Upgrading to An Adult Size Guinea Pig Cage, Built For Two

the ultimate guinea pig cageGuinea Pig Today

The ultimate do it yourself guinea pig cage, a C&C cage is flexible, economical, and spacious. Pictured is a 2x3 cage at just over 8 square feet. Lids are optional, but a piece of pre-made grid shelving is a good fit to lay on top.

Guinea pigs in pet stores are young and half the size of a full grown adult. As such, commercially sold guinea pig cages are labelled as “Starter Kits” or “First Homes.” However, those same pet stores that sell young guinea pigs do not sell cage upgrades for adults. This is a big problem in guinea pig welfare. Once guinea pigs are fully grown, owners are on their own to find an acceptably sized cage.

The Correct Amount of Space

The dimensions of commercially sold guinea pig cages has not changed much over the last 30 years. A pair of guinea pigs will need at least 7.5 square feet or more. This is the amount of space needed for all of your guinea pigs’ needs and still give your pets room to move. Unsuspecting guinea pig owners are often surprised by how much floor space their growing cavies will take up. Instead of a cage on a end table, guinea pigs can fill a dining room table.

The Type of Cage You’re Looking For
There are a couple commercially sold cages, like the Midwest Habitat, that offer the minimum cage requirements for a pair of guinea pigs, but these cages have shallow bins that allow litter to escape, have limitations on expansion, and are very difficult to find.

Some cage styles add room vertically but this is not the best option for your guinea pigs. Ramp space is usually subtracted, not added, because this is space where your guinea pigs can’t run and a cage item can not be placed. Also, senior guinea pigs have difficulty with ramps.

Most guinea pig owners find the best option is a C&C cage. That stands for Cubes and Coroplast, which are the elements involved in constructing a do-it-yourself guinea pig cage. The cubes are the wire grids that are popular for office storage. Coroplast is a type of plastic cardboard that is often used as packing material and signage.

Sample grid squareGuinea Pig Today

You'll want to find grid squares that have 9 squares on each side. Some brands have 8 or 6 but according to posts on GuineaLynx, some guinea pigs have been stuck or hurt on these styles.

What You Should Know About Buying Cubes
9×9 grids per square are the safe size. If you get eight or six, you are taking chances according to posts on GuineaLynx. Posts on the forum report guinea pigs have been caught, injured, or died in the cubes with less than 9 squares. It’s very difficult to find the correct size grids because some sites don’t have the correct photos of the products. Target, for example, has grid squares pictured that are 9×9 but the actual product was changed to be 8×8. We recommend the brands Stor and Whitmor.

What You Should Know About Buying Coroplast
The correct Coroplast sheets should be 4 mm thick so they can be properly cut to fit the cages. Coroplast can be found in hobby shops, sign stores, and online. If you purchase a large sheet, there are instructions online on rolling your coroplast without damaging it to fit into your car. You will need to both cut and score (cut through just one layer) of the coroplast to make the basin. Measure the size of the inside bottom of the cage plus approximately 5 inches on each side for “splash walls.”

Where To Buy Cage Supplies
Office supply stores and hobby shops usually have the supplies needed to build your C&C cage. Some sites sell kits to create pre-made styles so search eBay. Wag.com, a site owned by Amazon, will soon sell C&C cage supplies and there you can combine your cage purchase with other guinea pig supplies to save on shipping. A cage approximately 28 x 42 inches (2×3 cube grids) creates approximately 8 square feet of floor space. That is usually the minimum space required to adopt a pair of guinea pigs although more is recommended if space is available. Guinea pig rescue standards vary. Some rescues also sell C&C cage supplies, so check your local rescue or shelter when adopting.

cage grids closeupGuinea Pig Today

Cage grids do not have a front and back but the two sides are different. The intersections are sealed on one side or the other. For stability and aesthetics, choose a side and build your cage walls consistently keeping an inner and outer faces in mind.

The Benefits of a C&C Cage
Don’t worry if you only have enough at first to build a basic cage. You don’t have to be an architect. You’ll see all sorts of fancy photos with lofts and ramps and nooks online but really, all your guinea pigs need is space. The best part about a C&C cage is that it is so easily expandable – just buy more cubes and coroplast. Once you have a larger cage, you can buy all those larger products you’ve read so much about and never had the space for until now. Multiple hideaways, open hay bins, a kitchen area, training toys, and places for your piggies to make a mess. Yes, they LOVE to make a mess! You’ll see your guinea pig expressing themselves like never before. The best reward is a happy guinea pig. You’ll wonder why you didn’t upgrade sooner.

Say What!? This is Crazy Talk
By now you’re probably thinking, “I can’t build a bookcase! This is going to be a huge pain in the butt. You mean everyone who has a guinea pig does this? Isn’t that enough for someone to actually MAKE a better guinea pig cage? Maybe one I can just go buy at the store?” You’re absolutely right, it should be easier, but building a C&C cage isn’t all that difficult.

In addition to making my own cage and helping others make cages too, I have done the research and made the phone calls and tried to get manufacturers interested in making larger guinea pig cages. What I’ve gained is a better understanding of why it isn’t so easy and why the guinea pig market is often bundled up with rabbits, hamsters and other small pets.

In conclusion, the demand for adult sized cavy cages is there, but two things need to happen – larger cages need to be produced cheaper and the casual guinea pig owners needs to stop supporting the sales of small cages. Support larger guinea pig cages by making a C&C cage and share what you have read here with other cavy owners. Support progress and show pet manufacturers there is a market for adult size guinea pig cages.

Note: Guinea Pig Today does not profit in any way from the sale of C&C cages sold on Wag.com. The goal of our partnership is to make these supplies available to the casual guinea pig owner, increase guinea pig welfare and adoptions.

If you have a great idea for an article about guinea pigs, please let us know. Guinea Pig Today is a network of guinea pig lovers and we’re always looking for the next great story. View our submissions page for more information on how to submit your idea.

Angela, Editor-in-Chief, GPT

Angela founded Guinea Pig Today and guest writes for CavyMadness. She volunteers with Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue and supports the ROUS Foundation. Her guinea pig, Papua, is the star of WHEK-TV/DT.

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3 Responses to “Upgrading to An Adult Size Guinea Pig Cage, Built For Two”
  1. Cassandra says:

    The perfect article on C&C Cages! Great!

  2. Jac says:

    What do you recommend for outdoor piggies? Mines are currently indoors but we have just had the back garden turfed so the pigs can get some grass time. They currently have lounge floor suttling about time!

  3. Kim says:

    I am very frustrated with the fact that c&c cages has pretty much taken over the whole internet when I search for a guinea pig pen. C &C cages are rediculous looking! Like I want a scabbed together pen for my precious pigs! What a way to make your house look tacky too! Not every guinea pig owner needs an economical pen. There has got to be others thatcwill agree with me on this! I have been looking for the right idea fr a pen since January and the only thing I have seen after going through an average of 15 pages of people advertising the tacky c&c cages is over in Europe. People over there must have better taste and a much better imagination. Now, I feel better. This has been on my mind for quite sometime, to the point that one of my goals in life will be to come up with a beautiful pen that will put C&C’s to shame. Let some other people into the market, and quit making the guinea pigs look so tacky with your dollar closet cubes crap!

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