Many people who love animals want to have many pets, and keeping them together can put at least one of them at risk of being attacked or eaten. Do cats and guinea pigs get along?
Most of the time guinea pigs and cats cannot be friends, especially if a cat isn’t used to living with other pets. In that case, expect the worst immediately upon their encounter. Cats are predators and guinea pigs are prey animals. So a cat can eat your guinea pig if you don’t pay attention and don’t keep your cavy in a safe and predator-proof hutch.
Some cats consider guinea pigs to be potential food, while other cats make friends with guinea pigs.
Even if cats and guinea pigs become “friends”, letting them spend time together is dangerous.
Guinea pigs are smaller and more fragile than cats.
Even a playful paw of your cat can create a catastrophe and cause a serious injury to the guinea pig.
If you get a guinea pig, your cat might not eat it, but that doesn’t mean that the cat won’t hurt the small cavy.
Guinea pigs are rodents, and rodents are a favorite prey item for a cat. While cats don’t show much interest in other animals and insects, they will happily jump on any rodent that crosses their path.
Cats Vs. Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are social animals and do best when kept in pairs or small groups. They need plenty of space to run and play, and toys and activities to keep them stimulated.
Guinea pigs are also very sensitive. Anything can make guinea pigs scared, any sudden movement or noise. This can lead to health problems, so it’s important to make sure their home is safe and secure, and that they have a routine.
If you’re thinking about getting a guinea pig, or already have one and want to add a new guinea pig to your family, here are some important things you should know:
- Guinea pigs need space. The minimum size for a pair of guinea pigs is 7 square feet (2 square meters), but bigger is always better.
- They need a variety of toys and enrichment activities to keep them active. This can include things like tunnels, a hidey-hole, chew toys, and balls to play with.
- Guinea pigs are very sensitive to changes in their environment and can get stressed easily. Try to keep the home of your guinea pig as stable as possible and have a routine for feeding, cleaning, and exercise.
- Guinea pigs are social animals and do best when kept in pairs or small groups. If you have more than one guinea pig, make sure they have enough space and that they can see and interact with each other.
- Guinea pigs need a diet high in fiber to stay healthy. A healthy guinea pig diet should consist mostly of hay, fresh vegetables, and a small number of pellets.
- They are susceptible to a variety of health problems, so it’s important to take your guinea pigs to the vet for regular check-ups. Some common problems include respiratory infections, parasites, dental problems, and obesity.
- Guinea pigs can live for 5-7 years with proper care. With regular vet visits and a healthy diet, guinea pigs can enjoy a long and happy life.
As pet parents, there are a few things that you should keep in mind if you’re thinking of getting a cat and bringing it home to your guinea pigs. Here are some important things to know about cats:
- They’re independent creatures.
Cats are known for being independent creatures. This means that they’re not looking to be your best friend or constant companion like a dog might be. They’re perfectly content doing their own thing and don’t need a lot of attention from you. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy spending time with their human companions – they just prefer to do so on their terms.
- They can be finicky eaters.
Since cats are such independent creatures, they can also be pretty finicky eaters. If you’re not careful, your cat might start to develop some bad eating habits that can be hard to break. For example, some cats only want to eat wet food, while others may only be interested in dry food. And, of course, there are always those cats who insist on having both wet and dry food available at all times!
- They’re natural hunters.
Another important thing to know about cats is that they’re natural hunters. This means that they have a strong instinct to chase after small prey – even if that prey animal is just a toy or a ball of yarn. If you have other pets in the house (like rabbits or rodents), it’s important to keep them away from your cat to avoid any accidents.
- They’re excellent climbers.
Since cats are such good climbers, they often find themselves in places that they shouldn’t be – like on top of cabinets or shelves. If you have a cat, it’s important to kitten-proof your home as much as possible to prevent any accidents.
- They shed their fur.
Last but not least, it’s important to know that cats shed their fur – a lot. This means that if you’re allergic to cats, you might want to think twice before getting one. However, there are some hypoallergenic breeds of cats out there that might be a better option for you.
Another very important thing you need to know is whether cats and guinea pigs can get along.
Do Cats and Guinea Pigs Get Along?
Small moving objects attract cats, these great hunters.
A cat cannot beat its instincts and impulses, no matter how well you train it.
As a result, when a cat and a guinea pig meet for the first time, the cat will most likely attack the guinea pig and kill it.
As much as you are horrified by this, cats kill guinea pigs.
Even if the cat doesn’t attack the guinea pig on sight, as a naturally playful creature, it may become interested and attempt to weigh the piggy.
While it may not cause physical harm to the guinea pig, it may cause a lot of stress to this small animal. Likewise, such a play may result in unwanted injuries, such as scratches and bites.
If kept together from an early age, guinea pigs and well-trained cats can coexist in a home but always with precautionary measures.
Therefore, a cat and a guinea pig can coexist, but they must be introduced and supervised properly.
Can Cats Get Along With Guinea Pigs?
It is preferable not to keep a guinea pig with a cat, even when a cat has been properly trained.
Just because your guinea piggies and kitties didn’t appear hostile at a first glance, when you first introduced them, it doesn’t rule out the possibility of something going wrong in the future.
Putting them together in the same play area can always be hazardous as a cat may suffocate your guinea pig or even eat it.
Why Do Cats Attack Guinea Pigs?
Even when domesticated, cats are apex predators, which means that they don’t have anyone to pray on them.
Cats are perfect hunters.
Cats can lengthen their spines to allow for short bursts of speed of up to 20-30 mph.
They can narrow their shoulders and chests to squeeze into small spaces.
Cats can also jump up to nine times their height from a standing position and land on their feet.
Every year, cats kill between 1.3 and 4 billion birds in the United States. Researchers studying the effects of cats in parks found that a park with 25 cats had 50% fewer birds compared to a park without cats.
Historically, with the spread of agriculture, cats served as nature’s best rodent control, which led to the domestication of house cats.
Today, while science doesn’t have all the answers to all the questions we can pose, it tells us that cats consume their prey to obtain taurine, an essential amino acid.
Unlike humans and dogs, cats cannot produce this amino acid but have to obtain it through their diet.
Taurine is found only in meat in sufficient quantities to meet the needs of a cat’s body.
Without taurine, a cat can suffer from cardiomyopathy, have vision problems, UTIs, and other health problems.
Therefore, even if your cat wouldn’t want to eat your guinea pig, she must consume taurine, which can be obtained only from animals.
In addition to taurine, other nutrients essential for cats are vitamin D, vitamin A, and arachidonic acid, all readily available in high-protein animal sources.
This is why cats are obligate carnivores.
But Cats Eat Vegan and Commercial Food, Don’t They?
Taurine is added to all commercial cat food.
But don’t be surprised if you find your cat eating mice, birds, small reptiles, and insects.
The answer to why your cat does that is in your cat’s biology, ancestry, and hardwiring.
Domestic cats that spend the majority of their time indoors hunt less than outdoor cats because they do not have access to mice.
While feral mothers teach their kittens to kill prey, domestic cats usually don’t learn this skill.
For that reason, you may see them playing with their catch, or they may bring the mouse to you.
While you may believe that your cat is simply bringing an offering to you, to brag about its awesome hunting skills, the cat is bringing the mouse for you to kill.
And even if your cat doesn’t know how to kill its prey, it doesn’t mean that she’s not a skilled predator.
Hunting is an innate behavior in cats, even affectionate pets.
Even kittens at 6 weeks of age show pouncing behavior on their food. Cats hunt by sneaking up on their game, crawling on their bellies until they pounce.
Even your cat pet, a well-fed member of the family will attack its prey.
However, she won’t attack for food but for fun, to fulfill her hunting instinct, completely unrelated to her need to eat.
Will My Cat Attack a Guinea Pig? How Can I Prevent That?
You might believe that your cat is well-fed and doesn’t hunt animals. Maybe your cat has never had the chance to exhibit its instincts because there’s never been a prey species around?
When cats see prey animals, their hunting instinct takes control, and even well-fed cats can kill.
You let your cat freely roam around and she’s never brought anything home with her?
Maybe your cat doesn’t bring anything home because she doesn’t need to show off her hunting abilities? The following stats come from research conducted by the University of Georgia, and they may surprise you:
- Cats return home only 23% of prey items
- They leave their prey at the capture site in 49% of cases
- Cats consume 28% of their prey
Even if you socialize your cat with guinea pigs from a young age, your cat still might kill your guinea pig at some point.
There’s nothing you can do to eliminate your cat’s hunting instincts, so there’s nothing you can do to make cats and guinea pigs get along without potential fatalities.
How To Introduce a Cat And a Guinea Pig?
If you’re thinking about introducing your cat to a guinea pig, you can do that by making sure your piggy is safe in a sturdy cage.
Such cages can withstand a cat’s attack.
In a flimsy cage, your guinea pig doesn’t have a chance.
However, keep in mind that such an introduction is almost always very stressful for your guinea pig.
Even if you’re there supervising them, and your pet seems safe in the guinea pig cage, the introduction can still result in needless injuries.
Cats are very fast, and guinea pigs are small. In an instant, your cat can cause much stress and injuries to your guinea pig.
So if you are thinking about letting your cat and guinea pig get to know each other and spend time together, there’s always a chance of a disaster.
There is no way to guarantee that a cat won’t grip your guinea pigs tightly and kill them, even if you introduced them at a young age of a few weeks.
Usually, cats and guinea pigs get along only when they are really small, but as they grow, that camaraderie can quickly turn into a disaster.
In other words, your cat and your guinea pig can never be friends.
Yet, it doesn’t mean you cannot keep them in the same home.
The only thing you have to do is keep your guinea pig away from your cat, safe and in another room to which your cat doesn’t have access.
This isn’t always possible, so at least make sure that your guinea pig cage is sturdy and that the doors are locked.
You should know that cats are persistent and they can learn how to open the door of your guinea pig’s cage.
You can still keep cats and guinea pigs in the same household but you shouldn’t keep them in the same room.
You have to take additional cautionary measures to make sure that guinea pigs will remain inaccessible to your cat.
Cats and guinea pigs cannot get along. In rare instances, two animals of different species can become friends.
You can never be sure that a cat won’t ever hurt a guinea pig, but you don’t want to risk your guinea pig’s life.
Cats and guinea pigs are way too different. Cats are predators, guinea pigs are prey animals. You cannot do anything to keep a guinea pig safe and eliminate your cat’s hunting instincts and aversion toward rodents.
Keep your guinea pig safe by keeping your piggy and cat apart as much as possible. The best you can do is have your guinea pigs in a large cage in a different room, which your cat cannot enter.
Even then, make sure that the doors on the guinea pig’s cage are locked and that your cat cannot open them.