Day to day musings of a cat minder/ sitter in North Tyneside and Newcastle upon Tyne . For details of services go to http://www.catminders.biz

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Thursday, 19 March 2009

Guinea Pig Playpen ?





.. Or Total Institution ?
Alice the skinny dog looks on in disgust while we transform a flatpack box into a guinea pig paradise . Or such is our hope .
Our pigsters have been living indoors now for two years in a custom built plastic indoor tray style living space which whilst functional , has its disadvantages . To us , it looks boring . There is just nothing to it . No layers , nothing to play in , just a little house they can escape to and whatever we squeeze in there for them to chew and play with . We think overall they prefer the indoor life . Being very sociable creatures , they whistle and shout and squeal every time we come into the kitchen , especially when the fridge door opens and they stand on their back legs and hop if a snack is not forthcoming . The cats sniff them and the dog licks and the pigs come to the edge to greet all and sundry .
The biggest problem about the old living quarters for us was the cleaning . It needed to be lifted outside in its entirety to clean , so as the week progressed a sort of deep litter effect built up as we addded extra shavings and hay . Not pleasant .
Having looked after two rabbits last summer in the village and loved their posh house , and the fact that they could be cleaned each and every day , with dropppings and such cleared each day ( sorry , too much information , possibly ) , the hutch was always pleasant and the environment much better for the rabbits .
So , for months I've scoured the internet for just such a piggy-home . It needed to be two storeyed , with a nesting area for hay and privacy . A ladder or ramp between the two storeys ( so many of the hutches are for families with two rabbits but who wish to keep them apart ) . And , more importantly , the wonderful pull out plastic tray at the bottom for cleaning purposes .
D was reluctant to the change over on many counts . He was probably sceptical about my plans to clean the beasties every day ( though he wisely kept his counsel on this matter ) . His main concern was the fact that the new hutch , on closer inspection of the representations on the net , did not appear to have much of a " lip " at the front and he feared greatly for his clean kitchen floor , fretting that the pigs would take pleasure in flicking dust , sawdust , hay and assorted food debris out of the cage and onto the wood in front of them . As the only member of the household who would be bothered greatly by this , he predicted that he would be the man with the broom , sweeping on a four times daily basis rather than the current daily ( twice daily ? Who knows ? I certainly don't , not letting such things filter through as I read my novels , cook , blog , go about my own affairs. Oh yes and sometimes I Catcall and DayJob ) . I promise him I will Do More Sweeping if we can get the hutch and convince him on the basis that the piggies will surely love it and it will be a novelty for them etc etc .
So , he duly does all the hard graft of the ordering of the hutch and the staying in to take delivery and we finally put it together then wait for Nat to return from a shopping trip to witness the transfer of the Pigs to the new abode . With much snuffling and grunting they are helped onto the bottom level . Where they sit down .
After several minutes , disappointed , we help them in the direction of the ramps . Nothing . They are not keen . They are not climbing the ramp as they will need to do to reach their lovely hay filled bedroom , though their noses are twitching as they sniff the air . They love hay and indicate that they would prefer us to lift them up to the top deck . As we are in a rush now to see " Waterloo Road " we do so .
The following morning , the piggies are fast asleep in the bedroom , having made a cosy nest , and saying good morning as usual , I place their breakfast downstairs . They stand looking down the ramp and shouting , but there is no way they plan to step up to the plate . No way . These pigs are institionalised ! I hatch a cunning plan and place carrot circles down the ramp . Hedgehog , the more rotund and braver of the two , reveals her teeth and takes a step forward then retreats . Tinkerbell pushes her rudely out of the way , and turns herself round in the process . Go on Tinks I say ..... She makes a little hop down onto the ramp but sadly , in turning , is now facing backwards , so grabbing the carrot , she heads back up the ramp and into the bedroom . Pah !
I load my own breakfast tray and head back to bed . It is precisely 5 40 am . My day has begun .
Will the pigs be using the ramp by nightfall ? Or will we have to install a chair lift ? Answers on a postage stamp ......




8 comments:

joan said...

Hi Shelagh its like the piggie ritz, i lv it! hope they get used to it ok, I remember we bought Bj a new house for her home, she would not go near it! we had to give her the old one back!, also bj used to have her own cushion to sit with us, we bought her a new one! No, she didnt like it, Back to old one! They dont seem to like change?
I love the piccies Shelagh,
Take care
joan x

MsCatCalls said...

HI Joan we have progress to report I will update soon x

Silliyak said...

I was going to suggest you develop the first (?) cattle prod for guinea pigs.

MsCatCalls said...

Oh Silliyak .... that would so unkind ... I have been using a stiff dandelion leaf ... !

But now things have moved on apace .
I am hoping to get time to update later . meantime I am cleaning the shower grouting with a toothbrush , some lemon juice and another lemon product , in preparation for some young American guests .

Silliyak said...

A british friend of mine (a Brummie) would say "Treat 'em mean, keep em' keen", but that's usually for roses and such, or when he wants an elbow in the ribs from his American bride.

MsCatCalls said...

yes but no one would advocate mean ness to little Piggy creatures surely would they ?

joan said...

Hi Shelagh
definately no meaness 4 piggies, they are adorable, and loving they communicate with us humans and a great priveledge to keep
take care
joan x

Laura said...

It brings to mind a Swiss ski chalet, or at the very least one of those Center Parcs Premier Lodges..perhaps they would prefer a ski lift rather than the ramp?

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