Can Cats Mate With Rabbits?

Learn why cats and rabbits, two different species from two different orders, cannot produce offspring.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Updated: September 29, 2014, 12 p.m. EDT

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Cat Reclining
Cats and rabbits cannot mate. Period.
Q: Is it possible to mate a cat with a rabbit? I have a black and white cat that is 6 months old. His back feet are large and he can stand on them for the longest time. He moves his mouth in the same way a rabbit does when he is eating.

A: Rabbits and cats cannot mate and produce viable offspring, even if they tried, for a number of reasons. Only members of the same species can mate with one another and produce offspring. Cats and rabbits are more than just different species. They are members of entirely different orders. Cats are carnivores. Rabbits are lagomorphs. They are simply too far removed from each other, evolutionarily, to be able to mate successfully.

Additionally, cats and rabbits have very different mating habits. Female cats are induced to ovulate by the barbs at the end of the male cats penis. Male rabbits have smooth penises. Without the barbs, the male rabbit could not stimulate the female cat to ovulate, so there would be no egg for the rabbits sperm to fertilize.
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Reader Comments

Connie    Venice, FL

4/23/2015 9:45:19 AM

very good.HOWEVER, I have a Manx cat,no tail, research sa ys they are from the Isle of Man and were the ofspring of rabbit and cat with longer back legs longer ears,hopping when running. My cat is product of feral mother manx courted by small black florida
panther, he has no tail very large and heavy, pure black fur, no domestic cat tendencies. mother cat small.He is beautiful large unusual animal. rescued from woods. could he product of their mating?

Connie    Venice, FL

4/23/2015 9:44:12 AM

very good.HOWEVER, I have a Manx cat,no tail, research sa ys they are from the Isle of Man and were the ofspring of rabbit and cat with longer back legs longer ears,hopping when running. My cat is product of feral mother manx courted by small black florida
panther, he has no tail very large and heavy, pure black fur, no domestic cat tendencies. mother cat small.He is beautiful large unusual animal. rescued from woods. could he product of their mating?

BASTid (remembers hs biology.takes cats seriously)    //////, NY

3/22/2015 10:06:19 PM

Katie your degree must've come from clown college. you best be trolling.

Before I start I'll lay out the taxonomic ranks in biological classification, for reference's sake:

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
Species

Okay, first I wanna address in the article: "[o]nly members of the same species can mate with one another and produce offspring," isn't true. The examples Katie cited below me are correct. A lion (Panthera leo) and a tiger (Panthera tigris) can produce a liger. Two parent animals of /different species/ (leo and tigris) within the /same genus/ (Panthera) can produce offspring: an interspecific hybrid. Parents from different genera but who share the same family can make an intergeneric hybrid, like a cama for example, the result of a camel (genus Camelus) and llama (genus Lama) who have the family Camelidae in common.

Back to Katie... just because two animals "cannot produce viable offspring does not mean that they are unable to mate" is true, operative word being "mate". Camas happen to be produced artificially (artificial insemination) due to the difficulty a massive male camel has mating with a smaller female llama, while a male llama and a female camel haven't produced viable offspring. Pretty much any animal can try having sex with another animal, emphasis on /try/, but that doesn't necessarily mean viable offspring, or /any/ offspring will result.

"It means that their children are born sterile."
Whoa, no, not true of cats x rabbits. Hybrid sterility/fertility can get complicated, but that's beside the point here. Cats and rabbits aren't even in the same /FAMILY/ let alone the same order. Interfamilial crosses (different family, same order) are already extremely rare, and you're talking about an interordinal cross (different order, same class). That's too far up the ladder, they're too far removed. Not happening. Your rabbit may hump your cat but that's all that'll happen, they will not breed. Not artificially produced, not viable, not sterile, not any. NO babies. None!

Sorry to burst bubbles here, but any "cabbits" you think you've seen or heard about were likely Manx cats, or another bobtailed breed, or were just cats with short or missing tails, or were born with structural abnormalities/defects of the legs causing them to "hop", or were photoshops, or were lies.

Katie (biology professor)    Bowling Green, OH

12/5/2014 6:47:01 PM

Actually, they cannot produce viable offspring does not mean that they are unable to mate. It means that their children are born sterile. For instance, a horse can mate with a donkey to produce a mule. A horse and donkey are not the same species and the mule is born sterile. Another example is a lion and tiger, they are not the same species either, but they can produce a liger. A cat and rabbit can mate but it is most often done artificially (by humans), and their offspring will be born sterile.

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