different-sized bodies, different fur types, different ear types and so on. But most of them are so darn cute. The way they twitch their little noses all the time? Precious. Their little bunny butts with their little bunny tails? Forget about it. I thought watching a rat wash its face was cute, but bunny face and ear washing is even better.

And eating lettuce? The little crunchy-munchy sounds they make? Gracious.

The number of "Awwww, he's so cuuuute!" around here rivals when we had a newborn baby.

3. They do cute things with cute names like zoomies, binkies and flops.

Not only do rabbits do the cutest things, but the cute things they do also have the cutest names, such a:

Zoomies: When a rabbit gets a sudden burst of energy and starts racing around the room, it's called a "zoomy."

Binkies: When rabbits are happy, they'll do a sudden, twitchy jump for joy, where they leap up in the air and sort of shimmy their body really fast. It's my favorite thing. They do it out of nowhere, like their joy just overtakes them all of a sudden and they can't help themselves. (Watch some bunny binkying above and witness the cuteness.)

Flops: When rabbits feel safe and content, they just flop over onto their side. Again, out of nowhere. You might almost think they fainted or died, but no, they just "flopped."

I genuinely had no idea rabbits had such personalities. I'd only ever seen them in hutches or cages just sort of laying around, but when they are able to roam around, they're delightfully entertaining.

4. They can be surprisingly smart—and fearless.

Photo by William Daigneault on Unsplash

Wild rabbits are skitterish, so I expected our pet rabbits to be similar. Nope. Our bunnies can get spooked by loud noises, but they're not at all afraid of people. They're not even afraid of our cats. They'll run right up to people and constantly try to get the cats to play with them. It's hilarious.

And maybe it's just our rabbits, but they're surprisingly smart. My son's rabbit kept getting out of his enclosure, and it took us a while to figure out how he did it because he'd only do it when no one was in the room.

You can also train them to do little tricks, like running around in a circle or jumping through a hoop. My kids have trained the rabbits to jump over their legs when they're sitting, and all my daughter has to do is flick her finger and her rabbit will spin around for a treat.

5. They're pretty low-maintenance as furry pets go.

Photo by Aneta Voborilova on Unsplash

I don't want to oversimplify what it takes to have a bunny as a pet, and there are some downsides I'll share in a moment. But as far as loveable, furry creatures go, rabbits are pretty low-maintenance. They eat hay and food pellets and fresh vegetables, they drink water either from a bowl or a water dispenser, and they need things they can chew on. There aren't vaccines for pet rabbits in the U.S., so no need to keep up with those. They need their claws trimmed once in a while. And that's about it.

So what are the downsides?

Chewing. The main downside with our two bunnies is that one of them is a major chewer. All rabbits like to chew, but if you give them enough things that are safe for them to chew on, they're less likely to chew things you don't want them to. But rabbit teeth are like razors and our chewer is particularly partial to cords—phone chargers, lamp cords, any type of cord really. He somehow manages to chew through pet-proof cord protectors as well, so he doesn't get to roam around freely without a close watch on him like our other rabbit does.

Space is another issue if you can't let them roam freely. Creating an enclosure large enough for them to run around in requires space that not everyone has. Our "free-roaming" bunny doesn't even have a cage—he just roams around my daughter's room and has a little linoleumed area where his litter box and food go. (Unlike cats, rabbits actually like to have their food near their litterboxes.) Like all animals, rabbits need exercise to stay healthy so it's not great for them to stay in small hutches or cages all the time.

Finally, as the Humane Society of the United States points out, they're not great for families with very young children. I'd wait until kids are old enough to understand how to handle them gently (they are more delicate than cats or dogs) and not make a lot of startling noises around them.

That's really about it. As I said, if I had known the cost-benefit ratio of having rabbits as indoor pets, we would have started the kids off with them as pets from the get-go. In some ways, they're even preferable to the cats—and coming from a lifelong cat person, that's really saying something.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Pexels

A couple celebrates while packing their home.

One of the topics that we like to highlight on Upworthy is people who are redefining what it means to be in a relationship. Recently, we’ve shared the stories of platonic life partners, moms who work together as part of a “mommune” and a polyamorous family with four equally-committed parents.

A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.

A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Brad Falchuk, and photographer Annie Leibovitz and activist Susan Sontag are all high-profile couples who’ve embraced the LAT lifestyle.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Professional tidier Marie Kondo says she's 'kind of given up' after having three kids

Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.

Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.

It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

YouTube star MrBeast sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery to help them see again

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up."

YouTube star sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery

Blindness touches people's lives around the world and YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as MrBeast, is trying to do something about it. Donaldson made it his mission to help 1,000 people regain their eyesight with the help of Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida.

Levenson has been operating a program called "Gift of Sight" for over 20 years. The program provides free cataract surgery to uninsured people who are legally blind for free, so long as they meet certain criteria. Levenson had never heard of Donaldson, and he almost hung up on him when the YouTube star called to ask about a partnership.

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up," Levenson told CNN.

After figuring out that Donaldson was indeed a real person who wanted to help others, the duo called around the Jacksonville area to determine the people who needed help the most. They got their list of clients from free clinics and homeless shelters, which covered the United States portion of the surgeries.

Keep ReadingShow less

A mom makes sensory sand by putting Cheerios in a blender.

A parenting influencer who goes by the name @ellethevirgo on TikTok has shared a brilliant hack that can turn a simple box of Cheerios into a fun sensory sand experience. The great part is that the sand is edible, so you don’t have to worry if your child puts some in their mouth, which they will inevitably do.

The recipe for Cheerios sensory sand is pretty simple:

Keep ReadingShow less

Gaël Monfils makes tennis a must-see.

Tennis isn't always the most entertaining sport to watch, especially if you're not particularly interested in seeing a ball get slapped across a net at 1,000,000 mph approximately 17,000 times. You could probably get whiplash or eye strain if you focused too hard on it. While some people love the sport, others need a little more than grunts and sneaker sounds to capture their attention.

If you're in the group of people who need to be entertained, look no further than Gaël Monfils, a professional French tennis player that has earned the nickname, "The Entertainer." Monfils turned pro in 2004 and has multiple championship matches under his belt, and yet he still takes the time to be...extra while playing.

In a compilation video uploaded to TikTok, we see the 36-year-old tennis player dancing after hitting the ball across the net just out of his opponent's reach. But of course, he also doesn't hit the ball like your average player, either. In one part of the video, Monfils jumps up extremely high and bicycle kicks as he hits the ball with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

Keep ReadingShow less