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Why Cages Should
be in a Child's Bedroom

This is one of the criteria that we at Cavy Spirit are firm on when placing guinea pigs in a new home with children.

bulletIf they are in child’s bedroom, then the pet is the child’s pet and not the family pet. Cavy Spirit will not adopt out to children, only families.

bulletIf guinea pigs get sick, they go downhill incredibly fast. It takes an adult to monitor and recognize subtle changes in behavior and health, and then be able to act quickly, if necessary.

bulletGuinea pigs require more maintenance and attention than dogs or cats. If the guinea pig is in the child’s bedroom, it is very easy for one busy, late, distracted or upset child to forget to feed, fill a water bottle, or clean the cage of a guinea pig. It is just not possible over the course of 5 plus years for any parent to check on the child’s guinea pig in the bedroom every morning and every evening.

Guinea pigs require fresh food from the refrigerator at least once a day, preferably twice a day. Guinea pigs should have fresh water every day. Guinea pigs need a constant supply of timothy hay and pellets. Guinea pigs need their cage refreshed twice a week and thoroughly cleaned once a week. This is usually more care and attention than a child of almost any age can maintain, day in day out, year in year out.

bulletA child’s idea of "clean" is, in general, very different from an adult’s idea of clean.

bulletIf the guinea pig is part of the family (and not "the rodent in the cage in the child’s bedroom"), then the family is more likely to provide proper veterinary care as needed.
bulletWhen there are other pets in the family, especially dogs, and a change of circumstance occurs, such as a move, MANY families will make the effort to move the dog, but frequently look to rehome the poor guinea pigs. It is vitally important for the guinea pigs to be an important part of the family and incorporated into the life of the family. Keeping a cage in the bedroom frequently relegates the guinea pig to a lesser status in the household.

bulletDespite what you think right now, no matter how much the child wants the animal, no matter how long he/she has been bugging you about it, odds are, as the child grows and matures, his or her interests are going to change. It is the nature of being a child. There are exceptions, but they are few and far between. UNLESS, the pet has been part of the family all along, the animal will end up with substandard care and attention, or given to someone else (another child who wants a guinea pig), or surrendered. That is exactly how and why so many animals are surrendered, abandoned, or die prematurely. That is why rescues, such as Cavy Spirit, have to exist in the first place.
bulletChildren have been known to develop allergies to the guinea pigs, bedding or hay by the continued exposure in the bedroom.

bulletIf a child is young enough that he or she needs supervision while retrieving, holding, and "playing with" the animal, then that just underscores all of the above reasons.

bulletAccidents happen, especially with other children who are not used to a guinea pig. It is more difficult to monitor how young visitors behind the closed doors of a bedroom are treating a guinea pig.

bulletIf you are thinking that having a pet (any pet) is going to help teach your child responsibility, then please rethink that idea. When someone gives that as a reason for wanting an animal, it is a big red flag to rescues and shelters. And placing the cage in the bedroom does nothing to 'teach responsibility' anyway. Any 'lesson learned' is likely abuse or suffering for the animal.
A Family Pet

Is your guinea pig part of the family? 


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31 Dec 2006

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