Monday, July 16, 2012

How to Clean (and Annoy) a Couple of Guinea Pigs

You should all be aware that this post is mostly an excuse to post photos of the cute guinea pigs I am petsitting. But then, you probably already knew that.

Remember these guys? Cow is in the back, Poppy up front.

So, I'm petsitting my friend Heather's guinea pigs. They totally hate me (except when I'm feeding them). I fucking love them. How can you not? Just look at them! Plus, they squee in anticipation and delight every time I open the fridge.

They are often disappointed. Maybe that's why they hate me.

Anywho, I've petsat them before, but never long enough that I have to clean their cage. This time, however, that all changed. Heather told me that I should change their bedding once while they were here and that I could just leave them in there and change it around them.

Heather clearly did not consult with the piggies when she came up with this plan. They were...not pleased.

I decided to to start by recruiting a helper. Said helper claimed to be busy.

Check out his ironic reading material.

Realizing it was up to me, I found a scooping device and headed into the fray by myself. It turns out that my scooping plan had a flaw.

Oh. Hello, now filthy floor.
Related: I not am smart.

And then I realized that I was actually going to have to touch the used bedding with my very own hands. This was not welcome news. Do you have any idea what they DO in that bedding?

I started at one end, scooping the bedding with my hands (*shudder*) into the box I had and then transferring it to a trash bag. The piggies cowered at the other end, trying to claim the shrinking area that still had bedding on it.

There was some panicked running in circles.

Calm DOWN, Cow.

And these animals who are ridiculously hard to catch when I am trying to force them to cuddle with and love me, froze still in a sad little huddle as I tried to steal their dirty bedding and poop from them.

Me: "Hi, little friends!" Them: "HEEEELLLLPPPP US!"

Getting that last little bit out was tough, seeing as how Cow had camped out on top of it.

I almost scooped her up.

Then they were sad.

So very sad.

I got to make them very happy by putting in fresh bedding and tamping it down. The return of their Pigloo made them even happier.

That's right. Pigloo.

I felt so bad about the trauma I had inflicted on these poor little creatures that I gave them afternoon carrots. (They're not supposed to get afternoon carrots. Shhh, don't tell Heather.)

Fortunately, they seem to forget trauma quickly.

And then I frantically washed my hands.

And then I frantically re-washed my hands.

Then, in an effort to cement our newly forged friendship, strengthened by going through such a traumatic ordeal together, I tried to pet Cow. And she bit me.

In her defense, I think she thought I was a carrot.

I should have seen it coming.

I still love her. (She still hates me.)

Confidential to Heather: Please don't let this post stop you from letting me petsit your piggies in the future. They love me. We're best friends. We sleep together at night in a big pile of bedding and shit. I promise.


  1. Seriously? Dishgloves. Just sayin'

  2. The best scoop is a dustpan. But seriously? You should get a couple of those ball things for when the piggies come. You can let them run around the house while you are cleaning. 

  3. And I'd just like to add that I have been looking forward to this post since I saw your note about accidentally publishing the notes for it. It was worth the wait. I feel squee-ed. :) 

  4. Sandwich baggies. They make a cheap, yet highly effective glove for jobs like that! I speak from experience. Years and years of experience. Seriously! Who knew Dwarf  Rabbits lived so damn long???!!

  5. Although I am not the guinea pig home cleaner at my house, I will give you a tip I have learned from watching the cleaning crew (Ed). SHOP VAC. He makes Helen and Connor play with the pigs on a blanket or outside, probably so he doesn't vacuum up one of the little guys.

  6. Get gloves.  I have some disposable surgical-type gloves under my sink for jobs like that (I got them for food handling for a while after my knuckle and our cheese grater had a disagreement).
    But squeeeeee!  cute guinea pig photos!

  7. We had guinea pigs when I was a kid.  I am sill recovering from the trauma.  The smell of that cedar wood-chip bedding brings it all back... (shudder)

  8. OMG, we got our daughter two guinea pigs for her birthday, and I was laughing out loud through this entire blog!  Her trick for picking them up is to corner them in one of their "houses", then reach in and grab.  But man, those little guys can scratch!

  9. You don't know how lucky you are.  Dirty bedding!  Last time I pet sat a guinea pig I had to squeeze puss out of it's eye then apply ointment every day.  The smell still haunts me to this day.

  10. I inherited a pair of guinea pigs from my son after he exiled them from his room because they ate the pull cord from the mini blinds on the window above their cage. He also complained that they smelled worse than Spiffy, my horse.
    The pigs lived a long, noisy and smelly life in our pantry. I loved them a lot (so cute! So squeeky when the refrigerator door opened!) I threaten to get another piggy someday but it's hard to find people who are willing to pig sit when we go away.
    You are a steller human being to volunteer to care for your friend's bitey, stinky little pets.
    If you have to clean a cage again, I suggest first placing the livestock in the bathtub so they can run around and not escape and then dumping the soiled litter into an extra-large trash bag. Spray the tray with a pet safe cleanser, dry with a paper towel and refill with fresh litter. It's quick and easy.
    Dang! I want another guinea pig...

  11. That's what I was going to say! Dishwashing gloves. Of course I never use them to wash dishes...but my mom always buys them when she visits. I later treat them as disposable toilet cleaning gloves. Your cleaning project is definitely in that area...

  12.  Dishgloves give me the heebies.

  13.  You win! Heather says the dustpan is the way to go too. A little too little a little too late is what I have to say.

  14.  The first thing I check when I think about a new pet is how long they live. Very important.

  15.  I kinda feel like if I had put the piggies on a blanket that they would be wild piggies by now. They're not good at staying put and I think that they're faster than me.

  16.  That kind of glove freaks me out. I'd rather handle poop.

  17.  Pet sitting them is a lovely option instead of owning.

  18.  I've tried that trick too. They still outwit me regularly.

  19.  Oh dear lord. Yes. You had it worse.

  20.  That's so funny, because we don't use them either, but my mom also buys them when she visits. But I have sensory issues with that kind of glove. Or really any glove. I like wool mittens, but they are not good for cleaning guinea pig cages.

  21. You are the best friend ever!  Remind me to move close to you if I ever have pets that need sitting!

  22.  I don't know if I'd do toads.


  23. Pigloo!!!  That is AWESOME!

  24. Without knowing anything about guinea pigs:

    Love Amanda's idea of letting them run in those clear exercise globes, while you clean the enclosure.  

    Is it possible to divide the enclosure in half, clean one half, transfer the guinea pigs, and then clean the other half?  Do you really need to get 100% of the old litter out of the cage?  They might like the familiar - um - scent of the old litter.    And finally, caring for pets is one of the treasured learning experiences of childhood.  Can you recruit other helpers?  

  25. Also - is that a boardwalk in the pigloo pic?  That would be awesome.  

  26. Ditto. I'd rather have guinea pig poop on me.

  27.  I know. I wish I could take the credit for that, but Heather's kids named it that.

  28.  It's where we're supposed to put their hay, but it does look like a boardwalk.

  29.  Yeah. That may have been what I was supposed to do, but this was easier. You know, for me.

  30. I dunno if it's true or not but an employee at P.etco told me those clear plastic rolly globes are fine for hamsters but dangerous for guinea pigs. Something about guinea pigs possibly injuring their spines in them.

  31. Who took the picture of you washing your hands?

  32. Thanks for sharing Stimey! It was a great read indeed.


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