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Behavior Amy's Mixed Messages During Laptime


Well-known Member
Cavy Gazer
Mar 20, 2012
Amy is such an intriguing guinea pig. I'm trying desperately to figure out her mixed messages during lap time. Overall she's a very energetic, vocal piggy, and she hops up on her kitchen shelf to wheek, takes treats out of my hand, lets me pet her in her cage most of the time, although occasionally she runs and squeals like a demon.

She gives me mixed messages during lap time that I just can't figure out. I always hold her with a towel during our time together just in case she has to go potty, although so far she's never had an accident.

She'll let me pet her gently, although sometimes she purrs in a way that I think is an annoyed purr, not a content one. She does it especially if you pet her all the way down to rump, and at first I was worried she might have mites, but she has absolutely no symptoms (just normal behind-the-ear bald spots). She seems to be healthy in every other way, with no apparent pain.

She gnashes her teeth and has even yawned on a couple of occasions while on my lap, but she never tries to bite. Stranger still, she'll often lie down and stretch out, which I thought piggies only did when they were comfortable. She was so relaxed lying down yesterday night that she didn't even want to get up when I put her back, so I just put her down towel and all. Eventually she got up, but she really looked comfy.

Today she did her lie-down-and-snuggle after enjoying a couple of small carrot bits on my lap. She looked totally content, yet she gnashed her teeth and yawned out of the blue when I wasn't even petting her. No attempt to bite, though, or even to get up out of her comfy position.

There's never anything going on around us, other than a cat occasionally walking by, but she's never seemed threatened by them (she used to live with a big husky and her cage was low so she saw him a lot). Do I just have a bipolar pig? Should I slip a little lithium in her water? I don't mind any of this because she's so cute and her personality intrigues me. I'd just love to understand it a little better and make sure I'm handling her correctly.
Sometimes pigs yawn because they're tired, it's one of the great mysteries in the world. "Why do we yawn?" I think most species do it.
I know my Poppy will have a huge yawn when he is ready to settle down for a long nap. You mentioned gnashing her teeth; is she just chewing/grinding her teeth. That is one of Poppy's comfort sounds. From what your write she is a very comfortable safe piggy!
Am I missing something here? Nothing in what you've described sounds at all like a mixed message to me. Amy is very comfortable with you and enjoys lap time--it makes her sleepy because she is relaxed!

Many piggies, including mine, don't like being touched on their rumps--hence the angry purr/rumble when you do that.
So it sounds like I can hopefully ignore the gnashing and yawns...whew! I just don't want her to be miserable during lap time. Rather than lithium, I wish I could do a little cognitive therapy on her: "So, Amy, can you tell me the exact feeling that the thought 'That woman is grabbing me out of my cage and sticking me on her lap again' evokes?"

Of course, I should know that if she really were mad, she'd let know with no uncertainty. Every now and then she doesn't want to be taken back to her cage after floor time, and she nips me the whole way back. Not hard, but I can tell she is NOT pleased.

I think I'm overly paranoid with her because she's such a complete opposite of Borat. He's such a big, laid-back lump.
I have a feeling that you are a lot like we are.........we find it hard to fathom that this little furry creature has so totally worked himself into the fabric of our lives. Only other cavy owners understand and that's why there are so many of us crazies here in one place.

spy9doc, you constantly crack me up! Yes, we are all crazy for these tiny little mammals with HUGE personalities. Thank heavens that we aren't alone in our obsession...
Spy9Doc actually pegged my husband perfectly. Mr. "I Don't Like Rodents" has taken over morning salad duty (I never even asked him to...he heard them wheeking one morning when he went down to start the coffee and of course he had to feed them) and is always serving extras of their favorite veggies. They really do sneak in your heart and take over.
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