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I love my pigs, but...

kristlynngirl

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
49
I have two male guinea pigs that have been residents in my living room for nearly a year now. They're spoiled with a C&C cage with loft, piggy bedspreads, lots of tunnels and things to chew. They get fed every morning, veggies later on, and seem to eat double their weight on hay every day. They great us when we come in the door, and make me laugh so much.

But over the last few months, we have gotten very busy. We also unexpectedly acquired a kitten. This combination has resulted in very little time outside of the cage for my piggies. Their interaction with us has been feeding and petting them when we're near the cage and that's it.

The idea of them ending up split up or somewhere they aren't so spoiled completely breaks my heart...but I'm afraid we no longer have the time to give them the attention and affection they deserve. I know they have each other so they aren't really alone...but I feel like a bad piggy mom and that they could do better. My fiancé and I work constantly trying to pay off bills, afford a wedding next year, and buy a house so we get out of the rent cycle...so it's not like this lack of time is a short term thing (and I also made a previous post about concerns the kitten stresses the pig out because she is so fascinated with watching them).

I've actually been losing sleep lately over trying to make the best decision for these two pigs. I know they're loved very much, but I don't know that I'm giving them everything they deserve.

What would you all do? Keep the pigs knowing their physical and nutritional needs are met even though they don't get much lap/floor time? Or would you search for someone/a rescue that can provide them with their basic needs and more affection? I'm really upset over the entire situation.
 
If you don't see the situation changing anytime soon, such as being able to do more floor and lap time, I'd rehome them. However, a kitten shouldn't be the reason they get "moved out," the pigs were there first, and the kitten needs to be crated or watched when floor time happens. If you do end up re-homing, remember in the future that getting pigs might not be for you.
 
Pigs prefer the company of each other over human contact, as much as owners dislike to believe it, we are nothing more than luxurious food delivery people who like to give them a backrub from time to time. With good nutrition, environment, companionship & vetcare when needed, they have all their needs fufilled.

I would not rehome them, especially not as you cannot guarantee they get even better care at another home.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is no way you can "unexpectedly aquire" a kitten. You knowingly brought another animal into your home while knowing the current situation. That is not an excuse to rehome the animals you had previously. A marriage is a choice, not a necessity where money issues shouldn't affect the animals you choose to bring home & take responsibility for.

Solve the issue with the kitten so you can provide them with floortime when you can, it's not needed on a daily basis, especially not if you have a larger cage than recommended & you can remove the cat form the area for an hour or so. And make sure the cat cannot stress your pigs out. This should have been solved before getting a cat.
 
I also want to add that animals have a tendency to just get used to each other after a while. The kitten might just grow out of the interest to watch the pigs, and the pigs will learn that the cat cannot get to them & might even want to smell & look at the cat. As long as there is no noticeable distress from the pigs, I wouldn't worry.

I have an old dog, she doesn't have a particular interest in the pigs as she knows she's not allowed to even look at them the wrong way, but she does love to eat their droppings. The pigs were frightened of her at first, but now they like to walk up to the side of the cage & smell her. As well as wheeking at her whenever she walks into the room.
 
I agree with @HannibalLecter on most things, although I do think it is possible to "unexpectedly acquire" an animal. We "unexpectedly acquired" a rabbit last year when he hopped into our yard as a stray. Sometimes stray animals "choose" you to be their person, and this is how you can "unexpectedly acquire" an animal. Though, if you ask me, in these sorts of situations it's usually more that the animal acquires the human. There are other ways that an animal can come into your house where it may be somewhat a choice, but you feel like your hands are tied. Like if someone you know is going to put their animal down or take it to the pound if you don't take it in.

However, although I understand how animals can unexpectedly come into your life, your pigs were there first (before the cat), and I don't really see any good reason for rehoming them. They get a good diet, regular cage cleanings and they have each other. There's really no guarantee that whoever adopts your pigs won't end up putting them in a too-small cage and feeding them junk food. This can happen even if they're rehomed through a reputable rescue. Although their lives may be improved if you found the time to spend more time with them and give them floor time, I wouldn't say they're in any immediate danger. I also think that lap time is more for us than it is for them. Floor time is for them, but if you have a large cage (perhaps you can expand the cage?) and occasional floor time, this should be sufficient. Not ideal, but sufficient.

What would I do if getting married would leave me time and money poor, and unable to care for my animals in a way that I thought was acceptable? I wouldn't get married. As @HannibalLecter said, it is a choice to get married.
 
I wouldn't rehome them. Plenty of people have cats and guinea pigs. Keep a cover on your cage if you don't have one already and once your kitten gets older and used to them, you'll probably be able to bring them out together under supervision. It would also be very easy to move your cat into a different room for an hour or so when you bring out the guinea pigs if having them out together concerns you. I agree that guinea pigs look to each other for companionship so they are better off where they are now. It's tough on them to be rehomed and I'd only do that if it's critical which it doesn't sound like it is.
 
You've all actually made me feel better and not like such an awful mommy! I did cat proof the cage with lids made of shelving. The pigs completely ignore the cat and go about their business even when she stares at them or lays on top of their cage - they still eat and poop and wheek like crazy so maybe they aren't so bothered after all. As for floor time, they do get some whenever their cage gets cleaned. I just lock the cat in a bedroom for a while. Floor time has always been a major failure in our household anyway - they find something to hide in and park themselves there for nearly the entire duration.
 
Oh I'm so glad that you're going to keep them! And that we made you feel better. I was feeling like maybe I'd been too mean.

Is it possible to expand the cage so that lack of floor time is not so much of an issue? A large cage is, in some ways, better than floor time anyway, as they can exercise on their schedule; when they feel like it, not when some human comes and plops them in a strange place.

Can I ask how you acquired your kitten?
 
I don't have the room to expand right now, but once we do find a house it's definitely my intention.

As for the cat, she's a shelter rescue. Came from a situation where she was unfortunately born into the home of an animal hoarder. We never ever planned on getting a kitten, but my fiancé and I were killing time one day and wandered into a shelter. A few days later she was still there. And we couldn't handle the thought of her being put down. Our shelters here are sadly in a situation right now where they are overrun with animals and have the boarded even in offices and bathrooms and multiple animals together.
 
there is two of them and they keep each other busy as long as you have time to clean the cage and feed them good luck with your decision my fear is that you place them somewhere where they will not get the love that you could give them
 
That's exactly my fear too. I would be heartbroken if they ended up somewhere with a lesser quality of life.
 
I wouldn't worry about floor time if your cage is big enough. Mine don't get it here (well, Squiggy does, but then he is very easy to catch) because of two dogs and way too many nooks and crannies. And the girls and Smudge would be impossible to catch in an open room.

SO, all things considered, I think your piggies are fine and safe right where they are- with YOU.
 
I just want to say this thread makes me feel less horrible for not giving my piggies floor time. Ever since i upgraded their cage from a large store one to a 16sq ft dog pen I just dont have room for them to get much floor time out of their cage. I still hold mine every day but thats all I can do. So I'm glad to see I am not the only one who doesn't or can't take them out for floor time!
 
Thank you all for making me feel so much better. I would probably have nightmares about their living situation if I gave them up!
 
i have a dog who is so curious about my new pigs....when i have floor time i put up a baby gate so the dog stays in another room.... and its true so far most of thier floor time they spend hiding from me in a tunnel.... but maybe with time and love that will change! your doing the best you can! and the fact that you love them enough to lose sleep over it tells me there is no one better they could be with!!! :)
 
I just wanted to say that I had this exact same thing happen to us a few years ago. We had 2 piggies that we were madly in love with. Gizmo and Chum Chum ( I got a chum chum from a lady who saved him from being snake food hence the name) I made the sad choice of giving them up for adoption. It was the biggest mistake of my life! Anytime Guinea pigs have been brought up in our home since i cry. I tried to keep in contact with the lady who had taken them and because of how they set up the cage my beloved chum chum hung himself. At that moment I could no longer keep contact with her and I was no longer in the same state as her so I could not get my little gizmo back. I will NEVER again no matter what happens rehome my guinea pigs after what happen to him. I might not have had alot of time but him being alive and little time was far better than him being gone.
 
this thread also makes me feel better about lack of floor time. I'm more then equipped to give it to them, but when I do they just sit there for an hour. I hide veggies, use tunnels etc. but they have no intrest. They do have a large cage that they do laps in though. I wouldn't rehome them, it seems like they're in a good situation now.
 
thats so sad :(
 
Floor time is an epic fail at my house. My pigs just huddle under the nearest object. So I've quit even trying. But I have a huge cage, and I just try to make sure they move around in it.

As long as the kitten can't get in the cage, I wouldn't worry about her stressing the pigs. Ours will now go nose-to-nose with even visiting dogs, as long as they're not barking. The cat shouldn't bother them.
 
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