You go into your local pet store to buy a cage for your cavy. You see the huge wall of Cavy products. Where do you start? How big? How much do you spend? What bedding? Do you get a multilevel cage? Do you buy a wooden or plastic house?
Well first off, pet store cages are always for the most part a glorified litter boxes. Anything under 36" X 30" is to small. Here are three reasons why these cages are no good:
Exercise: This is the number one reason why these small cages are no good. Most guinea pigs that are in these small cages get little to know exercise. Like humans guinea pigs and get health related problems due to their weight. Some that I'll include are: including heart disease, diabetes, bladder infections, and respiratory problems. There are many more but I just wanted to generalize them for you.
If you have an adult male guinea pig a horrible problem with lack of space and exercise is called impaction. Impactions are mainly caused by lack of exercise. A loss of muscle tone in the anal area, causing their droppings to get 'backed up' and require periodic cleaning by their guardians. A large cage with ample room for exercise can help keep your guinea pig toned and fit, this will stop the likely hood of impactions from happening. Another great reason to house guinea pigs in C&C cages, bumblefoot. Ulcerative pododermatitis, also known as bumblefoot, is an extremely painful infection of the footpad. The footpad is swollen and may be crusted and/or bleeding. In severe cases, the cavy may be reluctant to move, depressed, and anorexic. If the bone becomes infected, the leg may need to be surgically removed. Your guinea pig if left untreated will die from this.
Here is a photo from Guinea Pig Fun of a guinea pig that was surrendered to a shelter with a horrible case of bumblefoot. He is slowly recovering with medical treatment, this photo was take after a month of treatment and as you will see it is still horrible. Warning: The image you may click on is very graphic.
Oreo is another guinea pig that Guinea Pig Fun nursed back to health from bumblefoot, again this is also very graphic but there are many photos of his recovery:
But don't think that because you have a female that your in the safe zone, because your not. Adult females tend to put on weight in their belly as they get older. It's more difficult to find and diagnose ovarian cysts and other related problems in females when they are overweight. Females can and will also get bumblefoot.
So male or female you will have problems if you have a small cage.
Stimulation: Over and Over again I hear, "my guinea pig wont stop wheeking, she does it all night and day. What can I do?" Have you ever been in your bedroom 24/7 with nothing to do and no where to go? You would get bored too. In small cages, they can't run around, they can't play with toys and if you have more then one they can't really play with each other. It would be very mind numbing and just plain boring.
Territories: If you have more then one guinea pig, which you should because they are social animals, each will pick out their own territory. If you have a small cage they may fight which could also lead to blood shed, infections and vet bills, in the worse cases death. There is a myth that males can not live together, small pet store cages is the cause of this myth.
Remember small cages = fights, illness and horrible general health. Why allow this?
What is a C&C cage?
first is a Cube grid. You can by these at many stores, examples of
stores are: Walmart, bed bath and beyond, Costco, Home Depot, Rona,
Canadian Tire, Canadian Super Store and so on. These cubes are stacking
grids that are connected by plastic connectors and are used for storage.
The reason these are great is that you can make then as big as you want
and you can also build different levels, as well as a storage area for
under the cages.
The second product is called Coroplast. You can find these at many stores that make signs. Examples are: Rona, Totem, Home Depot. You can also look up local sign making shops they usually have many in stock. The great thing about these is that A. They are plastic and make a great base for you cage. B. you can make then as big as you want. Most stores will sell them in 4' by 8' sheets.
Here is a photo of one of my C&C cages. It is a 2x4 and houses 2 males.
Midwest, who also makes the well known Ferret Nation cages, made proper guinea pig cages that are not that expensive.
Quoting from their website:
"•Leak-Proof, Easy to Attach and Remove, Washable Canvas Bottom
•Lock-in-Place Doors Double as Ramps
•Attractive Epoxy Coated Panels Provide Ample Play Area (8 Sq. Ft.)
•No Tools or Connecting Pieces Required
•Safe & Expandable, Sets Up Complete in Seconds
•Great for Indoor or Outdoor Use
•Folds Flat for Storage & Travel"
Need more then 8 sq ft? You can also add to it with another cage, doubling the amount of space that your guinea pig can have. There are some that come with tops too.
A fast online search for pricing ranges from $30 and up, but I didn't spend too much time looking for pricing. For more information check out their site at: