First, get the baby rabbit contained

To keep the baby rabbit safe while you figure out how to help it, put it in a small cardboard box with a soft towel or t-shirt. Even on a warm day babies can get cold, so give it a heat source:

  • a clean sock filled with dry, uncooked rice, and microwaved for one minute
  • a plastic bottle from the recycling bin filled with hot tap water
  • an electric heating pad set to “LOW” and placed under half of the box.

Do not give it any food or water – right now keeping it warm, dark, and quiet is more important.

CAUTION: Baby rabbits, even more than other wild animals, are EXTREMELY high-stress. This makes it even more important to keep them dark and quiet, and not to give them food or water.  DON’T PET THEM, DON’T FEED THEM, and keep people and pets away while you figure out how to get them help. 

Is the baby rabbit injured?

If a baby rabbit (or any other animal) has been caught by a cat, even if you don’t see any obvious injuries, it needs immediate medical attention. Cats have a lot of bacteria in their mouths, and even a tiny puncture wound can cause a deadly infection. Keep the rabbit dark and quiet, don’t give it any food or water, and contact a wildlife rehabilitator right away.

Cats and wildlife

We love cats here at Toronto Wildlife Centre, but we are big proponents of transitioning cats to an indoor lifestyle. If your outdoor cat has found a nest of baby rabbits, be prepared that they will bring you the babies one by one until the nest is empty. Unfortunately, most of those baby rabbits won’t survive — rabbits do very poorly in captivity, and cat bites can cause serious infections.

For tips and information about transitioning your cat to an indoor lifestyle (it can definitely be a challenge!) see our friends at Cats and Birds. 

MYTH! If you touch a baby rabbit, its mother will probably not abandon it. Rabbits are excellent moms. All they want is their baby back.

Temporary care

While you are waiting to hear back from a wildlife rehabilitator, keep the baby rabbit contained in a dark, quiet place. Make sure it has a heat source. Don’t give it any food or water until you have spoken to a rehabilitator. Further temporary care instructions can be found here.