If you have a guinea pig and are planning to get a cat or vice versa the first question you may have to yourself is do guinea pigs and cats get along?
The answer to this question will depend mostly on the personality of your individual cat because the cat could potentially do more harm to your guinea pig than the guinea pig could do to the cat.
This article will explain some reasons why guinea pigs and cats may not get along as well as give you tips for helping them at a minimum coexist peacefully with each other.
Do Guinea Pigs and Cats Get Along?
Yes, guinea pigs and cats can get along, but this will almost entirely depend on your cat.
Guinea pigs are simple creatures. Unlike cats, they don’t tend to overthink and mostly just act out of instinct. If they’re tired, they sleep. If they’re hungry, they eat. And if they’re scared? They run away.
As long as they have a space to call their own and sufficient food, water, and entertainment, they’re likely to mind their own business.
Cats, on the other hand, are much more complicated and they can’t change their predatory nature.
Reasons Why Guinea Pigs and Cats May Not Get Along
Here are some things you should consider before bringing a guinea pig into your home if you have a cat:
Cats are Predators, and Guinea Pigs are Prey
No matter how agreeable or friendly your cat may be, we can’t entirely remove their predatory instincts.
Wild guinea pigs, which are just as cute and fluffy as their domestic counterparts, are largely prey to animals bigger than them. This includes owls, snakes, cats, and wolves.
In fact, it’s said that guinea pigs first started off as a source of meat and were consumed as food by the tribes in the Andean region of South America in early 5000 BC.
The point is, guinea pigs are prey through and through. So, if they believe they’re in danger, they’d either freeze or run away.
This, in turn, will trigger a cat’s predatory instincts. It’ll cause the cat to instinctively react and pounce!
Guinea Pigs are Easily Frightened
Guinea pigs get frightened quite easily. If they’re in danger, their first reaction is to find somewhere safe to hide. This is because a guinea pig doesn’t really have the capacity to put up a good fight if they are in danger.
Cats, however, are bigger, used to being hunters and are naturally sneaky. Even a well-behaved cat may eventually get the idea of hunting your guinea pig or making them their next meal.
Since guinea pigs are very delicate, it is very easy for your cat to seriously hurt your guinea pig even if they are just trying to play.
Guinea Pigs Are Fragile
As stated briefly above, guinea pigs are way more fragile than a cat. Because of this, they play and interact differently. A cat’s way of playing could be very harmful to a guinea pig!
Some Cats are Scared of Guinea Pigs
On the other side of the spectrum, some cats are scared of guinea pigs and will do their best to keep a relatively safe distance away. Check out this video of a cat running scared of a guinea pig.
Tips for Helping a Guinea Pig and Cat Get Along
Not all cats will be aggressive toward a guinea pig. In fact, some cats won’t mind having a guinea pig sibling around.
If you’re planning on owning a guinea pig and a cat together, here are some tips to help them get along.
Introduce Them to Each Other Properly
As with dogs and guinea pigs, it is important to introduce your cat and guinea pig properly to help them get to know each other without any mishaps.
During the introduction, it is important to protect the guinea pig. First, bring the guinea pig around in the cage, and let your cat get a good sniff. Watch to see if your cat acts calmly, hisses, or tries to claw at the cage.
Second, if you cat reacts calmly to the guinea pig, and after a day or so of your cat becoming familiar with it’s scent, you can attempt to take the guinea pig out of the cage. Hold the guinea pig in your arms and let the cat sniff it. Don’t put the guinea pig down on the ground during this step.
If your cat seems friendly and accepting when they first meet, don’t be reassured immediately. Just like real predators, your cat might just be waiting for the right time to make its move.
Get Them Both Young
The best chance you have at getting a guinea pig and cat to get along and even be best buddies is to get them both at the same time when they are young. If they grow up together, they will learn to co-exist and sometimes even build a very sweet relationship.
Don’t Leave Them Alone Together Without Supervision
You wouldn’t want to come home one day to a disaster just because you left your guinea pig and cat alone together in a room.
At first, when your cat is around it is best to not let the cat outside of the cage until you are sure your cat will behave. Only you will know when the time is right, but if your cat seems unbothered by the guinea, you can eventually start to put the cavy on the ground to play, even It is important to stay close to the guinea pig and monitor your cat to make sure they remain calm.
Get Your Guinea Pig a Durable Cage
It’s best to house your cavy in a reliable, durable enclosure. Your cage must come with a lid, so your cat doesn’t have access to it from the top. The bars also must be tight enough so your cat can’t stick its paws through the bars.
Inside the cage, make sure to provide your guinea pig with enough hiding spaces, so that your guinea pig ca have a safe spot to retreat to if they become afraid.
Can guinea pigs and cats get along? Yes, they can. However, that doesn’t mean all guinea pigs and cats will get along. You will have to look at the personality and behavior of your cat to see if a guinea pig will be a good companion.
Even if your feline and cavy aren’t the best of friends, you can still have both animals as pets as long as you take the proper precautions to make sure your guinea pig is protected from the cat.