Ask the Animal Communicator: Family’s New Pet Rabbit Isn't Friendly

Shannon Cutts
by Shannon Cutts

Who doesn’t love a fluffy, floppy eared, cute, and cuddly pet rabbit? Small, smart, sociable, and relatively short-lived, rabbits are becoming an increasingly popular pet choice today. But what can you do when you bring home a new pet rabbit and the experience is nothing like what your family was expecting? You ask the animal communicator, of course!


Dear Shannon,


We got a new pet rabbit last week. My kids saw him at the pet store and just fell in love. I have to admit I did too. We each held him for a few minutes at the store and he was very calm. My kids named him Max. We bought all the supplies and got him set up at home and of course my kids wanted to play with him right away. But honestly now that he’s home he seems terrified – so much so that he nipped my daughter and now she is afraid to touch him. Luckily his bite didn’t break her skin, but next time it might and if that happens, my husband says he will get rid of Max. I don’t want this to happen but I’ve tried to handle Max as well and he nipped me too. What was supposed to be a fun adventure has turned into a real source of worry for us and I don’t know what to try next. Can you help?


Gina the newbie rabbit mama

Shannon’s reply:

Hi Gina,

Thank you for writing. I can feel your anxiety on behalf of your whole interspecies family and your desire to do the right thing by all. Rabbits are increasingly in the limelight in the pet market, so much so that they are often marketed as low maintenance and low cost alternatives to more traditional pets like dogs and cats. But just like it can take some time to build a bond with a new puppy or kitten, so too can it take some time for a new rabbit to warm up to you. This is especially true when you are wanting to handle, cuddle or play with your new rabbit.

What I love most about your question is that you really want to invite Max to the conversation. Thank you! This is something too many animal guardians don’t think to do and it really can make a difference. Animal communication is not the same as" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">rabbit socialization or training. The work I do allows me to actually talk to Max using a sensory and intuitive shared language.

So the first thing Max shares with me is that he misses his mom and litter mates. From what he shows me, Max has gone through a lot of changes very rapidly, leaving his mom and siblings, then leaving his home and winding up at the pet store in a cage all by himself. And then all of a sudden he left the pet store and went home with you. So he shows me that right now he feels pretty scared and stressed. And this is definitely not the right state of mind or heart to be feeling all cuddly and open to having even more new experiences!

When I do a body scan on Max, I feel two distinct physical sensations: one sensation feels like a headache and the other sensation feels like a belly ache. (A body scan is a technique animal communicators often use to feel more deeply what it is like to be that animal. Body scans can also be used as a non-medical, non-diagnostic tool to detect the possibility of an animal’s physical or emotional discomfort.) This tells me a veterinary visit may be in order just to make sure all is well with Max’s general health and diet.

I asked Max what he wants and needs from you to be open to being handled. He shows me a quiet room in low light conditions. I see him sitting inside a small enclosed hut of some sort. And he shows me each of you coming into the room and just sitting with him quietly – not all of you at once, either, but one or two at a time. I also asked Max how you will know he is ready to be handled by which I mean picked up and stroked. He shows me a mini-movie of him emerging from his hiding spot and hopping towards you, extending his nose towards you to sniff you and take the treats you offer him.

Gina, I hope this information is helpful to you and your family. Little Max may well grow into a loving, affectionate and wonderful family companion. And the best way you can encourage this outcome is to be patient and gentle with Max as he adjusts to all the sudden changes in his life and gets settled into his new life with you.

From my heart,


Shannon Cutts
Shannon Cutts

Shannon Cutts is an intuitive animal communicator and Reiki master practitioner with Animal Love Languages. Shannon works through the universal love language of all species to connect with her pet clients – deep listening. Deep listening activates empathy, allowing Shannon to literally feel what an animal is feeling, listen in to their thoughts, experience what they are experiencing and then relay all of that information to the pet parent. Visit Shannon at

More by Shannon Cutts