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Thread: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

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    Question Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    Hello all! I am currently deciding if a guinea pig is the right pet for me, and have found a very sweet guinea pig at a local rescue I'd like to adopt. I previously had chinchillas and as much as I loved them, I do not want a pet like them again. I just want to make sure that guinea pigs don't have the same qualities that gave me trouble with my chinchillas. Would love some feedback from current owners!

    Here are the qualities I had trouble with:

    1. Biting/chewing - I totally get that all rodents have to chew, but every time I let my chinchillas out to play they would chew on EVERYTHING, no matter how many chew toys I put out for them they would basically destroy my bathroom - chew on the counters, the pipes, the rug and even the toilet. Do guinea pigs chew this much too?

    2. The only room I could take my chins out was in the bathroom because they hated being held and ran around like crazy. If I tried letting them out in my apartment they would chew on everything and I'd never catch them again. I really want a pet that WANTS to spend time with me, instead of forcing it. Will guinea pigs be a bit friendlier, and want to cuddle and interact? Will they come back to me easier without me having to force them? Or just sit with me on the couch (also without ruining the couch)?

    3. Whenever I took my chins out they would poop about every 5 seconds. After I put them back I would ALWAYS have to vacuum because there was just poop everywhere. Do guinea pigs have the same problem when taken out of the cage? I know one or two accidents will happen with every pet, but do they go constantly/all over the place?

    I've been researching piggies for a few weeks, and I have seen some answers for most of these questions, but I'd really like some answers from current guinea pig owners, and your personal experiences.

    Thank you so much for the help!!

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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    Hi, Jarofmar, welcome to the forum. And congratulations on your investigation about the suitability of guinea pigs as a pet for you before you got the pig!

    Chewing -- yes, guinea pigs chew, but not nearly as much as chins, and usually on the things in their cage. Allowed to run around on the floor unsupervised, they'll eventually get around to the wires, and some may chew furniture corners. But chewing is not generally a major problem with them.

    GPs may or may not cuddle with you -- depends on the pig. Some are real snuggle bugs, others are convinced that you're an eagle coming to swoop them away, and will avoid you at all costs, unless you've got food in your hand. But even though they take the food, they may not let you catch them. There's no way to know which pig will do which, unless you get an older one and someone can vouch for its cuddleability. Most can be trained to be more friendly (bribed with treats, usually), but a few will remain skittish for most of their lives.

    Yes, they poop. Maybe not constantly, but often. Mine are nearly two years old, and it's been rare for me not to have to clean up after them if they've been out of the cage for any reason whatsoever.

    I love guinea pigs, and wouldn't trade my two for anything. They're cute, funny, and I get endless hours of amusement out of watching them in their cage. They tolerate handling after a small chase to catch them, and have never bitten me or anyone else (except once by accident when I held a bit of tomato too long), but don't really enjoy it. But honestly, if I really wanted something that I was sure would love to be held and cuddled, I'd either get an older pig that's been proven to like cuddling, or I'd pick something else.

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    Cavy Slave longlostcurls's Avatar
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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    Glad to see you are considering a guinea pig. They are great animals and by what you say, nothing like chinchillas.

    So on point 1 - guinea pigs do chew but mostly just wood. They may try to chew the leg of the couch if left to their own devices and sometimes they may go for electric cords. That is why it is recommended that when you put them out for floor time they are in a room that does not have cords on the floor. A bathroom is a good place for them or just put them inside a barrier.

    Point 2 - Most guinea pigs have no problem being held but its best not to hold them for too long as they will get a bit squirmy and may naw at your fingers. It's best to sit down with them on your lap or place them next to you and pet them instead of actually holding them. Some guinea pigs get very attached to their owners and remember their name and come to you when called. I have yet to achieve this. But they dont run away from me when I go to pick them up.

    Point 3 - Guinea pigs do poop but not a whole lot. Sometimes I have my piggies on the floor for about half an hour and about 20 minutes into their floor time they would use the bathroom and not again for a while. Its not a constant flow. They dont poop like chinchillas - which you say poop every five seconds. When I hold my piggie on my lap for a long time she will start to nibble on my finger and that is her way of saying she has to go. Once I put her back in her cage she lets it out.

    I hope this helps. Guinea pigs are great animals to keep. You just need to make sure that you are willing to give them attention everyday, give them all the food they need and plenty of space.

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    Cavy Slave SweetiePig's Avatar
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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    Quote Originally Posted by jarofmar View Post
    Hello all! I am currently deciding if a guinea pig is the right pet for me, and have found a very sweet guinea pig at a local rescue I'd like to adopt. I previously had chinchillas and as much as I loved them, I do not want a pet like them again. I just want to make sure that guinea pigs don't have the same qualities that gave me trouble with my chinchillas. Would love some feedback from current owners!
    Hi! Welcome to the forum! Im sure if you stick around long enough, you will be hooked. Guinea pigs are extremely addicting and the more you learn and see the more you want one! I can say I relate to you very much as I also had chinchillas before. I had 2 of them. I really liked them, they were cute and very entertaining. But, I didnt like how they acted. They did chew on EVERYTHING, literally and they also never wanted me to hold them. They always tried to get away and struggled and if they did get away from me, I would never catch them! They were just not the cuddly type of pets that I wanted to have. They just wernt the right kind of pets for me. I can say, I do not have them anymore. I rehomed them to someone who was experienced with chinchillas. So what Im getting at is, I personally, know what your going threw. So hopefully I can help.

    Quote Originally Posted by jarofmar View Post
    1. Biting/chewing - I totally get that all rodents have to chew, but every time I let my chinchillas out to play they would chew on EVERYTHING, no matter how many chew toys I put out for them they would basically destroy my bathroom - chew on the counters, the pipes, the rug and even the toilet. Do guinea pigs chew this much too?
    Some guinea pigs chew, but if they do its only a tiny bit. Usually its on toys but thats about it, if they chew at all. I have 4 guinea pigs and NONE of them chew. They dont even attempt it and I let them run and play all over. I love that they dont chew, makes having them out for play time fun!

    Quote Originally Posted by jarofmar View Post
    2. The only room I could take my chins out was in the bathroom because they hated being held and ran around like crazy. If I tried letting them out in my apartment they would chew on everything and I'd never catch them again. I really want a pet that WANTS to spend time with me, instead of forcing it. Will guinea pigs be a bit friendlier, and want to cuddle and interact? Will they come back to me easier without me having to force them? Or just sit with me on the couch (also without ruining the couch)?
    Oh man, I had such a hard time with my chinchillas with this. I couldnt get them to EVER sit still for 2 seconds! They would always try and run away as fast as possible. There was NO way I could sit with them. But I do have to say Guinea pigs make the best couch potatoes! They love to sit with you on your lap and just be cuddled. They dont try to run away and they even like to have a 'chat' with you too. I lay on the bed with mine and watch TV all the time, they just relax and cuddle up with me the whole time.

    Quote Originally Posted by jarofmar View Post
    3. Whenever I took my chins out they would poop about every 5 seconds. After I put them back I would ALWAYS have to vacuum because there was just poop everywhere. Do guinea pigs have the same problem when taken out of the cage? I know one or two accidents will happen with every pet, but do they go constantly/all over the place?
    Guinea pigs do NOT poop as much as chinchillas. I hated that about them. I would have to vacume up my whole bathroom after having out my chinchillas, it sucked. But with Guinea pigs, I can have mine out for a few hours and they might poop 2 or 3 times at the most. Somtimes they dont poop at all while being out. Makes having them out to bond with much better!

    Quote Originally Posted by jarofmar View Post
    I've been researching piggies for a few weeks, and I have seen some answers for most of these questions, but I'd really like some answers from current guinea pig owners, and your personal experiences.
    I love my guinea pigs dearly, they are like my kids. I spoil them and love doing it! They make me happy. Chinchillas are NOTHING like guinea pigs so If your worried about that, dont be. Guinea pigs make amazing pets and Im sure you will lern that quicky being on this forum. All us members here cant say enough good things about our little piggys!!!!

    Keep us updated on your decision about becoming a piggy owner! Hope to see you around the forum, and make sure if you have any other questions to ask them

  5. "Thank you, SweetiePig, for this useful post," say these 2 members:

    CavySpirit (09-08-11), jarofmar (09-08-11)

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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    First off, thank you everyone for all of your advice and help!

    SweetiePig - thank you especially since you've been in the same situation I am. I had 2 chinchillas and ended up having to rehome them as well, and it made me very very sad to do. It's really great knowing that you can compare the two pets. How is the time commitment for Guinea pigs compared to Chinchillas? Once again, I felt like I'd have to sit in the bathroom with them for an hour while they played and barely interacted with me, and I'd have to yell at them the entire time for biting.

    Do you know of any other similarities/differences between piggies and chins that I might be forgetting/might be important? How is the cage cleanup compared to chinchillas?

    I loved my chinchillas but they stressed me out so much that it ended up not even being worth it, and I really hate rehoming pets so I don't want to have that issue again. Honestly I'm in between cats and guinea pigs right now - though you made me feel much better about piggies!

    Everyone else - do you have similar experiences as SweetiePig with your piggies being couch potatoes?

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    Cavy Slave SweetiePig's Avatar
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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    Quote Originally Posted by jarofmar View Post
    SweetiePig - thank you especially since you've been in the same situation I am. I had 2 chinchillas and ended up having to rehome them as well, and it made me very very sad to do. It's really great knowing that you can compare the two pets. How is the time commitment for Guinea pigs compared to Chinchillas? Once again, I felt like I'd have to sit in the bathroom with them for an hour while they played and barely interacted with me, and I'd have to yell at them the entire time for biting.
    Your very welcome!! I hated having to rehome my chinchillas too but they did the same to me. I was so stressed with them that I couldnt even enjoy having them as pets. My chinchillas were very time consuming and expensive as far as dust baths, special diet, special treats (rose hips,apple wood,ect). They always needed time out of the cage which I did but like you said, I would sit for an hour or two with them in my bathroom and they wouldnt even interact with me and the second I made any movement, they would run and hide behind the toilet. I did not enjoy our 'play time' and they didnt enjoy me. So thats another reason chinchillas just wernt the right pet for me. They were way too much upkeep and I got nothing in return.

    Quote Originally Posted by jarofmar View Post
    Do you know of any other similarities/differences between piggies and chins that I might be forgetting/might be important? How is the cage cleanup compared to chinchillas?
    Similarities
    The only thing I can think of is smell. My chinchillas did not smell and neither do my guinea pigs and I have 4 guinea pigs compared to 2 chinchillas. Im using aspen bedding right now until my fleece cage liners come in so I can go about 3 weeks without changing their bedding and it still doesnt smell, I only change it cause it needs to be, not because it stinks. I know some members have said stuff about there guinea pigs smelling btu it depends on the guinea pigs and how often its cage is cleaned. Thats really the only thing I can think of that is alike. Chinchillas and guinea pigs are just so different in every way!

    Differences
    My chinchillas never shed unless they slipped fur. My guinea pigs on the other hand do shed, not horribly but they do. Then again, I have 3 really long curly haired pigs and 1 short rough/curly haired pig also, and to me, my long haired ones shed a little more. Or it could be I dont noticed my short haired one shedding? Either way, its not a big deal. Something else would be the clean up. Chinchillas seam to poop TONS and TONS, I would wake up to the entire cage filled with little poops, when guinea pigs really dont poop that much. To give you an idea, a chinchillas poop for an entire 24 hours would equal about 1 week worth of guinea pig poop. Something else would be personality. Chinchillas dont really seam to have much of a personality. Guinea pigs have big personalities and each one is different! You can tell when they are happy, mad, hungry, sleepy, ect. They just act certain ways. You can tell if a piggy is gunna be shy or if its going to be outgoing. They are just so much fun! And one thing I really like thats different about guinea pigs than chinchillas is that they interact with you! They talk to you and let you know how they are feeling! Chinchillas make noises but usually only when they have to and its to one another, not to us humans. Guinea pigs want us, as there parents, to hear them and react on it. For example, in the morning when I walk downstairs to my living room (where I keep them) They will start all running around 'wheeking' at me to get them breakfast. They will 'wheek' at me the whole time Im making them breakfast and then thank me when I give it to them. They have certain types of 'wheeking' for certain things and you can learn what means what, just as I am doing with my piggys. Since Chinchillas also chew so much, you have to be VERY careful what you put in their cage. You can have so much fun decorating and filling guinea pig cages since they dont chew, you can put so many different things int here cage for them to sleep in, hide under and play with! Its so much fun! And one other thing, chinchillas used their toys for chewing, guinea pigs actually use there toys for playing! They love to pick up and toss toys, roll toys, chew toys, nuzzle toys, ect. They have so much fun with the toys and just love playing with them rather than just going chew crazy on them.

    Quote Originally Posted by jarofmar View Post
    I loved my chinchillas but they stressed me out so much that it ended up not even being worth it, and I really hate rehoming pets so I don't want to have that issue again. Honestly I'm in between cats and guinea pigs right now - though you made me feel much better about piggies!
    I have a cat too. And if I had to choose, I would pick my guinea pigs over my cat any day! Sorry kitty but its the true. Im just not much of a cat person but even if I was, a cat is not as much fun, interesting, playful, loving, funny, and cute as piggys!!!

    Hope all this helps, if you ahve any toher questions, feel free to ask

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner ellisa's Avatar
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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    We have a chinchilla and a guinea pig and haven't had any problems with our chin other than the fact that she hates other chinchillas. I understand why other people do have problems with chins though. Chins do poop alot but my guinea pig also poops quite a bit too. Guinea pigs have way more grooming needs with nail clipping, brushing hair, cleaning bums, ears, and eyes, etc., and the occasional bath. They also need to have their Vit. C requirements met each and every day, as well as hay all the time. Our chin goes through less hay than our gp. You will end up spending more on food for a gp than a chin. Also, our chinchilla has never had any medical issues, while our gp has had many so you should have a vet fund set up if you do decide to get a pig or any animal for that matter. I can't really think of any other differences right now! Our chin is very speedy but she is still quite affectionate other than her occasion bouts of lady hormones! Our guinea pig is very loving and friendly and loves to have lap time! Now that he's getting older he just wants to cuddle all the time!! In my opinion, gps are more social and interactive but they are also more work than chinchillas. That's just how mine are, but everyone's pets are different! Good luck with whatever you decide!
    Edit: I just wanted to add that while we spend more on the gp for food, we spend alot on chin toys! We give her new chews every night and every morning they are gone! So, we spend quite a bit on toys for her, while my gp hates chew toys and doesn't chew on anything other than hay!!
    I disagree that chins don't have personalities! Both my gp and chin have HUGE personalities. Our chin also wants our attention alot and runs to the side of the cage to greet us all the time! That may just be her personality, though, compared to other chins!
    Last edited by ellisa; 09-08-11 at 11:01 am.

  9. "Thank you, ellisa, for this useful post," says:

    jarofmar (09-08-11)

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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    Quote Originally Posted by SweetiePig View Post
    Your very welcome!! I hated having to rehome my chinchillas too but they did the same to me. I was so stressed with them that I couldnt even enjoy having them as pets. My chinchillas were very time consuming and expensive as far as dust baths, special diet, special treats (rose hips,apple wood,ect). They always needed time out of the cage which I did but like you said, I would sit for an hour or two with them in my bathroom and they wouldnt even interact with me and the second I made any movement, they would run and hide behind the toilet. I did not enjoy our 'play time' and they didnt enjoy me. So thats another reason chinchillas just wernt the right pet for me. They were way too much upkeep and I got nothing in return.

    That's exactly how I felt with my chins!! I spent hours with them every night and other than looking at them and seeing how cute they were I felt like i was getting nothing back. Do you give your guineas play time like you gave your chins?

    Similarities
    The only thing I can think of is smell. My chinchillas did not smell and neither do my guinea pigs and I have 4 guinea pigs compared to 2 chinchillas. Im using aspen bedding right now until my fleece cage liners come in so I can go about 3 weeks without changing their bedding and it still doesnt smell, I only change it cause it needs to be, not because it stinks. I know some members have said stuff about there guinea pigs smelling btu it depends on the guinea pigs and how often its cage is cleaned. Thats really the only thing I can think of that is alike. Chinchillas and guinea pigs are just so different in every way!


    I definitely cleaned my chins cage once a week, because it would become a mess. Do you spot clean for your piggies? Also do they throw a lot of stuff out of their cage? I know with my chins somehow their little poops and bedding was all over my house.

    Differences
    My chinchillas never shed unless they slipped fur. My guinea pigs on the other hand do shed, not horribly but they do. Then again, I have 3 really long curly haired pigs and 1 short rough/curly haired pig also, and to me, my long haired ones shed a little more. Or it could be I dont noticed my short haired one shedding? Either way, its not a big deal. Something else would be the clean up. Chinchillas seam to poop TONS and TONS, I would wake up to the entire cage filled with little poops, when guinea pigs really dont poop that much. To give you an idea, a chinchillas poop for an entire 24 hours would equal about 1 week worth of guinea pig poop. Something else would be personality. Chinchillas dont really seam to have much of a personality. Guinea pigs have big personalities and each one is different! You can tell when they are happy, mad, hungry, sleepy, ect. They just act certain ways. You can tell if a piggy is gunna be shy or if its going to be outgoing. They are just so much fun! And one thing I really like thats different about guinea pigs than chinchillas is that they interact with you! They talk to you and let you know how they are feeling! Chinchillas make noises but usually only when they have to and its to one another, not to us humans. Guinea pigs want us, as there parents, to hear them and react on it. For example, in the morning when I walk downstairs to my living room (where I keep them) They will start all running around 'wheeking' at me to get them breakfast. They will 'wheek' at me the whole time Im making them breakfast and then thank me when I give it to them. They have certain types of 'wheeking' for certain things and you can learn what means what, just as I am doing with my piggys. Since Chinchillas also chew so much, you have to be VERY careful what you put in their cage. You can have so much fun decorating and filling guinea pig cages since they dont chew, you can put so many different things int here cage for them to sleep in, hide under and play with! Its so much fun! And one other thing, chinchillas used their toys for chewing, guinea pigs actually use there toys for playing! They love to pick up and toss toys, roll toys, chew toys, nuzzle toys, ect. They have so much fun with the toys and just love playing with them rather than just going chew crazy on them.

    That sounds so cute about the toys! Agreed about chins chewing on their toys. Are your piggies litter trained?

    I have a cat too. And if I had to choose, I would pick my guinea pigs over my cat any day! Sorry kitty but its the true. Im just not much of a cat person but even if I was, a cat is not as much fun, interesting, playful, loving, funny, and cute as piggys!!!

    Yeah, I've never been much of a cat person myself but I have dogs at home with my parents (couldn't come with me ) and I've missed them so much I thought a cat would be the next best thing. After having the chinchillas I felt really worried about having any more caged pets because I thought it would be exactly the same experience.
    Hope all this helps, if you ahve any toher questions, feel free to ask
    Thank you!!

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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    Quote Originally Posted by ellisa View Post
    We have a chinchilla and a guinea pig and haven't had any problems with our chin other than the fact that she hates other chinchillas. I understand why other people do have problems with chins though. Chins do poop alot but my guinea pig also poops quite a bit too.

    Do your piggies poop as much out of the cage as your chins do?


    Guinea pigs have way more grooming needs with nail clipping, brushing hair, cleaning bums, ears, and eyes, etc., and the occasional bath. They also need to have their Vit. C requirements met each and every day, as well as hay all the time. Our chin goes through less hay than our gp. You will end up spending more on food for a gp than a chin. Also, our chinchilla has never had any medical issues, while our gp has had many so you should have a vet fund set up if you do decide to get a pig or any animal for that matter.

    How much more do you spend on food for your piggie, and what kind of medical problems did they have? What were your vet bills averaging? These are all great things to know - thank you!


    I can't really think of any other differences right now! Our chin is very speedy but she is still quite affectionate other than her occasion bouts of lady hormones! Our guinea pig is very loving and friendly and loves to have lap time! Now that he's getting older he just wants to cuddle all the time!! In my opinion, gps are more social and interactive but they are also more work than chinchillas. That's just how mine are, but everyone's pets are different! Good luck with whatever you decide!

    Edit: I just wanted to add that while we spend more on the gp for food, we spend alot on chin toys! We give her new chews every night and every morning they are gone! So, we spend quite a bit on toys for her, while my gp hates chew toys and doesn't chew on anything other than hay!!
    I disagree that chins don't have personalities! Both my gp and chin have HUGE personalities. Our chin also wants our attention alot and runs to the side of the cage to greet us all the time! That may just be her personality, though, compared to other chins!
    Thank you for all your help! And you seem to have gotten very lucky with your chin

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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    If your choice is between a guinea pig and a cat, I will add my two cents. I have four guinea pigs and one cat. I love them all dearly, but the guinea pigs are much, much more work. The care of my guinea pigs is constant, as there are things I must do for them that I don't have to do for the cat. For instance, guinea pigs must have fresh hay and fresh vegetables each day, and pellets. I give them hay at least three times a day and vegetables at least twice, plus snacks in between. The cat gets her food once a day and has three litter boxes. If we are to go away, I have to have someone come in once a day to tend the guinea pigs. I don't have anyone who can do it twice a day, so they only get hay and vegetables once per day and I feel guilty about it. The cage needs tending, but I hesitate to ask anyone to clean it daily. That just seems a lot to ask. So, the care for them is stressful if I cannot do it myself.

    The cat (who disappears when strangers come in) does not need any attention, and could go three days with food, water and the litter boxes. My guinea pigs prefer not to be held. The cat loves attention (Maine Coon cat) and follows me around and loves to sleep with me and curl up with me on the couch. My guinea pigs do chew and have cut the phone line when they escaped to an area of floortime (they are genius' at escaping their fence). They have chewed my woodwork and the legs of an antique rocking horse. They do poop a lot, in my opinion. More than chins, I do not know.

    That said, I do love to watch the guinea pigs and am fascinated by their behavior. But, they are very instinctual animals and I don't feel the affection I get from the cat. They welcome me with wheeks when they think I have food. The cat welcomes me as she is truly happy to see me, food or no food.

    Vet care can be (in my case) much costlier for the guinea pigs than for the cat. The cost and search for fresh vegetables is constant. I am in Vermont, so grow what I can in our short growing season. If produce goes up due to storms, etc. it can be very costly to feed the guinea pigs. The cat's food is expensive, but she eats a high quality bagged food and the cost is minimal compared to the $30 per week I spend on produce for the pigs (when I cannot grow my own). Bedding needs to be changed often and I have the washer going each day for some kind of bedding, cage (fleece and towels) or floortime towels and mats. I don't mind this, but again, it is totally up to me to make sure it all gets done and can be stressful if I have other things going on.

    I am not trying to discourage you, just giving you an honest opinion of my life with the five ladies, pigs and cat ! As I said, I love my guinea pigs and treat them like royalty, but I see many people here who get burned out and rehome, or keep the pigs for life, but do not get more when the last is gone. I've had cats for my entire life, always getting another when one passes from old age, but when my guinea pigs are gone, I will very likely not adopt more.

  13. "Thank you, Duffinvt, for this useful post," says:

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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    Thank you for the comparison Duffinvt, I will definitely be taking this into consideration.

    What are your vet bills for your cat compared to the piggies?
    Do you have a lot of issues with cat hair around your house?
    What would you say about the smell of the cat vs the piggies?

    Your post was extremely informative, and gave me something to think about.

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    Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator Duffinvt's Avatar
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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    I really did not mean to be negative, just factual. We have had a catastrophe here (Irene) and what had been easy before, is now difficult. Even getting to the grocery store was impossible for days. Roads washed away and houses lost. We, personally, have been spared heartache and loss, but others have not. Getting out of some areas with your pets, has been very hard. Finding decent temporary housing is tough as it is, add a household of pets and it can be impossible. It has added to my worry about taking proper care of my animals in a catastrophic event as this really has never happened to our state before.

    I (luckily) have not had major health issues with the pigs, but others here have paid hundreds or even thousands of dollars for sick pigs. Exotic vets tend to charge a lot, rightly so I guess. For instance, I considered adopting a baby guinea pig. It turned out to be male so I investigated the cost of neutering as I had two adult sows already. I was amazed it cost much, much more than for a male cat. $150 or so, compared to $80 for a male cat !! I did not adopt as I thought he'd be better off in another home (which was waiting) where he'd not have to be neutered. Eventually I found two baby females to add to my adult females. Each animal can and does have health issues, but it seems guinea pigs can be quite delicate in health matters and the vet bills can easily be overwhelming if your pig gets sick.

    Yes, our long haired cat can shed lots. We brush her each day and on weekends use a rubber brush type thing and vacuum. She loves it, but it is a two person job! If we do not brush her, she gets hairballs. We trim her butt, too, so she stays clean back there.

    Both litter box and guinea pig cage can smell. I scoop the litter box out each day. I pick up poops in the guinea pig cage a few times a day and I am compulsive about keeping the fleece and towels clean. So, with four pigs I change the entire 2 x 5 cage twice a week. I let the pigs out for floortime most days for 4-8 hours. They have towels and fleece in their play area so that adds to it all. I love the fleece and cannot imagine the cost if I used aspen or other purchased bedding. I don't like to smell dirty cages or litter box so I keep ahead of the smells. Again, I feel badly if I am away and these things don't get done each day. Others may be a bit less rigid about these things and probably enjoy their pets more as they are not always compulsively cleaning up !

    I might be a bit over-the-top in the guinea pig dept. I find myself so busy with the food prep and cage cleaning that I really don't always have time to enjoy them! Only one of the pigs likes to be held so I do try to pet her and give her laptime. I hold the others, so they'll get used to it, but I don't find they welcome the attention, just tolerate it. The cat, on the other hand, will seek me out and want to interact with me. Maine Coon Cats are very bright and she does tricks and has an intelligence comparable to a two year old human child, playing games and learning words and such. Even seeming to have a sense of humor at times. Like I said, I love all five and appreciate the subleties of each species, but my cat is like a child to me. My guinea pigs are true pets. If that makes sense !

    I might also mention, to see what each animal is like, you might consider fostering. Both guinea pig rescues and small animal rescues need fosters. It could give you an idea of the time involved in caring for each species. Of course you might fall in love with the animal and decide to keep it, too! You could also offer to "sit" for owners on vacation to see what the care is like.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    Vet bills will vary depending upon what ails your guinea pig. I've had some guinea pigs that have been very healthy and rarely ever required vet care their entire lives. I've had others that required extensive vet visits. One had osteodystrophy where her bones starting fusing together and I had a male with a bladder stone. The vet costs ran in the hundreds of dollars for each of them. I wouldn't adopt if I wasn't prepared to be able to cover unexpected vet costs. Guinea pigs don't need to be vaccinated.

    Smell varies, too. I'm fanatical about clean cages so I use fleece and launder it frequently. I rarely ever go beyond 3 days and usually wash it every second day. If the hay gets wet, you get that barn smell so I keep my hay in a corner litter box that they eat out of.

    I think rats have a very strong smell. I don't think guinea pigs smell anything like that. I had a dog and cat growing up. Cleaning the cat's litter box used to make me gag. Guinea pigs don't eat meat so their droppings are nothing like dog or cat poop. I find that caring for my six guinea pigs is a lot easier than caring for the one cat I had. It's probably because I have a routine I follow so I don't even have to really think about the feeding and cage cleaning. I just do it.

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    Cavy Slave SweetiePig's Avatar
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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    - I do get my guinea pigs out like I did my chins. I spend a couple of hours a day playing with them, hand feeding them veggies and cuddling them. They love coming out to play and run around. Its so much fun too, I really enjoy our bonding time together.

    - My chins made a mess like crazy! I'd have to vacuum my whole house every day, sometimes twice a day to keep the poops off the floor, it sucked. With my piggys though, they dont really make a mess. Depends on the type of bedding you use. If you use fleece then there shouldnt be a mess. I am using aspen wood shavings right now until the fleece liners I ordered come in and they sometimes kick it out if they get hyper and start doing laps around the cage but I can go a few days with no mess at all. I vacuum like every few days just to get up some pieces here and there but other than that, they dont kick stuff out that much. I cant wait for my fleece though!!!!

    - They are so cute with their toys! Mine LOVE bells!! I always hear the bells ringing and I know they are playing
    My pigs are not litter box trained, no. I wish, but they arnt. Its not a big deal though.

    - Im just not a cat person so of course I would pick my piggys over my cat but thats just me.

    Im just giving you my personal experience with both chinchillas and guinea pigs. Im not trying to make you get a guinea pig or anything like that, Im just saying form what Iv been threw that guinea pigs in my opinion make some of the best pets you can have! I just wasnt happy with my chinchillas, others can say differently though. Its really up to you. Its your choice. Keep us updated

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    Cavy Slave Shinypig7's Avatar
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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    Guinea Pigs are indeed a TON of work, but I think it's all worth it! I have 2 male piggies and I love them dearly.
    Males tend to smell more than females so I have to clean up a little more often in their cage.

    Yes piggies chew! But they don't chew everything. I haven't had any issues with chewing. Just supervise them to make sure they won't chew any wires when they are out of their cage. My pigs actually don't like chewing on wood so I give them Timothy hay cubes and sometimes plain cardboard.

    Vet bills depend not only on what is wrong with them, but also where you are. My vet bills are only $25 (for both pigs) for a regular check-up and $50 all together if one needs medicine, but some people in other areas pay $100 or more for a regular check-up! My suggestion is to call up your local vet and ask if they have an Exotics vet (which is what guinea pigs need) and ask what a regular check-up would cost for a guinea pig. You can also ask them how much it would be for a cat, then figure out the difference from there.

    If you are looking for a cuddling pig then I suggest you find one that has a background of being that way. Some guinea pigs love being held and others don't. I have both. One likes to be held and rest under my chin, while the other would rather sit next to me than be on my lap. But both like being petted.
    Mind you, if you do get a guinea pig, your new pet will need a while to get adjusted to its new home and may need a little more coaxing than a cat (though it depends on the cat too).
    The more time you try to spend with your guinea pig, the better!

    It is a ton of work with the cage cleaning and food prep...especially the cage cleaning. Though the cleaning, for me, is big work because I use towels as bedding which require loads upon loads of laundry. Uhaul pads are supposed to be great and won't require cage cleaning for like 5 weeks or more (and you can order them online for about $8 [in U.S.])

  19. #16
    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Deciding if I should get a piggie..need help!

    I use fleece and uhaul pads in my 2 x 6 cage (with a neutered male and two females in it) and still clean it every 2 to 3 days. The uhaul pads are recycled cotton denim and are absorbent... but they're absorbing urine which will smell like ammonia if it gets wet and sits there for awhile. My guinea pigs are in my dining room on the main level in my house. I don't want any odor in there so I wash the bedding frequently.

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