Challenges in Guinea Pig Cage Design
She goes on to say, “My friend… turned me onto Martin’s Cages. Though these guinea pig cages aren’t beautiful, per se, their design is clean and simple — certainly not an eyesore.” The photograph included with her note is “The Guinea Pig Condo (G-350)” which is a 36 inch by 30 inch cage. The cage includes a ramp to a landing and another ramp to a second floor made of wire mesh.
We don’t know if the cage pictured with the Facebook note was the one Caponigro chose for her seven guinea pigs but we were not impressed with Martin’s Cages in general. Let’s do some math. As social animals, guinea pigs need to be housed in pairs. At just over 2 square feet, the smallest cage available for guinea pigs from Martin’s Cages can not meet the minimum requirements for two guinea pigs. It’s not even close to the 7.5 square feet required for one guinea pig. This cage is only a few inches shy of our cavy carrier which we use for trips to the vet.
Using the Guinea Pig Cages estimation of cage standards and taking into account that ramp area and second floor area is usually not included in a measurement of cage size (cage size is an approximation of running room), to properly house her seven guinea pigs Caponigro would need approximately 22 square feet of cage space. She would need to own three of the largest cages Martin’s Cages sells on their website and her guinea pig herd would need to be separated. Not an ideal solution.
While Caponigro might be drawn to the simplicity of Martin’s Cages because the wire isn’t coated with a bright color and the base is not made of plastic like many pet store bought cages, the fact that Martin’s Cages have a wire mesh needing to be covered means something additional must be added to the design as an afterthought. Exactly what these cages were designed and intended for is not known. They appear to be guinea pig cages designed 30 years ago which continue to be produced with a added suggestion to alter the wire mesh floor to accomodate modern standards of guinea pig care. Martin’s Cages website states, “This floor must be covered with a material of your choice before use. Guinea Pigs should not walk directly on wire.” While we appreciate Martin’s Cages placing a warning on their website, requiring the consumer to alter a product in order for it to be safe shows a disregard for the health for the pets. To those of us in the cavy community who promote guinea pig welfare, this attitude by manufacturers is weak and disappointing.
Is Caponigro happy with separating her herd into three wire mesh cages with a makeshift second floor? We’re guessing she made do with the best options she found available because so many of us in the cavy community are forced to do the same. If Caponigro found a more stylish solution to the guinea pig housing challenge, those of us here at Guinea Pig Today would absolutely love to see it.
In the meantime, we would like to suggest to her and anyone else who has purchased one of Martin’s Cages to consider building a C&C cage. While this might not offer a perfect option as a fashionable addition to your home, it’s certainly a flexible and safe solution for the life of your guinea pigs. Perhaps Caponigro could use her clout to develop an ideal solution which is both functional and stylish.
While we absolutely agree with Caponigro that commercial guinea pig cages can be an eyesore, the products offered by Martin’s Cages are not without their problems. Unfortunately, we’re not all graced with the skills required to build an elegant C&C cage either. That’s why we challenge a furniture designer to develop a guinea pig cage system that is attractive and interesting, but without sacrificing any of the fundamental requirements for a healthy guinea pig environment. We would love to see the future of cavy cages with beautiful solutions and a selection of themes able to blend into the decor of any home.
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