Amazing Support from Great Annual Savings

We’ve been absolutely blown away by the support and generosity of the team at Great Annual Savings.

Not only have their staff been using their volunteer days (paid by the company) to come and spend time with our animals, but they’ve also raised a whopping £30,000 for local charities – including £7,000 for Animal Krackers alone.

You can read all about it here:

We can’t thank these guys enough. Their support is amazing and it means we can continue to do what we do for the animals.




Cats, Cats and More Cats!!

Cats, the musical, is showing at the Sunderland Empire Theatre and the theatre has been kind enough to offer to let us fundraise. We’ll be there before/after any of the performances next week to help us tell people about our wonderful cats, dogs and rabbits so if anyone can come along to shake a collection tin we’d be so grateful.

Most importantly, we’re hoping that some of the lucky people going to see Cats might be willing to offer a forever home to one of our animals. Please message us if you can help!

buddies for bunnies

Our Guide to Bunny Bonding!

As it’s Rabbit Awareness Week this week, one of our lovely vets at Vets 4 Pets has put together this helpful guide for Bunny Bonding.

You can also download a copy here


Bonding Rabbits – A Mini Guide

Remember not all rabbits get along, bonding can be a lengthy process and patience is needed. Adult supervision is essential at all times. Fighting must be prevented because injuries can be so severe they can prove fatal. Some pairings will not work due to incompatibilities in these cases a new bonding should be attempted until a suitable partner is found. 3-5% of bonding attempts will be love at first sight. 3-5% will never bond. Others can take from 2 days to 2 months and occasionally longer.


Re-homing centers make bonding easier because they will swap/offer new rabbits until an appropriate match is found due to the number of rabbits they are re-homing. They also can offer advice due to their experience on regularly bonding rabbits for re-homing.

Rabbits have instinctive social behaviors and a pecking order needs to be established between two rabbits. Therefore some grouching, chasing and humping can be seen. This is not usually aggressive. If any aggressive behavior is observed the rabbits must be immediately separated.

Bonding can only work in neutered rabbits. Bonding is unlikely to work with two females neutered or otherwise. Two males can be attempted, they take longer but they must be neutered. The ideal pairing is a male neutered and female neutered pair. Neutering pet rabbits allows them to live calmer, longer, healthier lives. Rabbit hormones can cause aggression towards humans and other animals. Neutering stops the production of powerful reproductive hormones, which allows for calmer less complicated lives and of course prevents breeding.


Visual contact method

This method can take time but generally produces good results but if the pairing is unsuitable it can be time consuming. Rabbits are housed separately side by side within visual contact. Two medium sized dog crates are ideal for this purpose. Both rabbits should have an area in which they can hide. Intermittently the rabbits should be swapped cages to allow each rabbit to get used to the others scent. This can make a huge difference to the speed of bonding. You can also swap toys intermittently. If your rabbit has free run of the house you will need to have your crates in an area that is neutral and swap access so both rabbits take a turn in all areas.


The two rabbits are placed together in completely neutral territory where neither have previously been. A large room is best however a large playpen/run may also be used. Small spaces are not suitable. A new space avoids the need for the rabbit to defend an established territory. Strange territories often stimulate rabbits to seek reassurance from one another. During this time supervision is critical as rabbits can be unpredictable and aggressive. Wear protective gloves (leather or gardening style gloves) in case you need to stop any fighting.

Always provide lovely and various food stuffs in the run to encourage the rabbits to eat together, as this is an essential part of the bonding process.

Animals can be held together and petted after a few dates. If heads are lowered in a request for grooming but both rabbits are too stubborn to initiate you can give them both a stroke to help initiate the behavior.

Some people have had success having both rabbits on a harness and leash bonding them visually and slowly building up to some contact however this can alter natural body language between the rabbits and may not be successful due to this.

Ideally the first date should be no longer than 15 minutes. Don’t date if you are going to skimp on the supervision, better to miss a date than have a bad encounter. Visits are continued in neutral territory and can be progressively made longer, ideally with twice daily dates from the start and with time building on the length of time and frequency of the dates. Never leave rabbits alone unsupervised until they are fully bonded.

WARNING rapid tail chasing, tail raised and ears back means an attack is coming. Immediately separate with a broom or thickly gloved hands, as attacks can cause serious injury to both the humans and the rabbits. No further dating for 2 weeks. Maintain swapping and visual contact (housing). If allowed to escalate it can affect any future pairing as rabbits rarely tolerate bad experiences. Any fighting behaviors have a 2-week break. Try a new larger space when you restart dating.

Speed Dating Method

This method is quicker but supervision and vigilance are needed to assess when problems are occurring and parting rabbits quickly if needed. Rabbits have less time to adjust to the sight and smell of their proposed partner.

Rabbits are introduced without a prolonged period of visual contact. The rest of the dating process is exactly the same. If the rabbits appear unstressed and are not showing aggression, the process can be repeated on numerous occasions for longer periods until bonding is achieved. Always provide lovely and various foodstuffs, eating together is an essential part of bonding.

Stress bonding

Many behaviour texts advocate putting rabbits into stressful situations, such as in a cage together whilst on a car journey, in a cage on top of a running washing machine, in a bath with slippery sides. This technique are based upon rabbits being placed in very stressful situations and taking comfort in each other’s presence. It is an attempt to take shortcuts and is not recommended. Gentle methods are humane and don’t compromise the animals welfare.

Behaviour during bonding

  • Often rabbits completely ignore each other this is encouraging because some rabbits begin fighting immediately
  • Mirroring is often seen; rabbits copy the behavior/posture of the other; this is usually a very positive sign
  • Males will often chase females like they do in the wild however chasing can be by the male or female. This is not usually stressful and is part of establishing the pecking order
  • They will often run circles around one another in a roundup type of behavior
  • TIGHT RUNNING CIRCLES & TAIL CHASING must be stopped immediately it can lead to full blown conflict and also the other rabbit will recall the bad experience during the next bonding session. EARS BACK & RAPID TAIL FLICKING is a warning sign of pending aggression, again separation required
  • The dominant rabbit in the partnership undertakes mounting behaviour. This is often seen by either sex. If the submissive bunny (one being mounted) is becoming agitated you can break the mount with a loud clap. Only part them if you think a fight is about to happen. After the bond is established mounting behavior will often continue by both rabbits and can also signal affection later into the relationship
  • Nipping after a mount is normal behaviour and occasionally a tiny amount of fur is pulled off. It can also happen if one of the rabbits is guarding a particular area or resource. This is fine if the other rabbit is ok with it. If things are getting heated a loud clap can be enough to diffuse the situation
  • Grooming is a very positive sign that bonding is working. Mutual grooming is the single most important sign of a bonded pair
  • Bunny flops, throwing themselves down on their sides, binkies and tail flicks are all positive signs (tail flicking is flirting not to be confused with the aggressive signs)
  • Turning their bottoms directly to the other and thumping is a direct cry for attention

Moving in together

Ideally clean the new house out completely and do during the day. Don’t ever put one rabbit into the others housing area. Use temporary housing whilst getting one area ready if needed.

Barks Buns

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

We always say that without the support and generosity of the public, we could do what we do. And we’ve had some wonderful donations in the last couple of weeks.

Firstly, thank you to anyone who took part in or donated to our bag pack at Sainsburys in Silksworth.

Also, big thanks to Nationwide Building Society for their amazing donation.

And last, but certainly by no means least, thank you to the lovely people at Barks & Bunnies for making us their very grateful recipient of the funds from the sales of their fantastic dog & rabbit subscription gift boxes.IMG_1362


Get Packing!!

As part of our involvement with Sainsburys Silksworth as their Local Charity, we’re going to be doing another bag pack in December.

On the Friday 11th, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th December, we’ll be in store packing bags and raising money and we’re looking for as many volunteers as possible to get involved.

If you can spare on hour or two on any of those days, please contact Susan Hardy on 07957 677 672 and she can give you more details.

Thank you!

ZooPlus post

ZooPlus Charity Partnership

Exciting News!!

The lovely people at ZooPlus have awarded Animal Krackers Charity Partnership status for November. This means that we will receive 10% of the value of all items bought from their ZooLove range and registered shoppers can also donate their reward points to us.

Donating is easy, with no need for extra payments. Just save up the reward points that you receive with each and every purchase at (£1 = 1 Point), then log in to myzooplus and add the points you would like to donate to your shopping basket. You can donate between 10 and 250 loyalty points, with all donations making a massive difference to the lives of animals in need. Please note, you can only collect loyalty points if you are a registered customer. Points can only be donated when a purchase is made.

You can also support Animal Krackers by buying any product from the exclusive “zoolove by zooplus” range. For each product sold, 10% of the sale price will go directly to Animal Krackers, to be spent wherever it is needed most. Find out more here.

So if you need any goodies for your own pets, why not visit the Zooplus site, and you’ll be helping out our rescue animals at the same time!!

Albie feature

Albie’s Story

Here’s a lovely little story from someone who rehomed a rescue cat from Animal Krackers 2 years ago. Rescue animals may not always be the easiest option, but they can bring the biggest rewards!

“Albie is one of my closest friends. Brought into a rescue centre in Sunderland two years ago on Christmas Eve at 3 o’clock whilst at that very same moment, I was at the vets in Durham saying goodbye to my beautiful Archie cat (that’s him in my fb banner pic). Bronia spotted Albie on the rescue centre’s website and we went and got him a couple of days after New Year’s Eve despite being gutted about the loss of Archie. They reckoned he was about 18 months and was a full Tom cat until he was abandoned and the centre had him neutered. They knew he was owned by a couple who split up and just left him in the flat to fend for himself until the landlord found him. He was called Tinkerbell for some reason despite being a massive Thomas?

He’s spent the last 22 months getting used to his new home really. Right from the start he followed me everywhere, to the toilet, to the kitchen, into the garden, up the stairs, down the stairs, into the attic, he even runs after our car when we go to work! And he’s always there when we drive up our street, waiting for us, in fact he sleeps in next doors coal bunker most days until he hears the car, when he will appear covered in coal dust and ready for dinner.

Despite all that he never really let either of us touch him, he’d just duck out the way whenever we tried, he hated being on the bed which is really weird for a cat (he did, despite being neutered, dry hump all the cushions and sometimes my leg tho which was slightly disturbing but also quite cute). We have been working on getting him to trust us more and last night he spent his first night on the bed sleeping in a tight ball tucked up against me, pushing into my hand whenever he woke up. We have been able to stroke him and love him up a bit for the last month or so and have found an air gun pellet under the skin of his back leg which is something that must have happened to him sometime before he was abandoned.

So the crux of the story is that Albie would just like to say that when you take an animal from a centre they may not be the cute fluffer that you had quite hoped for right from the start. Just because you were kind enough to go get em and shove a few cans of food on a plate for them doesn’t mean they will act all grateful straight away. They need love and understanding and a massive amount of patience because like most of us, they probably carry a little baggage emotionally. I remember the man at the centre saying he wished folks would persists a little longer when they took cats, bringing a pussy cat back just because he or she didn’t ‘take to the kids straight away’ or ‘just hid under the bed for a week’ is a poor show.

From my point of view Albie has been a challenge but a really rewarding one. We always got kittens before him because I wasn’t sure you could have the same bond with a rescue cat, well Albie has proved to me that you absolutely can.”

Jonny Swift