You can keep pet cats and guinea pigs at the same time, but it’s a big responsibility! It’s important that the two never interact. Cat-proof your cage by adding a lid and a mesh covering if needed, and keep the guinea pigs in a room the cat can’t enter.
In this article, we’ll discuss nine tips and tricks for keeping your cats away from your guinea pigs so everyone can stay safe.
#1: Don’t Compromise on Size
The minimum amount of space for two guinea pigs is 7.5 square feet–but most people agree that 10.5 square feet or larger is best, especially for males.
Please don’t buy a small hutch or pet store cage as, while these are often cat-proof, they’re not suitable for guinea pigs and won’t give them the space they need to exercise properly.
#2: Provide Adequate Ventilation
You’ll also want to ensure that the cage has enough ventilation for your guinea pigs. They produce a lot of ammonia because they’re constantly pooping and peeing. Ammonia build-up in the cage can lead to bad smells and, most importantly, can cause deadly upper respiratory infections or pneumonia in guinea pigs.
Poor air circulation can also be a cause of heatstroke in piggies. Ideally, their cages shouldn’t have solid sides–a C&C cage is a perfect example of what to look for.
#3: Make a Lid From C&C Grids
Plenty of people with cats or other animals make lids for their C&C cages using spare grids. This is an easy and cheap way to keep your piggies safe.
Be sure to zip-tie your C&C grids together so that the lid and cage hold up to your cat’s antics. We recommend using at least two zip ties each time you attach two grids together (one on each end).
#4: Buy a Lid for Your Midwest Guinea Pig Cage
The Midwest is well-known as one of the only cages sold in pet stores that meets the minimum size requirements for guinea pigs. If you already have one or are thinking about switching, they do sell lids to perfectly fit the cage as well.
#5: Cover the Sides of the Cage with Mesh
If your cat is interested enough in the guinea pigs to reach through the bars or grids with their paws, covering the sides with mesh is a great solution. It maintains proper ventilation while not leaving large openings for sneaky kitty paws!
There are a variety of options out there, including window screening and hardware cloth. Hardware cloth will be the sturdier option for especially stubborn felines.
#6: Purchase Locks for Cage Doors
Locking the cage doors can keep smart kitties from breaking in. This also helps if you have children at home and are worried about them opening the cage without your knowledge.
#7: Keep Your Guinea Pigs’ Cage Off the Floor
Putting your guinea pigs’ cage on a table can help keep them from the cats, especially if the cage covers the entire table. Most cats do like to climb, but this prevents them from being able to sit right beside the cage and cause mischief. (They’ll still be able to climb on top if they really want, though, so make sure it’s secure!)
#8: Keep the Guinea Pigs in a Closed Room
Your guinea pigs should be kept in a room that can be closed off to your cat when you cannot supervise them. Even with the above precautions, you can’t be too careful. Keeping predator and prey animals in the same household can be very dangerous, and it’s our responsibility to keep them safe!
#9: Never Allow Cats and Guinea Pigs to Interact
Cats and guinea pigs do not belong together. Not in the cage, not during floor time, and not while you’re cuddling them in your lap.
While some cats have low prey drives and don’t seem interested in hurting guinea pigs, even an accident or a playful swipe can cause great damage. Cats’ mouths and claws are full of bacteria that can cause deadly infections, even from just a small scratch.
We also need to remember that cats are predators by nature. There have been many cases where they seem fine with piggies or other prey animals, only to one day attack.
Guinea Pig Floor Time with Cats
So, how do you give your guinea pigs floor time when you have cats? There are two options here: close the cat in another room, such as a bedroom. Or, do the same for the guinea pigs.
By keeping a closed door between the two, you can rest assured your piggies are safe. Even if you get distracted by something else, need to use the bathroom, or are otherwise preoccupied!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © StineMah/Shutterstock.com
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