About US is about YOU, too. Because it's the grass-roots acceptance of bigger cages for guinea pigs that has helped make the site and the ideas a success. Congratulations to you and please keep up the good work! Guinea pigs everywhere are thankful.
Teresa Murphy, Founder, Cavy Spirit (Guinea Pig Rescue and Adoption)
Cavy Spirit is a guinea pig rescue in San Mateo, California. Since 1999, approximately 1000 guinea pigs have been rehomed directly or indirectly through our rescue. The vast majority of them have needed transitional homes either in our rescue home or foster homes or other temporary locations.
We needed a cage design that was:
Cavy Spirit Cage Evolution
We started with the cage that our inherited first guinea pig came with, a small metal cage with a metal pan. Then we moved up to an expensive SuperPet cage, the biggest and best we could find at the stores. Then as our guinea pig count grew, we bought more SuperPet cages and hacked the sides down and linked them together. That was very expensive, messy, and hard to clean.
Then we moved to a large, molded kiddy swimming pool. That large pool sat on top two 8-foot folding work tables that we placed next to each other lengthwise in our dining room. Next we added a three-level SuperPet cage at the outside end of the swimming pool and connected them with a large ramp. At that point, enough was enough and we decided to come up with our own, new design. We went to TAP Plastics, a local plastics store that cuts and glues custom Plexiglas items for you. Just a simple, stripped down version of what we wanted was going to cost many hundreds of dollars, be very heavy, and not at all flexible.
Then, we decided to go with linoleum and Neat Idea Cubes. There were plenty of cage designs on the internet that used NIC (Neat Idea Cubes) designs, especially rabbit cages. We made quite a few linoleum and cube cages. But, it wasn't easy. Linoleum was not an ideal material for a variety of reasons. (By the way, the Neat Idea Cubes - NIC - was a brand name of the grids that are no longer available for sale.)
How we came up with C&C Cages!
Then we remembered an obscure web page that talked about Coroplast -- BC SPCA. This page has been revised since we first found it years ago. It's really become even more obscure and hard to find and no longer mentions the brand name Coroplast. But at the time, we finally decided to search out this strange new material and give it a try. That's how we came up with combining Cubes and Coroplast. We prefer our version of creating the box over the one presented by the SPCA site. It's more stable and secure (and easier to assemble). But a definite big thanks to the person who came up with that and thanks to the SPCA in British Columbia for sharing it.
Fighting the Status Quo
Cage sizes traditionally quoted are either 2 sq feet or 4 sq feet for the first pig, and an additional 1 or 2 sq feet per additional pig. However, at the Cavy Spirit rescue, we have found that this size cage is far too small for a pet guinea pig. The larger the cage the better. Over the years, we have observed significant changes in behavior of guinea pigs when moved from the traditional, so-called "large" pet store cage to the truly larger Cubes and Coroplast cages. Their change in behavior is analogous to being "released from jail." Activity levels increase dramatically. They walk, trot, pop, and run laps. We use the larger pet store cages for quarantine, very temporary housing, or hospitals. You can also recycle an existing pet store cage as a transport or vacation stay cage.
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