Buying a rabbit and keeping it as a pet should be great. You and your family might wind up falling in love with your new pet rabbit.
Perhaps you’ve been a bit on the fence about getting a rabbit, though. Many people don’t have experience taking care of them.
You might be more familiar with cats and dogs. Are you worried about whether rabbits are as affectionate as cats and dogs?
Are rabbits affectionate toward humans? Will you be able to form a bond with a pet rabbit?
Keep reading to learn about this topic so you can figure out if a pet rabbit is right for you. You’ll learn about bonding with rabbits and about how affectionate you can expect these pets to be.
How Do Rabbits Show Affection?
There are actually several ways that pet rabbits are known to show affection. As you bond with your rabbit, it’ll start showing you affection in small ways.
Below, you’ll read a bit about each different affectionate action. You might notice your rabbit doing these things to you quite often if you have a good rapport with it.
1 – Nudging and Rubbing Against You
One of the most common ways that these pets show affection is by nudging. A pet rabbit might nudge you with its head to try to get attention or show affection.
Soft headbutting and rubbing its body against you should be seen as a sign that the rabbit is happy with you. It’s showing you its approval by doing these actions.
When rabbits rub their face against you, it’s a good sign. Rabbits do this as a way to share their scent profile.
Essentially, the rabbit is saying that they like you and that you’re friends. So if a rabbit does this to you, it’s a great sign that you’re doing well caring for it.
2 – Circling Your Feet
Rabbits that love their owners will show them affection by circling their feet. This can be a little bit annoying from time to time, but it’s just a way that they show their love.
You might see the pet rabbit doing figure-eight patterns around your feet. Sometimes it’ll zoom around fairly fast while doing this.
It’s not unusual to hear the rabbit make little excited sounds during this time. This is also something that rabbits do when they’re excited about being fed.
3 – Jumping and Twisting
When rabbits are happy to see you, they will do this odd and cute little jump in the air. You might see the rabbit jump and twist in the air out of excitement and happiness.
Some people refer to this jumping action as a “binky.” After the jump, sometimes the rabbit will run around a little bit.
This occurs when the rabbit is happy and has a lot of excited energy that it needs to burn off. It’s certainly a cute thing to see, and it shows that your rabbit is very happy to see you.
4 – Wanting to Be Petted a Lot
If your pet rabbit wants to be petted a lot, that is a way that it shows affection. It shows that your rabbit wants your attention.
Rabbits that want your attention clearly feel affectionately toward you. Not all rabbits like letting just anyone pet them.
5 – Lying Near You
Does your rabbit like to lie down right near you? When rabbits lie close to you or even lie down on the floor while touching you, it’s an affectionate thing.
It’s especially noteworthy if the rabbit is lying on its side. Rabbits are vulnerable in this position since they can’t dash away quickly.
They normally lie with their feet underneath them so they can run at a moment’s notice. A rabbit that lies on its side by you is showing you that it’s comfortable in your presence and that it trusts you.
6 – Sitting on Your Lap
Typically, rabbits don’t like being held or sitting on peoples’ laps. However, a rabbit that builds up a lot of trust with a human might want to sit this way.
If your rabbit starts sitting on your lap, it’s a sign that it really trusts you. The rabbit might climb onto your lap on its own.
Sometimes rabbits that are truly content and affectionate will be happy to sit on your lap for hours at a time. Just understand that this is not something that is likely to happen right away.
Also, some rabbits might never feel comfortable sitting on someone’s lap. They generally like to keep their feet on the ground since it makes them feel safer.
Where Do Rabbits Like to Be Petted?
There are many spots where rabbits will enjoy receiving pets. To start, you will want to stick with petting rabbits on the ears, the top of their heads, the face, and the cheeks.
Some rabbits like being petted underneath the chin, but not all of them do. It’ll depend on the rabbit.
It’s also notable that not all rabbits like having their backs petted. Some rabbits do, and others don’t like it.
Generally, it’s unwise to pet a rabbit’s belly, legs, or paws. They don’t enjoy this at all.
Are Rabbits Social Animals?
Yes, rabbits are indeed known as social animals. They usually like to live in groups, and most enthusiasts say that keeping two pet rabbits together is best.
Rabbits feel more comfortable when they have a friend around. So it’d be good to keep two rabbits together so long as you have enough room.
Many people do keep only one rabbit as a pet. This can work out fine as long as you can give your rabbit attention and companionship.
Just keep in mind that two rabbits are the recommended number. You can make your decision accordingly.
Are Rabbits Cuddly?
Rabbits can certainly be cuddly once they start to trust you. It can take a rabbit a little bit of time to warm up to you.
As you continue to care for the rabbit and treat it well, it’ll start opening up to you. Eventually, it’ll begin to show the signs of affection mentioned above.
At this point, the rabbit is likely going to be very cuddly. It’ll love being petted by you, and it might even become comfortable enough to sit on your lap.
So you can get a rabbit to become a very cuddly pet by caring for it properly. Once these pets become affectionate, they’re going to be a lot of fun to interact with.
How to Make Your Rabbit Like You
Making your rabbit like you is mostly about taking care of the basics. You want to make sure that the rabbit’s needs are being met.
So continue to feed the rabbit well and provide it with an appropriate environment. You’ll also want to be careful about how you interact with the rabbit.
Don’t do things that make the rabbit feel unsafe. Trying to hold the rabbit too much might make it feel uncomfortable.
These animals hate loud noises, too. So it’d be better to be quiet when you’re near the rabbit.
Giving the rabbit treats from time to time will help it to like you. Just don’t overfeed the rabbit since that would be detrimental.
Rabbits also like having toys that they can play with. So give them toys and spend time with them.
Eventually, your rabbit is going to become quite affectionate toward you. Just don’t try to rush things because rabbits do like to be given their space as well.
Do Rabbits Feel Love?
Most people agree that rabbits are very loving animals. It’s obvious that they’re affectionate animals that will show their owners love in various ways.
You’ve already learned about the many things that rabbits do to show affection toward their owners. If these aren’t signs of love, then it’s likely that nothing a pet could do would qualify as such.
There might be a debate about whether animals feel love in the same way that humans do. That’s a difficult conversation to have that likely doesn’t matter much in the context of this topic.
Just know that rabbits are very loving and social animals. They love being around other rabbits, and they can also learn to love their owners.
It does take a bit of time for them to warm up to their owners. If you’re willing to put in the work, it’ll be a great experience overall.
Do They Feel Pain?
Of course, rabbits are certainly able to feel pain. As a pet owner, you want to look out for your rabbit and see if it shows signs that it’s in pain.
When a rabbit is in pain, it’ll often sit in a hunched-up way. It might have its eyes partially closed, and it’ll be grinding its teeth.
Rabbits that are in pain should be checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible. You’ll want to get your pet help so you can get to the bottom of the issue.
There are many things that could be happening that are causing the rabbit pain. It could be that the rabbit became injured in some way while playing.
It’s also possible that the rabbit might be sick and will need to receive treatments. No matter what, you want to enlist the help of a vet so you can help the rabbit to get better fast.
Don’t ignore signs that your rabbit isn’t doing well. Your pet relies on you for care, and you must do your best to protect it.
You’ve learned so much about pet rabbits. Any fears that you had about rabbits not being affectionate should be thrown out the window.
Now you know that rabbits are very social and affectionate animals. They will build trust with their owners over time, and they become more and more affectionate.
When you put in the work to treat your rabbit well, it’ll end up being very affectionate toward you. It’s likely that your rabbit will love you a lot.
An affectionate rabbit will nudge you with its head and rub against you. It’ll want to be petted a lot, and it’ll likely lie down next to you.
The rabbit might circle your feet, and it could even climb up onto your lap if it’s feeling very affectionate. So you have a lot to look forward to as a prospective rabbit owner.
Don’t hesitate to buy a pet rabbit if you think that you’d love owning one. They can be so much fun to care for, but you do need to make sure that you’re ready for the responsibility before proceeding.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.