If you are a pet lover like me who loves to keep all sorts of pets, then you might be wondering the same things I did. Can I get a guinea pig if I already have a cat? Do guinea pigs get along with cats?
Guinea pigs and cats can get along with some careful planning. The stereotype of cats and guinea pigs is that while one is a predator, the other is a prey animal. However, with some training and supervision, you can have both of them as pets without any hassle. However, being cautious is always recommended!
While some cats get along with the guinea pigs quite well, others look them as a food source only.
All in all, they have a predator instinct in them; that’s why being cautious is really crucial if you plan to keep them together. Guinea pigs can get frightened quite easily.
If you already own a cat and after you decide to get a new guinea pig, then it can be a little stressful for them to adjust to the environment.
Even if your cat is calm and friendly and does nothing besides sitting around your guinea pig’s cage and watching them curiously, it still can be a lot stressful for your guinea pig’s than you can ever imagine.
Can guinea pigs and cats live together?
It would be best if you never housed a guinea pig with a cat. The cat might get scared from your guinea pig at the beginning as it is unsure if they are a threat or not, but with time they will understand the same and may look your piggies as a food source.
So, just because your piggies or cats didn’t have an unfortunate incident when you first introduced them, it doesn’t mean something wrong can’t happen.
However, some people have managed to get them along in a shared play space where both guinea pigs and cats can be seen playing alone.
Does that mean you should also try something like that?
Probably not right away. But with some precautions and learning, you can manage to get them along in a common play area. Of course, under your supervision only. However, housing them together can be pretty risky. So be aware of that!
To understand how you can get your guinea pig’s along with your cats, you need to first understand your cat’s temperament and behavior. So, let us begin by having a look at a cat’s personality in general.
Understanding Cat’s temperament
“‘ The ‘Feline Five’: An exploration of personality in pet cats (Felis catus)” suggests that the basic nature of a domestic pet cat can be characterized by five major factors being:
These are the five major factors that combined form the basic nature of the cat. Now, this can be further broken down, as shown in the picture below:
The living environment of the cat and how it is being raised shall determine what traits it will develop over time.
It is believed if the cat is raised well, right from a young age, then they can develop some excellent characteristics like Affectionateness, Friendliness, Gentleness, & Smart.
While a wild cat might have high scores on negative traits like Dominance, Recklessness & Anxiousness.
So, what we can conclude is, it is important that you get a cat of an early age and raise it alongside other family members and your pets so that it can develop a sense of friendliness with all.
It can be difficult to introduce an old cat with your other pets like guinea pigs as compared to the ones raised together from an early age.
Thus, there is a possibility that a pet cat can get along with your guinea pigs however, the wild ones still remain a vulnerability for them.
Will my cat hurt my guinea pig?
If your cats are raised with your guinea pigs and have a friendly behavior with them, there is a slim possibility that they will hurt them.
However, cats do have an impulsive nature, and if your guinea pigs run or start popcorning or something like that, then out of natural instinct, your cat might hold your guinea pigs tightly with its paws, which can hurt your guinea pigs badly.
On the other hand, if you have brought a new cat and the guinea pigs and cats are not appropriately introduced yet, then the cat might get aggressive and end up scratching and hurting the guinea pig.
So, make sure you introduce the pets well before leaving them in one place, and even after that, you are present for invigilating them when they are playing together.
Introducing the cat & guinea pigs
Introducing the cats and guinea pigs with each other is a critical aspect you can never neglect. It is a critical aspect as this is the moment of truth that shall decide if they can get along with each other or not. If you don’t do it correctly you might never be able to keep them together or even let them play in a common space. So, make sure you follow all the steps we discuss down the line so that your guinea pigs and cats get along quite well.
Introduction at an early age
Some owners want to keep both guinea pigs and cats with them, and for such owners, the best decision to make is getting both cat and guinea pigs together and raising them together from an early age.
Research proves that the best age to socialize a cat(kitten) is during its first few weeks. The period of 2-14 weeks is when cats are more likely to socialize with their environment and other things.
If you can get your cat and guinea pigs socialize during that phase, the chances to successfully keeping them together goes up to a great extent.
The same thing applies to guinea pigs as well. Your guinea pigs are more likely to socialize and feel safe around the cat which they have been raised with.
However, if you do that later with an old cat, then chances are your guinea pigs will get stressed, out of fear and will likely never be able to socialize with your cats.
Setting up a common play area
It is a good idea to have a shared play area in your house where you plan to leave both your guinea pigs and cats for floor time.
This can be your drawing room, your living room, or even your bedroom. Make sure that the place is different from where you house your pets typically.
That shall ensure that neither your guinea pigs nor your cats feel that others are invading their living territory.
Cats can get territorial, even more than dogs. So arranging a shared play area is the best thing you can do to make sure that the process ahead is smooth.
You can also go ahead and add some hiding space in the room for your guinea pigs. Guinea pig’s only defense from predators is running away and hiding and having a hiding space makes them feel secure and comfortable.
You can place some hiding space towards you so that your guinea pigs can take shelter if they feel stressed and nervous. Also, if anything goes wrong, you will be able to protect your guinea pigs from the cat.
Brief introduction at the play area
Now that you have set the ground for the introduction, you can begin by keeping your cat in a kennel and bringing in your guinea pigs to roam around them.
Doing so will ensure that both can get along with each other’s smell and presence. Guinea pigs being prey animals feel secure as well when the cat is behind the door.
Next, you can keep your guinea pig in a small secured cage and let your cat free in the area.
Doing so will help you understand your cat’s personality, their reaction towards your guinea pigs, etc.
If you feel like the cat is going to scratch or hurt your piggies, make sure you separate them immediately.
Also note: the initial interaction shall be concise, lasting only a few minutes. You can repeat the process for a few days, gradually increasing the time frame. Please do not leave them alone at any moment as our pet’s security is our topmost priority.
Letting them free under your supervision
Once you are fully satisfied and convinced that your pets have got along repeating the above process for a few weeks, then you can finally introduce your pets together freely.
Make sure your guinea pigs have a hiding space if they feel like escaping. It would be best if you are very attentive and focused on how your cats and guinea pigs are behaving.
If you find any unusual behavior, separate them and try again later. If everything goes right, you can let them play around for a while under your supervision
Please note: Never let both your cats and guinea pigs away from your eyesight and attention during this phase. If anything goes haywire, you might get into trouble.
So, make sure nothing is diverting your attention. Also, remember cats are opportunists; they may look for an opportunity to strike if they have anything like that in mind.
Just because nothing went wrong on the first day doesn’t mean you can get casual on the second day.
Keep active monitoring at least for a few months until you feel assured. Even then, never leave your pets alone on their own.
Housing them separately when you are not around
Housing your cats and guinea pigs separately are the wisest move you can make. Make sure your cats don’t have access to the area your guinea pigs are kept.
This is the best way to ensure you don’t return home to find your pet hurt or blood spilled around your house.
Never even leave your guinea pigs and cat together when you are away from your home.
The best move shall be keeping your guinea pigs in a room where your cats can’t even access the room, let alone the cage.
How do you keep cats away from guinea pigs? (Keeping your piggies safe around other pets)
Safety of your pets is the topmost priority, and in the current scenario, guinea pigs might fall as a victim, so making sure they are safe is extremely important.
Here are a few tips you can follow to make sure your guinea pigs are safe if you decide to have other pets in your home.
Keeping your guinea pigs and cats separate
Housing your guinea pigs and your cats in different parts of your home are extremely important to ensure the safety of your guinea pigs.
Even if your guinea pigs and cats are familiar with each other, there can be a particular situation when things can go wrong.
So, ensuring the safety of your pets should be your top priority. There are a few things to keep in mind while housing your guinea pigs.
- Make sure your guinea pig cage is placed in an active place where there is someone passing by or doing their work. They should not feel like they are being left alone or something.
- Make sure the room has a constant temperature as guinea pigs don’t do well in mercury fluctuations.
I would suggest you learn more about housing your guinea pigs, whether or not should you keep them in your bedroom and more from our guides.
Getting a secured and sturdy cage for your guinea pigs
If you decide to house your guinea pig with other animals, you must ensure they have a strong and sturdy cage.
The cage must be fully covered and secured from all sides so that no other animals, including cats, can reach your guinea pigs and harm them.
Most pet stores don’t sell such cages, and they will tell you that the regular pen shall do fine, but I would strongly recommend to avoid their advice and get a sturdy and secure cage.
Living world cage is an excellent choice if you just own a pair of guinea pigs; however, if you decide to go with more than you might need to get a custom C&C cage with top to keep your piggies safe.
Providing hiding spaces
Hiding spaces are an essential aspect of a guinea pig’s cage. Guinea pigs are prey animals, and they do need some suitable hiding spaces to feel safe and secured.
Providing your guinea pigs with a lot of hiding spaces can ensure they stay away from the cats even if the cats manage to sneak into your guinea pig’s room.
Yes, the sturdy cage will hold onto its own, but guinea pigs do need a secure environment, or they can get terrified pretty quickly.
Making sure to lock the cage before leaving
Keeping your guinea pigs safe from cats can be as simple as securing the doors of the cage properly.
Yes, if even by mistake you leave the cage door open and your cat finds a way to sneak into your guinea pig’s cage, then the situation might get critical.
Always make sure all sides of your guinea pigs cage are appropriately closed, and you have rechecked everything before leaving your home.
Conclusion: Cats and Guinea pigs
So, can you own a guinea pig and cat together? Is it possible to make it work out somehow? Yes, you can own a cat and guinea pigs together, and the fact is if you plan things right, you might even get them along.
However, you must be aware that every animal carries its own personality, just like humans. Two cats’ nature can be different altogether, and the same goes for guinea pigs as well.
Be cautious and follow the steps we discussed earlier, and hope things might go well for you. If it doesn’t, then remember, No two living beings are the same.
There is a possibility that your guinea pigs might not get along with cats, and that’s completely fine. You can still own them if you follow our safety instructions.