The RSPCA is urging animal lovers to think carefully about buying a small furry as a ‘starter pet’ for their children.
The animal welfare charity has revealed that they are rescuing 340 small furries a month and say there is not such thing as a starter pet. Rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, ferrets, chinchillas, hamsters are often seen as an easy, ‘starter pet’ for children. However, small does not necessarily mean simple as they can have complex needs.
Across England and Wales last year, the RSPCA recued 4,081 rabbits and other small furries from cases of cruelty, neglect and abandonment.
Dr Jane Tyson, the RSPCA’s rabbit and rodent welfare expert said: “Many people think the RSPCA only reduces and rehomes cats and dogs, but this is not the case. We see thousands of small furries coming into our care every year and often this is as a result of owners being unable to cope with caring for these animals who they thought would be easy to look after.
“Small furries are often very misunderstood pets. One of the biggest issues we see with small pets such as these is people taking them on with little or no research, often buying them on impulse because their children have asked them. This can lead to families struggling to cope once they realise the large amount of time, money and care these animals actually need.
“It used to be a common sight to see a lone rabbit in a small hutch at the bottom of the garden or a hamster in a tiny cage in the corner of a child’s bedroom but hopefully these images are consigned to the past and people realise that these complex animals need so much more than that.”
This Adoptober the RSPCA is shining a light on rabbits and small furries in its care which are looking for homes. Last year, the charity rehomed 2,752 rabbits.
While many of the 44,000 animals the charity rehomes every year, are snapped up by new families within just a few weeks, others can spend much longer patiently waiting for their fur-ever home.
Himalayan rabbit, Joy (pictured above) was taking into care by RSPCA Manchester and Salford branch in September 2018 as one of a litter of tiny, baby bunnies.
The owner of the rabbits had purchased the mum from a pet shop but the bunny subsequently gave birth which came as quite a surprise.
The one-year old female rabbit has been in foster care and is now ready to be rehomed to an adopter with a neutered male bunny companion.
Susie Hughes, manager at the RSPCA Manchester and Salford branch said: “Joy’s foster family says she is a lovely rabbit who is very curious and loves to explore and rearrange her home.
“She isn’t comfortable with being handled just yet, so new owners will need to be understanding of this. She will happily come up to you for a sniff and to see if she can get any more food. She will sit and wait for her foster carers in the morning, ready for her breakfast. When she is let out to play, she does plenty of binkies and loves nothing more than eating her hay and demolishing any grass left for her with relish.”
Joy can be a little timid and wary of people but has always been very content with a rabbit friend.
Susie added: “Like all rabbits, Joy is very sociable with other buns and doesn’t like to be alone. She really needs to find a companion now so if you have a lonely neutered male, they could be the perfect match.”
Joy likes living outdoors with her two-tier hutch and run attached with opportunities for extra playtime as well. However, she could also live indoors if a suitable space can be provided. She is neutered, microchipped and vaccinated.
Joy has been in RSPCA care for more than 330 days and is looking to find her forever home this Adoptober.
If you think you can offer Joy or any animals currently in RSPCA care a new home, you can visit www.rspca.org.uk/findapet.