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We've got a 3 year old neutered male dwarf rabbit and a male kitten who is almost four months old. The kitten isn't neutered yet, but will be before he turns five months old.

The cat and the rabbit are friendly. They don't groom each other (yet - I have hope!) but they run and play together, and boop noses together sometimes. But earlier today I caught the kitten mounting the rabbit, including biting him on the scruff of his neck. The rabbit did not seem panicked; he just held still, even after I separated them. He seemed relaxed, but didn't move for several minutes.

How did the rabbit interpret this behavior? He didn't seem to mind it, so I wonder if he felt he was being groomed, as is his due as king of the house.

Was this aggressive behavior on the part of the kitty? Should we be preventing it? Should we keep them separated until the cat is neutered?

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I would not separate them, it sounds like they are forming a bond. Breaking a rabbits bond can be fatal.

Rabbits often mount each other as a sign of dominance, gender does not matter when mounting for dominance. Rabbits will sometimes mount backwards and this should be discouraged as it can injury the rabbits neck.

In any case you should discourage mounting, but don't worry about encounters that are brief (a few seconds). They need to communicate and work through relationship issues, so you don't want to complete disallow it.

The cat may have learned mounting behavior from the rabbit, it is likely that rabbit first mounted the cat. As a rule male rabbits tend to be a bit more submissive then female rabbits. If the rabbit did not mind, he wants to be friends with the cat and is OK with the cat being the boss. Relationships are complex, this is an oversimplification.

If the rabbit does not like the behavior, or the dominance message, it will fight back. The most aggressive rabbit move is hip nipping. If you see the rabbit spin around and try to nip the cats hip, it is time for both to go to their own rooms for a time out.

Also see Rabbit integration tips & tricks?

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  • Excellent. Thanks for the info. Today we discouraged the mounting by putting Noodles (the cat) in time out in the bathroom for half an hour or so until the mood passed. Binx (rabbit) ate treats and flopped happily on the carpet, so I am not too worried about his stress level. Will keep an eye on them going forward! – hairboat Nov 15 '15 at 1:01
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    Yep, we had a cat/rabbit pair that did the exact same thing. – John Cavan Nov 15 '15 at 13:52

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