If you have always wanted a guinea pig, you probably wondering if you could get one if you have a cat. You might be concerned that the small guinea pig would be injured if they were around cats.
So, do guinea pigs and cats get along? Cats are usually friendly with guinea pigs and they can get along with some training. But, never forget that cats are predators and guinea pigs are prey animals. Some cats will immediately love the guinea pig and only play with it, while other cats will look at it as a food source.
There are many things to say about the relationship between cats and guinea pigs and also about ways to prevent incidents from happening.
Why Is the Relationship Between Cats and Guinea Pigs Based on the Cat’s Behavior?
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.
In order to prevent trouble, you need to know some tips on how to prevent this. But before anything, you need to understand their behaviors.
You have to keep in mind that in the wild nature the 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.
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 sometimes try to attack the little guinea pig while he’s in the cage.
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.
Note: 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.
Related: Guinea Pigs And Dogs: Can They Get Along?
Should You Let Your Guinea Pig and Cat Play Together?
Firstly, you need to be very careful and watch how a cat and a guinea pig 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 guinea pigs are attacked, their first reaction is to freeze and this defense can rarely work out. If the danger persists, they will try to flee and that is their only way of surviving.
Guinea pigs fighting back are extremely rare 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 then the kitten might get hurt too if it provokes the guinea pig.
What Is the Best Way to Introduce a Guinea Pig to Your Cat?
Although properly introducing your guinea pig to your cat will take some time, it will be well worth the effort. Even if you have all of your patience, there’s still a chance they won’t get along.
Thus, the following are some ways you can do when introducing them to each other:
1. Introduce Your Pets to Each Other as Babies
It’s ideal to introduce them while they’re newborns if at all feasible. They are able to get acclimated to each other and form a bond as they grow up together. When your kitten is approximately 10 weeks old, it is the optimum time to introduce it to your cavy.
Don’t worry if things don’t go as planned, and be ready to intervene if there are any symptoms of tension or anger.
2. Don’t Try to Push a Friendship
It’s better not to push a relationship amongst your pets, no matter how much you want them to get along. It may be more difficult for your guinea pig and cat to get along in the future if they’re scared out throughout their first meeting.
3. Keep Hold of Your Guinea Pigs and Cats
It’s advisable to hold your cats while introducing them, regardless of their size. If at all possible, let someone else hold one of the pets while you handle the other. This helps them to become accustomed to one another without becoming stressed. Keep these meetings brief, but do them several times every day.
4. Make Certain You’re Present to Observe
You must be present at all times to monitor. Your cat may be startled and may bite if your cavy makes a sudden activity or noise.
5. Make a Separate Play Space for Them
It’s advisable to create a shared play space for your pets after they’re comfortable near each other and you’re certain that they can socialize. Because cats and cavies are territorial, provide them with a common play space away from their homes to lessen aggressiveness and stress.
How to Keep Your Guinea Pig Safe While Having a Cat in the House? | Simple Instructions
1. Don’t Leave Them Alone
This is definitely the most important thing and should always be applied. Never leave your cats and guinea pigs alone. Cats are predators. Part of their behavior means being wily, crafty, and also very smart. They always know when to attack the prey animals, and I don’t think you need to risk a second of distraction.
2. Get a Lid for the Cage
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 guinea pigs mostly when they are in their cages. Taking this into account, 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 will be a safer solution but it is recommended that the most reliable and the best thing to do is to put a lid on the guinea pig cage.
3. Tight Bars on the 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.
4. Keep Them in Different Rooms
Keep your cat and guinea pig in different rooms as much as you can. Put the little guinea pig cage in a room where 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.
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, 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 as they can lose their trust in you.
5. Separate Areas for Their Toys
Keep their toys in completely different areas. Try not to mess up with their possessions. The smell is very important for cats and guinea pigs and their toys’ scent needs to be a familiar one.
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.
On the other hand, a friendship between cats and guinea pigs is not impossible but it is hard to achieve in most situations. You need a lot of patience and to be honest, it depends on your pets’ personalities. Best of luck!