Let's talk guinea pigs! My best friend, S, is a veterinarian. This means she is mostly responsible for the animal hoarding going on here (no worries, we're all legal lol). We got our piggies because they were abandoned by their owners at her vet clinic. Larry actually had to have an eye removed because it was infected and the owners couldn't afford the surgery. I mean, really, who has $900 for a guinea pig surgery? I super get it. She took his eye out, and needed a foster home for him, so of course, we took him in. It was a lot of cleaning the eye out (screaming the whole time, omg) and trying to figure out how to make it heal. We ended up packing the eye socket with manuka honey, which is a very special, bioactive honey that has antibacterial properties. He has healed quite well and he's a pretty social little guy. We call him One-Eyed Lucky Larry. He's a special piggie!!
Garry was actually dumped with about 4 other pigs in a cardboard box at the reception desk in S's clinic. We managed to adopt all the other pigs out, but Larry and Garry have stayed with us. They're our Ambiguously Gay Duo, they're non-sexual, monogamous, life partners. You get it.
We had a lot of cats, but never guinea pigs! We didn't even know what to do. But, through the grace of the Internet, we learned. Since we have 5 cats, managing the litter, poop and pee are a big deal to us. I didn't like the bedding we were using in their habitat, it was wet all the time and smelled super bad. I came across a blog called The Cali Cavy Collective, a blog about all things guinea pig. There I learned about the wonders of fleece!
You see, guinea pigs (also called cavy's in their native South America), poop and pee at will, wherever they are. Apparently some can be litter trained, but Larry and Garry are NOT HAVING THAT. So I started the fleece system.
Once the fleece is washed (NO softener), liquid can flow right through. That means the pee doesn't pool on top, and goes right through it. Into the puppy pad I put underneath it. I put a towel under all that for all the overflow. Every other day, I pull the fleece off and shake it over the trash. Every 4 days then, I change the whole situation, because it starts smelling. Here's what the layers look like when I lay them down:
Towel on the bottom, then puppy pads, then I cover with the fleece. Make sure to cover the edges of the pads with the towel--piggies like to chew the plastic. I end up doing a "pet laundry" of piggie stuff, dog and cat towels and pee cleaner-uppers every few days.
Beware, because buying fleece for piggie habitats is addicting! I have accumulated a whole drawer of fleeces/sleeping bags (more on that later!). Little Miss Kitty always wants to help and she super loves drawers, and drawers full of fleece snugglies, especially.
Add a sleeping bag, a cuddle cup, their house and a fresh salad, and the pigs are happy to be back in their habitat!