I have always wanted a guinea pig, but I couldn’t get one because I had a cat. I was afraid that the little guinea pig might get hurt, but I started doing my research and eventually, I found out how to get a cat and a guinea pig to get along.
So, the question is: Do guinea pigs and cats get along? The answer is kind of complicated: yes and no. I know most of the readers want a black or white answer, but I can’t give you that as there is no such answer. It practically depends on the cat. Cats are usually friendly with guinea pigs, but never forget that cats are predators and guinea pigs are prey animals.
There are many things to say about the relationship between cats and guinea pigs and also about ways to prevent incidents from happening. So, if you want more specific information on this topic, you should keep reading.
Why the relationship between these two pets is based on the cat’s behaviour?
You may believe it or not, but cats are actually down to having guinea pigs as friends. Even if this is true, you cannot completely trust your predator pet to be gentle with your prey one. In order to prevent having trouble, you need to know some tips, but before anything, you need to understand their behaviours.
Firstly, you have to keep in mind that in the wild nature, cats are predators and guinea pigs are prey animals. As friendly as you want your cat to be, you should be aware that instincts can never completely go away. In a second of not paying attention to their interaction, your guinea pig could get hurt.
In the beginning, when they first meet, there is a huge chance that the cat will be the one that will get scared. They will probably be scared unless the guinea pig is in the cage. They will probably attack the little guinea pig while he’s in the cage. The cage is a limited space in which the cat may feel safe to attack. Otherwise, if the guinea pig is outside the cage, the cat is most likely to be scared of them.
Another thing to keep in mind is that even if the cat might be scared at first, it will get used to the guinea pig eventually. So, don’t get your hopes high if you see that they are not fighting in the first days or weeks of friendship. Cats can be really smart and wait for the perfect timing to attack.
Another point of view
The things I have already said are kind of a general opinion. Although, there are some people who think that cats are the friendly pets and that the little guinea pigs are the trouble-makers in this relationship. It might seem a reasonable point of view, but I strongly disagree as I did not find any evidence to sustain this opinion. This little paragraph might seem pointless, but I didn’t want to talk about the general opinion, ignoring this one. I just don’t have enough information to write more about this side too.
Should you let your guinea pig and cat play together?
Well, firstly, you need to be very careful and watch how they behave when you introduce them to each other.
When you introduce them, you need to protect the guinea pig while slowly introducing the cat to the guinea pig. The guinea pig is the sacred animal in this situation, and you need to assure him that they are not in danger.
Furthermore, you need to watch the cat’s reactions as they might be a little violent. If the cat is scratching or trying to bite the little pig, separate them and try to create some boundaries for both of them to slowly make them bond.
Cats are smart pets, and they can fool you very easily. Sometimes they might seem very friendly and one time they might become very dangerous.
Guinea pigs’ defending mechanism
When they are attacked, their first reaction is to freeze facing the danger, and it can rarely work out. If the danger persists, they will try to flee, and that is their only way of surviving. They fight back extremely rarely but fighting back for them means chewing or biting their opponent. So, they practically cannot defend themselves if the predator is big enough, but if the predator is a kitten, the kitten might get hurt too if it provokes the guinea pig.
How to keep your guinea pig safe while having a cat in the house?
- Rule number 1 is definitely the most important and should always be applied: never leave your cats and guinea pigs alone. Cats are predators, and part of their behaviour means being wily, crafty and also very smart. They always know when to attack the prey animals, and I don’t think you would risk a second of distraction.
- This is an obvious one, but it has its advantages and disadvantages. You can get a lid for your guinea pig cage. As I have already mentioned, cats feel safe to attack them mostly when they are in their cages. Taking into account this reason, you should have a lid on the cage.
The top of the cage would be no problem to them, but it can be a problem for you. Having no lid on the cage might make cleaning more accessible for you.
Do not forget that your cat is capable of hurting your guinea pig without intending to do it. You can do whatever you think it will be a safer solution but I can guarantee that the most reliable and the best thing to do is to put a lid on the guinea pig cage.
- It is recommended to have the bars of the cage as close as they can be. This way, the cat cannot stick its paws through the bars to attack the little guinea pig. This is a very easy and safe way of preventing your cute pets from fighting.
- Keep your cat and guinea pig in different rooms as much as you can. Put the little guinea pig cage in a room that your cat is not allowed. Primary instincts never really go away so having a predator and a little prey animal in the same room might not end very well. Keeping them as far as possible from each other is a safety measure to prevent any type of incident between your pets.
- Keep their toys in completely different areas. Try not to mess up with their possessions. Smell is very important for both of these two pets, and their toys’ scent needs to be a familiar one.
- On the same principle, have special areas for guinea pigs that cats are not allowed. When your little piggy is out of its cage, it needs to feel safe. Guinea pigs are very alert animals (it is in their nature), and they will always be careful around themselves. Keep in mind that if they sense any kind of danger, this might be damaging for your relationship with the guinea pig; they can lose their trust in you.
To sum everything up for you, it is not impossible to have a cat and a guinea pig at the same time. There are some things you certainly need to know. The most important of them is that cats are predators and guinea pigs are prey animals. I cannot stress enough about how bad things can get if you let them alone in the room or if you leave the guinea pig unprotected.
It’s better to hear the same piece of advice a hundred times and then apply it than to have a bad incident and regretting that you didn’t think the advice was important.
On the other hand, a friendship between these two pets is not impossible, but it is hard to achieve in the most situations. You need a lot of patience and to be honest, it depends on your pets’ “personalities” if I may say.