Are guinea pigs cuddly?
That’s something you definitely want to know before adopting one!
We’ll discuss the answer below, plus share some tips on making them more affections.
So, let’s dive in and get started!
ARE GUINEA PIGS CUDDLY? + HOW TO MAKE THEM MORE CUDDLY
Are guinea pigs cuddly? Short answer: yes, in general, they are!
However, just how do guinea pigs show affection varied with the breed and how you treat them.
Based on first-hand reports from guinea pig owners, these pets may take time to get used to you, but eventually, they’ll feel safe around you and want to cuddle.
Please keep reading to find more about guinea pigs and how to make them more cuddly.
Some Background About Guinea Pigs
People have cherished their relationships with pets for a long time.
In her book, Guinea Pigs – Are They Right For You? Janet Biniok observed that the relationship between animals and humans dates back up to 9000 years ago.
Some animals, such as sheep, were domesticated for food and fur. But dogs and cats were domesticated for companionship and for tasks such as hunting.
To understand guinea pigs, we can view them from a predator/prey perspective. People interact well with cats and dogs because they are natural predators.
Guinea pigs, on the other hand, are prey. When in the wild, these pets may have been hunted by hawks and other wild animals.
And when they were first domesticated, they were often bred for food. Yes, I know how disturbing that is, believe me.
Sadly, still are a common delicacy in some parts of the world.
That explains why at first, your guinea pig, also known as a cavy, will be afraid of being held or picked up often.
However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t affectionate. They’re actually very social animals.
According to Janet, Guinea Pigs may even be more cuddly than reptiles, cats, hamsters, or dogs.
But you will have to gain their trust before they can allow you to pick them up or play around with them.
This brings me to the next section. How do you make them love you, give you more cuddles, and reciprocate the love you show them?
How Can I Make My Guinea Pigs More Cuddly?
Below are some practical ways;
#1 Build A Comfortable Guinea Pig Shelter
The cages cavies live in make all the difference in their attitude towards people.
And unlike cats or dogs, you can’t just let your cavy roam around the house freely. For little animals, they poop a lot.
The housing should be large enough for them to move around in. But you should also make sure they get some time outdoors.
The ideal size for a guinea pig’s cage should be 30″*36″. The larger, the better. While most rodents would prefer to climb, guinea pigs prefer to utilize the floor areas.
Besides making them more comfortable, ample space facilitates co-existence between multiple cavies. You can also include toys to keep the guinea pigs busy when you’re gone.
The larger space gives your cute guinea pig a chance to play with her toys and stay active without leaving the cage.
You can also add recycled paper bedding in the sleeping section for more comfort.
You should also pay attention to where you place the cage. Guinea pigs love warm areas (65 to 75 degrees F).
Make sure the area is not too hot since she may suffer a heat stroke. So, avoid all areas with artificial sources of heat or direct sunlight. And it shouldn’t be too cold or too humid.
These pets are also sensitive to noise. So make sure the room designated for them is away from music systems.
#2 Get Her A Companion
As mentioned earlier, guinea pigs are very social animals.
When in the wild, a colony of guinea pigs comprises 10 or even more guinea pigs. So, it would not be a good idea to only get one.
Did you know that there’s a law that prohibits you from owning one guinea pig at a time in Switzerland?
This is because these pets get lonely. And most people are used to cuddling with their pets only a few minutes per day, leaving the pet in solitary for the rest of the day.
Get at least a pair of guinea pigs so that they can keep each other company and make sure the housing is at least 30″*50″.
You should also pay attention to the gender of the companions.
Placing a male and a female together could leave you with you too many furry friends than you can handle. Make sure the male is neutered, or just keep cavies of the same gender in a cage.
Getting more piggies doesn’t mean you have to spend more time taking care of them. Guinea pig care isn’t that complicated.
Just give them the necessary food, attention, medical treatment, and keenly observe their personalities.
Once they’re calm, and at peace, it will be easy to cuddle with them.
#3 Take It Slow
These cavies can’t fall in love with you overnight. It might take weeks or even months before they can agree to be picked up and cuddled.
If you take it too fast, they may squirm, injuring themselves in the process.
That’s why guinea pigs may not be the best pets for kids since they may not be that patient with these pets.
If you have to get them a cavy, at least teach them to be calm and composed until the piggies are used to having them around.
READ MORE: Are Guinea Pigs Good Pets for Kids?
#4 Talk to her
One of the reasons your guinea pig doesn’t want to cuddle is they still think you’re a threat.
As mentioned earlier, they may have been hunted by eagles in the wild. And you know how eagles attack from the air.
So you can try and have a conversation with your cavy so that she marks your voice and gets used to hanging around you.
When talking to them, mention her name often so that she “understands” that you’re talking to her.
Just like with other pets, guinea pigs will appreciate treats. They show that you care about them.
However, when giving treats, make sure they’re healthy and have hover lower levels of calories.
This makes veggies such as zucchini, carrots, and fruits such as grapes a better treat than commercially prepared treats.
Once you spend more time with your pet, you’ll understand what treats she likes and the treats she doesn’t like.
You can also contact your vet for the best treats to offer her based on her breed and health.
Which Gender of Piggies Is More cuddly?
Both genders of piggies will make friendly pets. Female guinea pigs tend to co-exist better in cages.
On the other hand, male guinea pigs tend to be nicer to their owners than their cage mates.
But a lot goes into selecting the best combination to take home, so consider all factors before choosing the gender to take home.
Know Your Pet
To get your pet to fall in love with you, you need to understand her behaviors. This includes;
- Some of the signs that she loves you.
- The sounds that she makes when trying to communicate.
Signs That Your Guinea Pig Loves You
Below are some indicators that your efforts to make your cavy fall in love with you worked.
#1 She Finally Wants To Be Held
If she doesn’t squirm, chatter, or make other funny sounds when you attempt to pick her up, she’s ready to be held.
Sometimes she may even approach you and initiate the cuddle. However, be careful when holding her since holding her the wrong way could cause stress.
How To Hold/Cuddle A Guinea Pig
According to PDSA on how to hold a guinea pig safely, guinea pigs have sensitive backs that should be handled carefully. They advise that you should hold your pet gently, with all the limbs facing downwards.
Support her chest area with o0ne arm, and hold the hind limbs with other hands. And bring her close to your body to make her feel secure.
Just because your piggy allows you to pick her up and cuddle, it doesn’t mean she will always like it. So during the first few times, don’t lift her too high from the ground. In case she feels uncomfortable and wants to jump, holding her close to the ground minimizes the risk of injury.
I also don’t think it’s a good idea to allow young kids to hold her. You know how impatient they can be, and they could easily injure her spine. Instead, have your kids feed her treats, and then gradually teach them how to stroke the pet before they can learn to pick her up.
#2 She’s Comfortable Eating Off Your Hand
For a piggy to for this, it means that she completely trusts you. And trust me, it may take ages before she can feel comfortable to eat off your hand.
That’s why it’s always advisable to have food and treats in their cages. But you can train her by making a trail of treats that ends on your hand and call out her name as she moves towards you.
Not all piggies will follow through with this, but it’s worth a try. Even though they may not understand their name, they’ll at least understand your voice and associate it with a sign of love and affection.
#3 She Doesn’t Bite
Guinea pigs defend themselves by biting. So if she charges at you with her teeth every time you want to pick her up, it means she doesn’t want to.
But once she warms up to you, this behavior fades away. She’ll let you stroke her, hold her, pick her up, and she may even nibble your fingers to express her affection.
However, piggies may also bite for an entirely different reason – hormonal imbalances resulting from the oestrous cycle. This often happens if she’s not mating with male piggies.
#4 She’ll Hang Out Around You Often.
Once your piggy is comfortable being around you, she will find it okay to climb onto, especially if you’re lying on the floor. Piggies take time to trust their owners.
So it takes a lot of courage just to approach you and explore. They wouldn’t do that if they didn’t trust you.
Besides climbing, you’ll find that she plays around often when she’s close to you. They may even follow you around the house. Observe how she behaves if you walk in on her when she’s sleeping.
If she’s scared of you, she’ll try to run. But if she continues sleeping, then she trusts you.
Guinea Pig Sounds And What They Mean
Piggies make a wide variety of noises accompanied by body language, all of which could mean different things. Below are the most common vocalizations.
- Regular Sounds – Normally, or when they’re content, piggies will make low-key grunts, chortles, and squeaks.
- Purrs – When content, cavies make a deep purr, and their bodies seem relaxed and at peace. A low-pitched purr shows that your pet is scared, and she’ll barely move. A high-pitched purr, on the other hand, is an indication that your piggy is furious. So furious that she even appears to be trembling.
- Wheeking/Whistling – This is a high-pitched sound they make when they are excited or in anticipation of a treat or when they need attention from their owners.
- Chattering and Hissing – This is another sound that indicates your piggy is pissed off. Avoid approaching her when she’s displaying her teeth when making these sounds because she’ll bite you.
- Shrieking – Piggies make this sound when they’re hurt or in pain. She may be sick, or she fell and injured herself.
- Rumbling – These are mating noises that can be made by both genders of piggies. They can also appear to practice some sort of dance as they make these sounds.
Guinea pigs are cuddly animals, but you will need to work a little harder to get them to trust you. But once they do, it will be one of the best experiences.
Remember, various breeds have differing personalities. Please spend some time with your pet, understand what she likes, and take your time.