Vegan woman learns rabbits are vegetarian and decides to adopt

Karen Flynn and her husband, Patrick, were ready for pets in their Chicago home, but there was a bit of a moral dilemma. "I love cats," she said, "but I'm a vegan and had an issue with feeding one animal to another. I talked with a couple of vets and they told me that cats are carnivores and a vegan diet would harm them."

Rabbits as pets

Fortunately, a friend of Karen’s mother had just recently read an article called "Wascally Wabbits: The Fine Art of Bunny Love" in Best Friends magazine (January/February 2005). She suggested that Karen consider adopting bunnies. Karen said, "After learning that rabbits could be litter-box-trained and did not have to live in a cage (in fact, it's strongly encouraged not to cage them), we decided to learn more about them."

Adopting two bunnies from Red Door Animal Shelter

For Karen, who grew up with the ethic of kindness to animals, the only logical place to look for bunnies was at her local shelter. So, she visited Red Door Animal Shelter on the north side of Chicago, and brought bunnies Katie and Roy home. "I think they are wonderful pets," Karen said. "Red Door was extremely helpful in providing a ton of information and also in answering all my questions."

She affectionately described her new hoppy friends: "Katie is the more curious and skeptical one; Roy is more laid-back. Katie will get scared at a noise or her own shadow, where nothing really seems to faze Roy. What is fun is that they sometimes remind me of a combination of a dog and a cat. They are very curious like cats, and also like chasing each other around our condo like dogs. They are very sweet and like to be petted.

According to Karen's mom, Paula Galecki, these bunnies have the life of Riley: "They couldn't have gone to a more loving home. They have their own room (it used to be their second bedroom) complete with toys, boxes, etc."

Advice about pet rabbits

Karen has some advice for other first-time rabbit parents: "They like companionship, so I would suggest getting two that are bonded. Also, people need to know how to rabbit-proof their home. You need to cover the wires in your home because apparently they will chew them. I have heard they will chew some types of rugs or carpeting too. Also, they have to go to a vet who specializes in exotics."

Karen said not only did she get vegetarian pets who fit her lifestyle, but "It feels good to know we saved their lives, and also made room for two more lives at the shelter."

Adopt a bunny of your own.