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[Not a pet, but I don’t see a better SE and there are folks here that know rabbits.]

There is a wild rabbit that keeps digging nests in my yard and having babies there. My cats killed three of four newborns (no fur) this spring before I could stop them. I kept my cats indoors for the next couple weeks to protect the remaining one.

I hoped the mom would move on for her next litter, but she has had two more litters in my yard since then. She isn’t particularly good at hiding the nests either as my cats always find them within days, long before the kits are grown enough to be able to get away.

So far I’ve managed to keep my cats from killing any more kits, but it’s causing me problems keeping the cats indoors so much, and they are highly motivated to get outside when they see helpless prey running around out there, so it’s not a long term solution.

How do I convince this rabbit to have her future litters somewhere safer, as in not my yard?

Note: I think it is an eastern cottontail, which aren’t known for digging burrows. The nests are just holes she digs in the flower beds and then covers with mulch.

  • I think this question is okay being there, and even if someone wants to close it then you could always re-frame it to be about your cats which are pets. – lila Oct 14 at 19:32
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    @lila Thanks! I figured this was better than asking if it was safe for my cats to eat them, even though that’s more on-topic. – StephenS Oct 15 at 1:41
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It all depends on what you actually want to achieve.

If you want to enjoy watching the baby rabbits grow, then just build some cages for them, where the wild mother would feel comfortable, ans where the cats cannot go. (I know, quite conflicting requirement :) )

If you provide food to the mother rabbit, then she will not even need to go out for food, so she will not need to use the door - de facto (temporarily) becoming a pet.

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  • My goal is for the mother to have her babies in someone else’s yard. I don’t mind if she visits, or her offspring once they’re old enough to avoid getting eaten. – StephenS Oct 15 at 12:47
  • So as long as they get eaten somewhere else, everything is fine. Then you have 2 options: 1. Reinforce the fence - and extend it underground, so the rabbits cannot dig any more. 2. Eat the rabbits (including the mother) yourself - they will not bother you again :) The more reasonable way would be to build a kind of a fence with a roof around that area where the babies are. Your cats will not be able to reach it, and the mother rabbit will be able to wander as she pleases - just not on your property. – virolino Oct 15 at 13:22

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