When you think of a guinea pig cage, what’s the image that immediately comes to mind? Of course, it’s that tiny little factory-manufactured rodent cage that we always see in pet stores.

We’ve been sellers of large, comfortable and healthy C&C guinea pig cages for several years. We deal with these non-traditional cages on a daily basis – and yet – when you mention the words “guinea pig cage” the image of the small, cramped pet store rodent cage is still the first to come to our minds.
We’ve been conditioned. Since we’ve been small, we’ve seen guinea pigs housed in these small cages. We saw them at friends’ houses, at relative’s houses and in stores. And, if we were lucky enough to have a pet guinea pig as children, this was probably the cage that our parents bought for us.

And there are plenty of good features about these cages. They’re small so it’s easy to find a place for them – perhaps in a child’s bedroom, in a dorm room or even in an apartment. They’re reasonably easy to clean because, once again, they’re small and the bottom is usually made out of a single-piece of smooth injection-molded plastic. Also, these cages are very portable – so they’re easy to carry around from room-to-room or within a room.

So, when shopping, these cages can look attractive because of all the good features that they have. But, if you examine these “good features” more closely, you will see that these are good features for the owner – but not necessarily for the guinea pig.

Yes, it’s easy to find a place for these cages – and this is a distinct advantage for the owner. The small size gives the owner more options for placement in the home. This is an advantage for the guinea pig if and only if the owner places the guinea pig in a high traffic area like a family room so that the pig will be exposed to stimulating activity and hopefully, attention from the family. It is a distinct disadvantage for the pet if the small size allows it to be placed in a child’s bedroom where it will spend most of the time isolated and away from family activities. And the small size makes an unhealthy environment for the pig to live in.

The fact that it’s easy to clean is an advantage for both parties. If it’s easier to clean, chances are the guinea pig will enjoy a cleaner and more-healthy environment.

The standard little pet store rodent cage is obviously easy to move. This is an advantage to the owner only if they move it on a regular basis – and most don’t. The clear disadvantage for the pig is, once again, the small size.

If we adopted this same attitude toward our children, we would begin housing them in cages – because cages offer us many advantages. It makes our children easy to control. We always know where they are and we know they’re safe. It makes it easy to keep the house clean. The kids’ messes are mostly confined to their cages. And it makes it easy to keep our kids safe. If they’re in the cage, they can’t be exposed to car accidents, drugs, alcohol or strangers, etc. unless we allow it.

But we don’t do this. We consider the welfare of our kids and willingly accept the extra aggravation to give them the extra needed space and freedom that they need to develop and grow. As so it must be with our pets. Sure, there’s some additional work and aggravation involved in finding a space that’s a little larger in order to put our pets in a more healthy and spacious cage. Sure, it’s a little more work and expense to keep a larger cage clean than a smaller one. But don’t our pets deserve it?

Our attitudes as a society have evolved over the past several decades since the first guinea pig rodent cage was designed. For most of us, pets are no longer possessions – they are family members. They are no longer simply “stored somewhere” like other possessions. Today, most of us house them safely and respectfully in comfortable, healthy environments. Today’s pet owners are much better at remembering this: It’s not just about me.

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