Cage & Cavy FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Cages

You only need a cover for your cage if you need to keep kids, cats or dogs out. Guinea pigs are not climbers.

The only other time we'd recommend a cover for your cage is if you are housing two or more males in a cage that is really too small for them (the Medium and Small sizes are too small for two males). If one male is under attack from another, he could be hormonally motivated to get out at all costs.

In addition, for a similar reason, if you house males next to females, you MUST cover the cage or the area of the cage where they are ajoining or near each other. Males will attempt super-guinea pig feats to get to females.

Babies up to a few weeks old can easily get through and run through the grid holes in a C&C cage. In addition, some guinea pigs up to a few months old have thinner and pointier-shaped heads which can also lead to them getting their heads stuck in a grid hole. Please keep in mind we are referring to the standard grid sizes of 14" square with 8 by 8 inner wires, giving 9 holes by 9 holes across of just under 1.5 inch openings. Some grids on the market that people use to make their own C&C cages are the unsafe variety because while they are 14 inches across, they use fewer inner wires leaving much larger and unsafe openings. Please do use them at all.

Most importantly, with babies in C&C cages, do NOT use any grids INTERNALLY in the cage. No inner supporting grid walls, no hay racks made with grids or wires, no ramps fashioned from grids, etc.

Please pay attention to the SHAPE and SIZE of your guinea pigs' head, no matter how old. Again, if it's very thin and pointy head, consider it a baby and take appropriate precautions.

The great, vast majority of people who house babies in a C&C Cage are fine because the 6-inch walls are usually sufficient. However, you don't want to be the 'one' that has a tragic accident. There are several ways to baby-proof a cage until they've grown enough to move past the risk. BABIES GROW FAST! So, you really want a temporary solution to blocking off access.

Baby-Proofing your C&C Cage

The three approaches to Baby-Proofing are

#1) EXTEND the internal Coroplast Walls

#2) REDUCE the inner grid-hole openings

#3) BLOCK access to the grid-walls

How to:

  • Use some scrap Coroplast or even Cardboard to attach to the Coroplast wall between the wall and the grids. You can tape or binder-clip the extra pieces in place. Adding just a few inches in height will be fine. Just pay attention to what you have in the cage and make sure they can't get to the top of the wall.
  • Overlap extra grids. If you have some extra grids around, double up on the perimeter grids by overlapping them to cut the inner grid-hole opening in half or quarters. You can cable-tie them in place and remove when no longer needed. You can use a full-grid to accomplish this or you can use our half-height grids as well to cover the area just at and above the top of the Coroplast wall.
  • Use our Pig-a-Boo acrylic windows which are half-height with holes drilled in the corners. You can attach them directly to the grid walls at the top of the Coroplast wall.

We recommend 1.5 or 2 grids high, covered, with a second level of either a loft or patio. The large 2x4 grid would be the minimum recommended (2x6 preferred) and either a wide offset loft or patio. We highly recommend using edging for the coroplast walls as many rabbits tend to be chewers and the edgers protect the coroplast walls.

Also, rabbits have a much higher urine output than guinea pigs and need different bedding and pottying accommodations than guinea pigs.

Most hedgehog owners use the single level Small (2x3 grid) or Large (2x4 grid) Cage. We have the option, explicitly for heggies, for 10" walls all the way around. It's a slight upcharge since it uses more material, but it makes it much harder for hedgies to climb out.

Some hedgehogs can be little escape artists though, and might require a fully-covered cage. The only issue is if you need a covered cage AND you have one of those big wheels (more than 14" high). You'll just need to measure the height of your wheel, since the large Carolina Storm wheel is over 17" and would bypass the height of the grids. If so, you might want to raise the height of the cage, and we have plenty of specialty grid options to do just that if necessary. If your wheel is more than 14" high, just let us know and we can tell you how to work around it.

Most hedgie parents don't request a second level. We don't offer the 10" high walls on the lofts or patios. From what we understand hedgehogs have poor eyesight and depth perception, so second levels aren't generally used. But you know your hedgehog best, so that's up to you.

We do offer lofts and patios for our cages. But patios may not be good choice due to the 10" walls needed on the lower level. That would block the area where you need to sit the patio support bars on. So the loft would be a better choice. Choosing a Deluxe Covered Cage with a Loft should be a safe option if you desire the additional space provided by an upper level.

Rats, hamsters, gerbils and such? No. The grid holes are too big for them. They will easily escape.

Definitely NOT. We do NOT recommend housing guinea pigs outdoors AT ALL. Pet guinea pigs should be kept indoors.

Guinea pigs are not prey to cats. Unless you have a feral cat situation, you don't need to worry too much about cats and guinea pigs. You'll want to cover the cage to keep the cat out, typically because the cat wants to hang out in the cage or play with the guinea pigs, get into the hideys and maybe eat some hay. Cats are usually just curious about guinea pigs and tend to avoid them generally. You'll want to introduce your cat(s) to the guinea pigs to make sure they know the pigs are part of the family. Commons sense stuff. You know your animals and you should err on the side of caution and safety.

Most dogs are the same way, but definitely not all dogs. Some dogs will consider the guinea pigs prey. Some dogs have a strong blood-lust for anything that moves. With dogs, you'll want to make sure you have a top for your cage, especially if it's on the floor. If you have tiny dog and the cage is up on a table, there isn't much point to a cover.

Make sure you take our advice on assembling the cages and use a cable-tie just above the bottom connectors of the cage and just below the top connectors of a cage. This strongly reinforces the construction and stability of the cage which will protect against all but the strongest of large, bloodlust dogs on a rage.

We do not recommend keeping guinea pigs in a school classroom environment. At a minimum, a school classroom cage should have our optional 12 inch-high back wall to help with drafts and a cover that is secured. Contact us for more information.

Coroplast

Coroplast® is the trademark name for a popular manufacturer of this plastic substrate which resembles cardboard. In fact, it’s identical to cardboard, only it’s made from plastic, not paper.

It is used primarily in outdoor signage because it stands up so well to harsh elements. It is lightweight and can be cut with a sharp blade, such as a razor blade or box cutter or sharp scissors. It is waterproof and food-safe. It is also reusable and recyclable. These characteristics make a superb candidate for guinea pig cages!

It is known around the world by various names: Corr-x, Plasticor, Hi Cor, Correx, Corriflute, Corflute, Coroflute, Cadflute, Fluteboard, Polionda (Portuguese), Twinplast, Kanalplast (Swedish), Corlite and numerous others.

To be particular, it is a polypropylene copolymer. It is most commonly found in 4 foot by 8 foot sheets (in the US). The version (and most common) that we use is 4mm thick (less than 1/4 inch). It can come in a variety of colors, although not many specialty plastic stores carry a large selection of colors.

You CANNOT find it online in a size large enough to make a cage that can be shipped to you. As we created C&C cages in the first place, we know very well the challenges of shipping Coroplast. All online plastics vendors of Coroplast sell smaller pieces that will fit in the boxes that the standard carriers will accept. Smaller pieces have to be cut perfectly and taped together to work for a cage. A standard 2x4 grid-sized cage requires a single piece of Coroplast of 39 x 68 inches. We have mastered the art of cutting, scoring and folding Coroplast for shipping with our cage kits.

The natural polymer is chemically inert and is generally considered non-toxic and safe for use in contact with food. To date, in the 20+ years that Coroplast has been used as a guinea pig cage material, there have been no reports of guinea pig illnesses or injuries attributed to Coroplast, even if they chew the edges.

Coroplast is used in hundreds of thousands of guinea pig, rabbit and small pet cages. It is recommended world-wide by rescues, vets, pet experts and animal welfarists.

As the name implies, it looks similarly to cardboard (corrugated paper) except it's made of plastic (corrugated plastic). But, it is definitely not cardboard! A full 4x8 foot sheet only weighs about 4 pounds. It is great for outdoor signs because it's weatherproof, stiff, resilient, and resistant to UV and chemicals. These characteristics make it great for guinea pig cages, too.

With proper care, a Coroplast cage base can last a life-time. You shouldn't really have to ever replace it. It will easily outlast the lifetime of your guinea pigs.

Coroplast has been in use for 20+ years now in hundreds of thousands of guinea pig, rabbit and small pet cages. It is recommended worldwide by rescues, vets, pet experts and animal welfarists, including the HSUS and ASPCA.

Our edgers are designed to prevent guinea pigs from chewing on the edge of the plastic. They go over the top 1/2" of Coroplast.

If want additional protection, you can also use our half-height, Pig-a-Boo windows. These are designed to prevent chewing on the grids, but you can also attach the windows at their top corners and hang them over the coroplast edge as well.

Chewing the cage edges or the grid bars is typically a sign of either boredom, or wanting attention or needing something to chew. It's best to try to make sure that your cage is big enough and provides a variety of items and structure for enrichment for them, along with large and ample quantities of grass hay, usually Timothy Hay is best. That can go a long way towards stopping chewing behavior.