Why do cats eat the heads off rabbits?

Cats eat the heads off rabbits simply because it is the best part. Unlike their other prey, rabbits are relatively bigger, so eating the entire body is not for them. Thus, cats tend to eat only the head and discard the rest.

But why would they go for the head instead of the body? What makes the head so unique?

How do rabbits deal with these feral predators who like to pounce on them?

Let’s find out more about these two animals!

Rabbits as prey to cats

Rabbits are prey animals by nature. There are a lot of reasons why they are such.

First, rabbits are herbivores. They can please their stomach with only fruits and vegetables.

They can munch on the leaf without minding other animals around them.

For this reason, they don’t bring any threat to animals, much less to their prey.

Second, rabbits tend to escape instead of fighting back against predators.

Rabbits, as herbivores and soft animals, have no killing and fighting tools.

Their body has the design solely for munching leaves and not for fighting enemies.

It is why cats, along with the rest of the predators, would attack them upon sight.

Even so, rabbits have their protective instinct.

Let’s get to it more in-depth.

Can rabbits defend themselves against cats?

These furry pets of ours have a keen sense of smell, seeing, and hearing.

Without any other tools to survive, they rely on these sensory capabilities.

They don’t run upon sensing an enemy at first. Instead, they freeze in place, blending in their surroundings.

They do this when they sense a threat nearby. By freezing, rabbits intend to deceive their enemy by seemingly hiding their presence.

If a predator gets too close, that’s when they start to run.

While this tactic tends to work on other predators, it’s something they can’t do with cats.

With all this, you may be wondering if cats and rabbits can live together.

Can cats live with rabbits?

Both creatures are sociable animals. Thus, they can make excellent companions to their owners.

While cats playing with rabbits do seem like trouble, they can live together at peace.

There are a lot of pet owners having both cats and rabbits together at the same place. It’s not even unusual for cats and rabbits to play along.

Rabbits and cats even groom one another!

However, this friendship between the two doesn’t mean that the prey is safe.

While they can play together, it’s still not a smart choice to leave the two alone.

The fact remains that cats are dangerous to rabbits. They are predators, wired to prey on rabbits.

While not every cat has a strong hunting instinct, you should assume the worst for your rabbit as an owner.

For this reason, never leave the two alone. If you should, then separate these two from each other to assure your rabbit’s safety.

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Can a cat kill rabbits of their size?

Unfortunately, the size of a rabbit doesn’t matter with cats. Yes, cats can kill rabbits of their size.

Further, they can even hunt down a rabbit more prominent than them.

One individual witnessed a cat dragging a rabbit, which is almost double its size.

She says:

I watched something coming towards me across the paddocks, and I could not quite work out what it was until it got closer, and I realized it was our little cat carrying a huge rabbit, much bigger than him. As he was dragging it, the rabbit was so big. I could not […] see the cat behind it. Only his white feet showed just under it. That rabbit was almost double the size of the cat, and not only that he caught it somewhere, he brought it home quite a distance.

Lida Simon

Does this mean that a rabbit stands no chance against a cat?

Can rabbits kill a cat in return?

Can a rabbit kill a cat?

In terms of fighting, a rabbit doesn’t stand a chance against a cat.

Rabbits can’t fight back, and all they can do is run and avoid predators as much as they can.

Yet, there are instances that a cat can be in danger by a rabbit.

A kick from a rabbit can produce a lot of force. While this kick can’t likely kill a cat, it can still do some pain.

Further, a rabbit may kill a cat indirectly if this rabbit has a bacteria or a disease in itself.

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Why do cats only eat the heads of rabbits and not the body?

For cats, the body of rabbits can be trash, while the head is the treat.

The head is the best because it contains the eyes, and the eyes are the ones that attract the best.

Even if your cat isn’t hungry, they won’t be able to resist leaving a bunny’s head without devouring it.

A cat will pass for the body, but it won’t say no to the head, as it is genuinely desirable to chew.

Further, as predators, their instinct is to kill. Thus, cats tend to hunt and kill rabbits once they see their fluffy bodies hopping in front of them.

The head of a rabbit, for this matter, represents their prey. With rabbits being so big, a single rabbit head can please them immediately. Thus, they won’t need the body anymore.

Now, how do cats hunt a rabbit?

Let’s find out!

How does cat hunt a rabbit?

Cats are born hunters, and they have a particular set of skills in hunting their prey.

When it comes to hunting, they can use two methods. These are:

1. Stalk or run and pounce

With this method, cats use a lot of energy in a short time. They try to slowly approach their target and pounce fast when they think they’re near enough.

2. Stationary or sit and wait

With this method, cats remain motionless for a long time. They pounce when their target emerges from hiding.

Cats usually prefer to hunt on their own. They don’t tend to hunt in packs, as they don’t like sharing their game.

Cats also do most of their hunt within their area or territory. It is because they are familiar with the area, and they can move around with ease.

Some cats roam far from home to visit some specific hunting places.

While not usual, they can also work with their family members, for a precise and sure hunt.

Rabbits or Cats: Which one is faster?

If a cat and a rabbit ended up in a chase, it might be quite a race.

While rabbits are famous for being a quick one, their average speed ranges from 25-45 mph. On the other hand, a crow’s flight can get up to 30 mph.

Despite the close speed range, the cat’s hunting skills and methods compensate for it.

Thus, even though a rabbit may be faster, a cat will still be able to catch it with ease.

What happens if a cat eats a rabbit?

While it is usual for cats to eat rabbits, they can get infected with it.

Small animals such as rabbits and voles and other rodents carry bacteria in their system.

This bacteria may be suitable for these prey, but not for predators like cats who eat them.

If a cat gets infected, they may show signs such as weight loss, fever, and other sicknesses.

Does cat saliva kill rabbits?

Cats have potent viral substances in their saliva that can be harmful to rabbits.

A puncture wound or scratch won’t kill a rabbit immediately. Even so, it can cause an infection that can lead to death if left untreated.

Are rabbits smarter than cats?

A lot of studies show that the intelligence of a rabbit is almost like cats and dogs.

Rabbits have distinct personalities. They can be playful and silly, but they can also be independent and fascinating as cats.

If you are a long time rabbit owner, you’ll know that these furry pets can be as smart as cats and dogs, each in their way.

They are intelligent, with the ability to memorize, solve problems, and react to cues.

Even so, against the hunting abilities of a cat, they are just not smart enough.

How can you stop a cat from hunting rabbits?

There are things you can do to prevent your cats from hunting your rabbits.

First, you should keep the two separated when you’re away. While cats and rabbits can play with each other, you can never trust a cat’s hunter soul.

Second, you shouldn’t let your cat play with your rabbit if it hasn’t eaten yet. A hungry cat is much more inclined to pounce on your rabbit. Always feed your cat before letting it play outside.

You can let both of your rabbit and cat play for as long as they like. Just remember to keep your eyes on them to avoid unwanted incidents from happening.

What other animals eat rabbits?

Aside from cats, there are a lot of predators who would hunt a rabbit on sight.

Wild rabbits are the usual targets of snakes, eagles, hawks, owl, foxes, and raccoons. For domestic rabbits, dogs can also hurt and harass them, aside from cats.


  • Cats eat the heads off rabbits because it is the best part. Further, the head is enough for them.
  • Rabbits are prey animals by nature. They don’t tend to fight back, and they are easy targets for cats.
  • Rabbits defend themselves by freezing in place and running in grave danger.
  • While cats and rabbits are predators and prey by nature, they can live together if they grew up together. Even so, a cat will still tend to attack.
  • Cats can kill a rabbit of the same size, and even a more prominent one.
  • While rabbits can’t fight back, they can harm a cat if they have bacteria and disease.
  • Cats hunt rabbits through stalking or by being stationary.
  • Both rabbits and cats have a similar range in speed, but in a hunt, a rabbit doesn’t stand a chance.
  • A cat can get infected by killing a rabbit. At the same time, the saliva of a cat can be harmful to a rabbit.
  • Rabbits can be as intelligent as cats, but being prey animals can never outsmart a cat.
  • Constant supervision is the key to prevent your cat from hunting your rabbit.
  • Aside from cats, other animals eat rabbits as well.

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