The Cagetopia Hybrid Solution
The Best Bedding Solution for Guinea Pig Cages
Part Fleece ~ Part Disposable Bedding ~ Special Arrangement
Our combination of fleece and disposable bedding -- when done right -- makes the BEST solution for the easiest path to guinea pig cage cleaning and maintenance. WE CARE that you want to KEEP your guinea pigs for the entirety of their natural days. The top challenge in achieving that goal is making the cage cleaning process as painless as possible.
The NUMBER ONE REASON by a long shot that people end up needing (wanting really) to rehome their guinea pigs is the day-in, day-out, year-in, year-out level of effort required to keep these cute little poop factories in clean cages. Let's not pull any punches about this. It's a LOT of work, no matter what.
Don't let the humungous amount of cute, clean guinea pig cage photos you see everywhere on the net and social media fool you into thinking they have anything to do with the day-to-day reality of taking care of guinea pigs. Who wants to rush to get their camera to snap a pic showing you mega-piggy-beans everywhere, scattered hay, hair and dead food photos of their cage to brag about? Absolutely no one. 99% of the cage photos you see are when everything was brand new, just gleefully created, or the cage was just cleaned. We can all relate.
And you should think twice about any instructional videos about other bedding solutions or "how-to's" where they start with a clean cage or a cage that has been disassembled down to the coroplast base (no pesky grid walls in the way) before it makes sense to show you how "easy" it is to clean. Nobody wants to breakdown their cage in order to clean it. Fast, easy and inexpensive is the name of the game. Let's keep it real.
Can guinea pigs be potty-trained?
Bottomline, NO. Some are better than others. Some will be good for a while, then after about 6 months to a year, you wonder, what happened? Or a new pig is introduced and they tend to be a bad influence. :) But what you can do, is work with their natural instincts when it comes to behavior. Don't fight it, leverage it! Hence the Cagetopia Hybrid Solution.
Who wants to potty out in the open? Do you?
Of course not. Many animals don't either. It's not so much a matter of embarrassment for animals (although who knows), it's more a matter of vulnerability. And most animals would prefer not to potty right where they live and eat if given a chance. Although that's where you cannot make any assumptions about guinea pigs. They tend not to follow common sense things you take for granted with other animals. It's why doing your homework really matters with guinea pigs.
Guinea Pig Potty Behavior
- Guinea pigs will potty where they sleep.
- Guinea pigs will potty where they eat and graze.
- Guinea pigs prefer to eat and graze under cover.
- Guinea pigs, when they think about it, prefer to potty in far away corners.
- Guinea pigs prefer to potty under cover.
- Sometimes, guinea pigs barely know when they are pooping!
Eating safely is part of why they like to grab their food and drag it into their hideys (eating under cover). In doing so, they are safe from harm and have less competition for that piece of food with other guinea pigs.
We do not believe in 'breaking' animals so that they are 'more bonded to you.' We should be providing guinea pigs as natural an environment as possible to make them feel comfortable. You should always have some covered area in your cage. A simple pigloo or hidey barely suffices for that, but that's another topic.
Get the CAGETOPIA HYBRID SOLUTION
- A Covered, Substantial Kitchen Area which contains Disposable Bedding & Hay Rack
The water bottle and pellet bowl can also optionally go in the kitchen area.
- Fleece Bedding in the rest of the cage.
We have several versions of Kitchen areas:
- The Cavy Cafe
A 1x2 grid area for any C&C Cage. Fine for 2-3 guinea pigs. In a 2x3 grid cage, it takes up 1/3 of the cage. In a 2x4, it takes up 1/4, etc. Cagetopia Fleece Liners and Fleece Flippers are designed to butt up against the Cafe. You don't need to waste fleece and unnecessary laundering by having the Cafe sit on top of the fleece bedding (same for the Bistro and Grazer sizes).
- The Cavy Bistro
A 1.5x2 grid area, designed for the Medium Cage to take up the extra half-grid width so that more standard-sized the fleece bedding can be used, in particular, full Fleece Flipper panels.
- The Cavy Grazer
A 2x2 grid area (double the Cavy Cafe size) for larger cages or those wanting hay piles in the kitchen, rather than a more contained hay rack. Will accommodate 3-5 guinea pigs.
- The Corner Kitchen
A corner version (22" long on each side) to be used for special circumstances in creative cage configurations. Can be used in any cage large enough. Due to its creative shape, it will probably need to sit on top of whatever fleece bedding you are using.
- The Midwest Diner
Sized for the canvas-bottomed Midwest Cage only. It takes up a 1/3 of that cage. (NOT for a C&C cage). Please do NOT use the cage dividers that come with the Midwest cage. Use the Diner instead and leave the limited space in that cage fully open for running around.
If this is for a 2-level cage, the Kitchen Area goes in the bottom level. In a two-level cage, the floor of the upper level becomes the needed ceiling over the kitchen area.
For a single-level cage, the key to making it work, is not just the kitchen area, but you also have to cover it. Since a single-level cage doesn't have the benefit of an overhead loft for coverage, you can get our Cavy Canopy which is designed to cover it or our Fleece Awning from our sister store, the Guinea Pig Market. Or you can fashion your own cover just by draping some material or fabric over that end of the cage.
- Cavy Canopy
Covers a 1x2 grid area of a kitchen. Even if you have a larger kitchen, it doesn't all need to be covered. The Cavy Canopy is more than fine all the time.
- A SECOND LEVEL over the kitchen area becomes the cover you need -- whether a Loft or a Patio or a Midwest Mezzanine (for Midwest Cages).
- Picnic Awning (fleece)
On our separate sister site, the Guinea Pig Market, a fleece cover for the kitchen area.
Use Disposable Bedding In the KITCHEN (Cafe) Area
We get asked if we have fleece to fit in the Kitchens and we do on our sister store, the Guinea Pig Market, but if you do that, it defeats part of the purpose. But, it might be what works for you. With disposable bedding (Carefresh or paper-based bedding, aspen shavings, pine shavings, wood pellets, etc.), the poos have a chance to get dried out and mixed in with the disposable bedding. This means you don't have to do poo pickup as much. Their urine and poos will be more concentrated in this kitchen area. The disposable bedding is able to absorb more urine and poos than is possible on any fleece solution. This extends the time between cage refreshes and reduces the amount of poo-pickup and frequency of laundry for the rest of the cage. YES, you will still have to spend some money on disposable bedding, but nowhere near the amount you would have to spend filling the entire cage. The trade-off is less fleece work and laundry--which also has its costs.
EVERYONE's MILEAGE VARIES! However, generally speaking, you should expect to REFRESH your cage MIDWEEK and do a FULL cage cleaning ONCE a WEEK. Many people do a refresh every day. But every other day or every third day is typical. Again, it all depends on what system you are using, how big your cage is, how many guinea pigs you have, what you feed them, what their typical urine output is like and more. There is no one right answer.
YOU MUST KEEP YOUR GUINEA PIG DRY. That means you must clean the cage when it's needed. It's needed if your guinea pig is sitting on wetness. Your guinea pig's health depends on dry cages. It's the hardest part of owning guinea pigs and the most important. This is why we recommend the Hybrid Solution. It really is the easiest in the long run.