Our number one concern as pet owners is always safety.
If you already have a dog or cat and are thinking about getting a small pet, too, it’s reasonable to be concerned about how well they’ll get along.
Cats have predatory instincts, and they will want to kill your guinea pig. We recommend you take plenty of preventative measures to keep your guinea safe. There are also tactics to train aggressive behavior out of your larger pets.
Having a cat or dog certainly does not mean you won’t be able to have a smaller pet like a guinea pig in your home.
But if you decide to take on a guinea alongside larger animals, you need to be aware of the risks.
Follow along in this article on how to keep all your animals safe and happy despite their instincts as predators or prey.
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Why Cats and Dogs Hurt Guinea Pigs
As we discussed above, cats and some dog breeds have an instinct to hunt rodents.
There may be serious trouble if they’re hungry and stumble upon your piggy’s cage.
It’s difficult for an animal to fight their hunting instinct, especially when they don’t understand your other pet is a friend.
Your cat has likely brought you birds, mice, or other small prey.
They can’t turn it off.
But it’s more than these primary instincts making cats and dogs a risk to your smaller pet’s safety.
If you have a fun-loving kitty, they may decide they want to play with your smaller animal.
Their size and roughness make this an equally large threat to your piggy.
Even if your cat or dog were to play gently, your guinea pig would still be a prey animal.
Their instinct would still be to fear the larger predators.
To ensure everyone’s safety, both physical and emotional, it’s best to keep a little bit of distance between your piggy and your larger pets.
How To Keep Guinea Pigs Safe from Your Cat or Dog
As adorable as it would be for your kitties and guineas to play together, we have established this isn’t safe.
So, when your guinea has floor time, ensure your predator pet does not have access to the same play area.
It’s best to remove the threat of predators simply by keeping your guinea in a separate part of the house from your larger animals.
At the very least, do not leave them unattended in the same room, even when your piggy is in a predator-proof cage.
If your pets manage to make eye contact, the hunter animal is likely to attempt to attack the smaller one.
Ensure your cats and dogs can’t get at your guinea’s cage.
But, if possible, also make sure they won’t be able to see each other.
Related: Can Mice And Guinea Pigs Coexist?
Ensuring Your Guinea Pig’s Cage Is Protective Enough
A regular guinea pig cage won’t cut it if you have a hunter in your home whose instinct tells them to use rodents for food.
You’ll need a more solid and sturdy enclosure for your piggy than you would otherwise.
It’s also extremely important the cage is covered securely and fastened tightly on all sides, including the top.
You want a cage with strong bars placed close together, a strong locking mechanism, and a cover.
These cages are more difficult to find and expensive than your run-of-the-mill guinea pig cage.
But this is a huge step to keeping your pets safe and happy.
If you decide to allow your cat or dog in the same room as your guinea pig’s cage, even for a little while, make sure they will not be able to touch the cage.
It should be placed in a secure spot where it won’t be knocked over, roughhoused, or attacked.
If any of these things happen, your guinea pig could get hurt.
So, the best course of action is to attempt to prevent these issues altogether.
With this in mind, if your pig does fall prey to a cat attack, don’t panic.
Get your piggy in to see the vet right away.
Do not punish your kitty or dog for their behavior.
They are only following their primal hunting instincts.
Fostering a Nice Relationship Between Cats or Dogs and Guineas
Taking these steps to keep your piggy safe does not mean your other pets will never be able to meet them.
If you get your larger pets accustomed to your guinea pig’s scent and vice versa, the two will be able to eventually be in the same room together from time to time.
Create positive associations with the scent of the other pet.
This way, your cat or dog will become fond of your guinea and vice versa.
It still isn’t a good idea to keep hunter and prey together without supervision.
Remember, play is just as dangerous as aggression in these situations because piggies are fragile little animals.
Can Kittens Be Introduced to Guinea Pigs?
It would make sense if two pets were raised together when they were young; those hunting instincts might be overridden.
So, is it safe to let a kitten meet your guinea pig?
No, it isn’t. Here’s why:
Even if the kitten did not attempt to kill or eat your smaller pet, they would still be too rough with them.
One bat of even a tiny paw could seriously hurt your guinea, even if the little paw is well-intended.
Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest a kitten wouldn’t think of your guinea as prey.
Because kittens are untrained in managing some of their most basic aggressive behaviors, they would be more likely to harm a small animal.
If you have a new kitten and would like them to learn to be safe around your guinea pig, your best bet is to follow all the safety advice for adult cats or dogs.
If your kitten acclimates to your piggy’s scent, and if they have grown out of any initial aggressive behavior, you might consider introducing your two friends.