Are you having a great time with your bunny…
And then suddenly, you felt a warm sensation in your lap?
Or do they often climb and pee on you on a daily basis?
Well, whichever your case is, you’re probably wondering…
“Why are they doing this?
And how can I prevent it from happening again?”
Continue reading to learn:
- 11 reasons why rabbits pee on their humans.
- Whether they’re doing this out of grudge or not.
- When you should be alarmed by this peeing dilemma.
- 7 helpful tips on how you can put an end to this behavior.
- And many more…
Why does my rabbit pee on me?
Your rabbit pees on you because they’re being territorial. They leave their scent on you as they want others to back off. But, this could also be a result of stress, excitement, anger, or fear. As well as a lack of litter training. While others may have a medical condition. Like UTI or incontinence.
Rabbit pees on me – 11 reasons
#1: It’s a sign of love
Does your bunny always pee on you?
They don’t do it to other people. And it seems like they’re taking a leak on you intentionally.
Well, if so, it might look like your rabbit does this out of a grudge.
But actually, it’s the opposite – they love you to bits!
“Really? How does peeing count as a sign of love?”
It’s natural for rabbits to mark their ‘belongings’ with their scent.
And when I say scent, it could be from their bodily secretions like sweat or pee. (We’ll talk more about this later.)
This is why they may often urinate on things that are important to them. Such as their cages, toys, and even their humans.
So if you have a deep bond with your bunny, they could also pee on you frequently.
They’re claiming you as their own.
This is because your fur baby likes you so much. So they want other rabbits and animals to know that you belong to them.
Note: Aside from peeing, your bunny may also show their love to you in many other ways, like:
And they’ll likely follow you everywhere too.
#2: Territorial instincts
As I said earlier, your bunny is likely peeing on you because they’re marking you as their territory.
They like you a lot. And they also want other rabbits to back off and stay away from their favorite person.
This reason is more probable if they pee on you in bursts.
And if they also do it all around the house. Especially on your spots in bed or couch. As those areas are saturated by your scent.
“Is this normal?”
According to vets, rabbits are highly territorial.
This is why ‘scent-marking’ (the term for what they’re doing) is natural for both male and female bunnies.
Rabbits have scent glands in their bodies. And their function is to produce substances that contain their odor.
These are found in their chin, near their eyes, groin, and anus.
So whenever a bunny pees or poops, they’re also releasing those secretions. Which will then be detected by other rabbits or animals.
Note: Territorial bunnies will mark things by ‘chinning’ as well. They’re going to rub their chin against an object or a person they want. This is because they also have scent glands under it too. But apart from chinning, they may deposit stools as well.
When rabbits hit puberty, they’ll go through some hormonal changes. And these will cause them to show unwanted behaviors.
The most common is urine spraying. This is because bunnies at this age will also become more territorial than before.
The same goes for their aggression. As well as other problematic behaviors, like:
“When does this happen?”
Experts say that this will vary per rabbit.
- Small breeds – 3.5 to 5 months.
- Medium-sized breeds – 4 to 6 months.
- Large breeds – 5 to 8 months.
So based on the info above, the smaller they are, the earlier they mature.
Apart from hormones, rabbits may also become more territorial when they’re troubled.
This will result in intensified pee spraying. And it might be that you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“What may have caused this?”
There are many possible reasons for stress in rabbits.
But most likely, it’s due to a sudden change in their environment. Like being in a new place. As well as having a new bunny, pet, or member of the family.
A study shows that rabbits in an unfamiliar place will bob their heads more than usual. And this is a common behavior caused by stress.
But, it was found that serotonin can reduce this by up to 40%.
(Quick info: Serotonin is also known as the ‘happy hormone.’ It helps regulate our mood. And low levels of this are linked to depression.)
But besides novel things, rabbits can also be stressed due to:
- Vet visits.
- Rough handling.
- Unpredictable routine.
What are the signs of stress in rabbits?
Based on vets, they’ll usually:
- Be inactive.
- Become withdrawn.
- Have a reduced appetite.
- Suffer from sudden weight loss.
Reading recommendation: 19 Alarming Signs That Your Rabbit Is Stressed
“What are you doing, hooman?
Stop or else, I’m going to release my anger in a way you wouldn’t like.”
How would you describe your bunny’s appearance before they pee on you?
Are their ears thrown back with their tail held high?
If so, they’re likely annoyed.
This is how mad rabbits usually look like.
They’ll raise their tails before they squirt some pee. So if you see this again, better move away from your bunny as fast as you can.
“Wait. Do bunnies get mad at us?”
Yes. And once they do, they’ll surely show it.
They can bite, swing their claws, or stomp their feet out of frustration. While others may spray urine, just like in this case.
How do you tell if a rabbit is annoyed?
I’ve already given a few.
But here are more indicators that they’re mad:
- Tensed body.
- Showing their incisors.
- Ignoring you for a while.
- Crouching with their head up.
So, think about what you were doing at that time. Or take a look at their surroundings.
Rabbits can get mad when they’re:
- Often ignored.
- Not handled correctly.
- Unhappy with their enclosure.
- Petted in areas they don’t like.
- Surprised or picked up all of a sudden.
- Being handled (when they don’t want to).
Don’t forget to check out: Why does my rabbit thump?
Does this pee accident only happen whenever you pick your bunny up?
If yes, it might be that they’re scared. And it causes them to release their pee involuntarily.
Remember, rabbits are prey animals.
They have a strong instinct to run and hide. Plus, they’re naturally skittish.
So being handled can make them feel trapped.
What would you feel if you’re picked up by someone who’s so much taller than you?
It’ll be a terrifying experience.
So you can’t blame your bunny for reacting that way.
But, this could also be due to…
Rabbits don’t remember every detail in their daily lives.
But, they’re good at associating things.
“What do you mean?”
For example, bunnies know that doing tricks will earn them snacks.
And they’ll also remember the things that caused them trauma before.
Rabbits might not know the exact thing that happened.
But they’ll remember what they’ve felt that time. And if it’s a negative one, it’ll leave an impact on them.
So if your bunny had a bad experience of being handled…
They’ll always be so terrified of it. To the point where they can’t control their bladder.
But they might pee out of displeasure as well.
Can rabbits suffer from trauma?
There’s no certain study about this yet.
But, there’s one on wild animals.
The study found that they can indeed suffer from post-traumatic disorder, a.k.a. PTSD. And it’s common in the wild.
The researchers reported that the animals showed fear behaviors.
And it must be observed for at least 7 days before they consider it as a case of PTSD.
#8: Medical conditions
Is your rabbit litter trained?
If so, and this peeing behavior appeared all of a sudden…
It could also be that they’re sick. And they’re not peeing on you intentionally.
So, take a look at your bunny’s urine. Then, see if you notice any of these signs:
- Hints of blood.
- Unusual color (beige or brown).
- Odd consistency (thicker than usual).
The most common medical issues linked to this are:
- Kidney diseases.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI).
Rabbits with UTI will likely pee in small amounts.
While those with diabetes will urinate more often. And they’ll also become thirstier.
“What are their causes?”
- Poor diet.
- Inadequate cleaning.
- Not drinking enough water.
- Excessive vitamins/minerals (e.g., calcium).
Research says that rabbits with kidney diseases will often vomit. And they’ll also have less interest in food.
Other usual signs of illnesses to watch out for:
- Changes in bowel movements.
- Burns around their private areas.
Note: Specialists share that diabetes is uncommon in bunnies. But to be sure, it’s still best to bring your bunny to the vet. And get an opinion about this.
#9: Urinary incontinence
Do you have a senior rabbit?
Because they could also be suffering from incontinence.
“What is it?”
This is when bunnies lose control of their bladder.
It’s common as they get older. And this is true even for us and other animals.
But some cases can also be due to an obstruction in the bladder.
So if your rabbit has this, you’ll notice they often dribble small amounts of pee when you pick them up.
Or you’ll see a puddle on the carpet or surface they’re sitting on.
“What are the other signs to look for?”
Like UTI, bunnies with this condition will also have thick, beige, or brown-colored pee.
And they’ll have a burning feeling when they urinate.
Note: PetMD says that this is often seen in rabbits ages 3 to 5 years old.
It could also be that your bunny pees on you due to so much excitement.
They’re ecstatic at the moment. So they can’t hold both their bladder and emotions well. And this makes them go without their will.
So, you consider this as a sign of love as well. As it seems like your bunny enjoys your company.
#11: Lack of training
Last but not least, it might also be that your rabbit still doesn’t know where to pee.
And they also don’t know that what they’re doing (urinating on you) is wrong.
This is a common problem in new bunnies.
But since rabbits are smart, they can also be trained to pee in certain spots like cats.
How will you do this?
Let’s dive right into the tips.
How do you stop rabbits from peeing on you? 7 tips
#1: Train them to pee in the right spots
If it seems like your bunny is doing this on purpose or if they lack litter training…
Make them learn that peeing on you is unacceptable.
This will also help lessen urine spraying. Although don’t expect it to be completely gone as their raging hormones are the ones to blame for this.
“What should I do?”
You don’t have to punish them or anything. This is because negative reinforcements will only cause fear.
So first, ensure that their litter box is placed in a comfy area. Meaning, it’s somehow private. Like in the corner of their enclosure or room.
Then, put your bunny in it every time they’re about to pee on you. And always praise them for doing it in the correct spot.
During the first few days, you can also reward your rabbit with treats. But, make sure that you’ll only give a small amount.
As you don’t want to upset their tummy and make them so dependent on goodies.
Note: Training a rabbit to pee in a litter box may take days or weeks. So, be consistent and extra patient with your bun.
#2: Know their potty schedule
While training, it’s also important to manage the situation as much as you can.
Because if you give your bunny a reason to pee on you again, you may set them up for failure.
So to prevent this, observe your rabbit. Then take note when they usually pee.
Once you know the answer to this, ensure that your bunny is inside their cage during those times.
Then only allow them to join you outside at least after 1 hour.
Note: This doesn’t guarantee that your rabbit will not have any accidents outside the cage. But it can still reduce the chances of them peeing on you.
#3: Earn their trust
If you have a new bunny and they’re still scared of you, you should get their full trust first.
This might be a long journey. But trust me, once you get past this, it’ll be all worth it.
So, how can you do this?
Just keep these things in mind:
- Be gentle every time.
- Always talk in a low, calming voice.
- Keep their environment as quiet as possible.
- Offer them tasty treats (e.g., small bites of apple or banana).
- Place their enclosure in an area with less traffic and distractions.
- Avoid startling them – don’t move too fast and avoid creating noises.
- Speak to them softly whenever you see them. This could make them feel a sense of belonging.
And lastly, as I said before, never punish them.
Just give them love and treat them right. And they’ll soon realize that you don’t mean any harm.
#4: Touch and handle them correctly
Is your bunny still not used to being handled?
If so, you have to make them feel comfortable with it first. For the pee accidents to be reduced.
But remember, rabbits have strong prey instincts. And they get easily nervous as well.
So being picked up will surely mess with their nerves.
And it could take a long time to achieve this. However, it’s not impossible.
What to do?
First, learn to approach them in the right way.
According to experts, they’re long-sighted. So if you place your hand close to their face, they won’t notice it at first.
And they’ll be shocked if you suddenly touch them.
So avoid doing this, instead:
- Approach your bunny above their head or from their sides.
- Lightly pet them in that area.
- See how they react.
- If they seem to be accepting, go on.
- But if not, halt at once.
Next, if you’re trying to pick them up, get a clean towel first. And wrap it around your bunny.
This would make your arms or any surfaces less slippery (and scary!).
Plus, this will also limit their movements. And prevent any bite or scratch incidents.
Lastly, while you’re holding them, ensure to always support their back and hind legs. Then hold and bring their body close to you.
Be gentle and not hold them too tightly.
Don’t force them
Now, if your bunny is highly anxious about being held or touched…
Give them space and never force them to do it.
Some rabbits might be naturally aloof. While others may have a traumatic experience.
The latter will need more time and you have to be patient while training them to get used to it.
Slowly build their trust and let your bunny come to you. Then once they do, take note of the previous tips.
To know more, check out this video:
#5: Reduce their stress
Have you figured out the cause of your rabbit’s stress?
If so, get rid of it.
But if that’s not possible, avoid your bunny from encountering it again.
Say, if the cause is a new pet in the house, keep them in separate areas. And make your rabbit’s place inaccessible to them.
Rabbits are social. But they might only do well with other bunnies or guinea pigs.
So they may be frightened of dogs and cats. As well as other predators.
#6: Consult with an expert
Does your bunny show some other signs that I listed above?
If so, they need to be checked by an exotic vet.
Peeing on you can be a result of many illnesses. So it’s best if it’ll be diagnosed and treated early.
But if your bun has incontinence, the main cause will be cured first.
They’ll be given medications for their scalding. As well antibiotic creams for their inflamed skin.
In this case, ensure that they always have a dry and clean bed to lie on. And that their rear end is washed regularly.
#7: Get them fixed
Training can only do so much. And it’s highly likely that your bunny’s hormones are responsible for this.
So to lessen this unwanted behavior, you have to consider getting them fixed.
Typically, this is done around 4 to 6 months of age, as per VCA.
And they also say that rabbits will benefit from this. Especially if you don’t have any plans to breed them.
Spaying or neutering them will prevent them from getting cancer. Specifically, those related to their reproductive organs.
Plus, your rabbit will also become calmer. As the other sexual behaviors will also be reduced.
Like mounting and nesting.
People also ask:
Why does my rabbit spray pee on me?
Your rabbit sprays pee on you because they like you and they’re claiming you as their own. They may also be scared of you or they hate being picked up. But they could be excited or frustrated as well.
When bunnies are in puberty, they’re more inclined to mark territories.
They’ll leave their scent everywhere. And they may use their urine which holds a strong odor.
Then since you’re important to them, you may also be included in their ‘to be sprayed’ list.
But aside from this, rabbits can also do this out of extreme emotions. Like excitement, anger, and fear.
If you want to know more, read this article: What Does Rabbit Spray Look Like? (Color + What It Means)