Posted on January 16, 2021 by Monique Hanford
The best guinea pig cage, whether pre-built, DIY, or modular, will provide your small pets with a safe enclosure with plenty of space to exercise.
With so many indoor cages for sale in pet shops and online it is difficult to know which one is best. If you are unsure what to look for, this guide will help you determine what is a good guinea pig cage, and also what to avoid, to help you find the perfect indoor cage for your guinea pigs.
We are guinea pig owners and we LOVE these small pets so we will only recommend cages that we know are safe and best for a guinea pig’s wellbeing.
All the indoor cages we recommend are large and extra large and available to buy online. Obviously the cage size you need does depend on the number of guinea pigs you have but these are some of the best indoor enclosures:
There are a few things you will need to consider when buying a guinea pig cage:
You may not realize this but guinea pigs need an extra large cage compared to many other rodent pets. Even a cage that is marked as “XL” may not always be large enough.
The smallest cage size you should be looking at is 120cm x 60cm (4ft x 2ft) or 7.5 square ft. It may sound big but a smaller cage does not offer the space a guinea pig needs. The Guinea Pig Midwest Habitat is one of the cages that meets this minimum size requirement.
Although this is the minimum size recommended by the RSPCA (UK) and the Humane Society (US) we recommend you buy a larger cage if you can. Bear in mind that a rescue centre will specify you have a cage of a certain minimum size and will not allow you to adopt a pair of guinea pigs if your cage is not large enough.
You can find out more about the correct cage size for the number of guinea pigs you have here…
Indoor cages come in many different types of material including:
C&C cages are one of the most popular indoor cages with guinea pig owners. If you’re new to guinea pigs you may not have heard of these but they are basically grids and connectors that you can put together to make the cage size you require. A coroplast (flexible plastic) base can then be cut to size and inserted.
The C&C cage gives great versatility and you can expand or alter the shape and size if you get more guinea pigs or need to put it into a different space. In fact we’ve seen some awesome giant sized cages made by guinea pig owners with this modular option!
These DIY cages do take a little more work to put together and the most fiddly part is cutting the coroplast to size but it is well worth it as you will end up with a great space for your guinea pigs.
With a little imagination you could turn a C&C cage into a gorgeous luxury pad for your guinea pigs!
You can also buy a C&C Cage kit which means you don’t need to worry about working out how to cut the coroplast as it’s all done for you and you can simply and easily put it together.
Wire cages with a canvas/PVC base such as the Midwest Guinea Pig Habitat Cage are a good option. The base is removable and washable and it is also leakproof so you can put it directly on to your flooring or a solid table.
The Midwest Guinea Pig Habitat is the very smallest cage you should buy for 2 guinea pigs but you can extend the Midwest cages by joining two or more together which is what many guinea pig owners have done and something we would definitely recommend.
You can join two Midwests end to end to make a very long cage or you could join 3 to make a “U” shape. If you want to put the cage in the corner of a room, two Midwests in an “L” shape would work really well. You can make almost whatever shape or size you want using the Midwest Habitat cages and a little creativity!
Indoor wooden cages with a Perspex front look great in the home as they don’t have the bars which a traditional cage does have. You can also see the guinea pigs much more easily through the Perspex.
These cages are usually very solid and long-lasting so even though they may cost a little more, they are definitely worth the investment. These may or may not be available to buy where you live but it’s worth looking around if you like the look of them.
We don’t recommend plastic cages because most are made too small and many others are, quite frankly, ridiculously tiny as a home for these adorable small animals.
Certain plastic cages may appear to be within the minimum recommended size if you go by the measurements given, but when you look more closely at the cage you’ll often find that the bases slope inwards which significantly reduces the space inside the housing.
Plastic cages will sometimes have shelves added which aren’t much use for guinea pigs and take away from the interior space.
You won’t be able to extend these solid plastic cages either, so, as well as being generally too small, you won’t have the ability to make them bigger at a later stage. You’d be better off buying a different type of cage that offers better and more usable space.
Most of the multi level cages you can buy in the pet shops may be suitable for other rodents who like climbing but guinea pigs don’t like to climb. In fact they are usually not very keen on ramps unless they are not steep or slippery in any way.
Having said that, you can build a second tier on a C&C cage but the cage would need to be large enough that you could build a ramp with a very gentle slope.
Do bear in mind that guinea pigs who are not very mobile such as an older piggy or one that has arthritis, will certainly have difficulty using a ramp and may refuse to use one.
Some rodents may be fine with a cage that has a wire base but guinea pigs have very delicate feet. They should never be in a cage that just has wire (or grids) as a base.
If you do put your guinea pigs directly on this type of surface (even if you have pine shavings or similar bedding covering it, they can get sore feet and it can become very painful and cause serious problems for them.
A guinea pig’s cage must always have a smooth flat base and on top of that you will need to add some bedding such as hemp bedding, kiln dried pine shavings, fleece liners or another safe and absorbent type of bedding.
There are several points to consider when it comes to the safety of your cage:
If you’re getting a cage with bars or wire grids, it’s important to make sure your guinea pigs can’t escape or poke their heads through at all. There have been many horrible stories of guinea pigs getting trapped in bars or these grids and suffering awful injuries.
The C&C cage grids that you should buy must always be 9×9 squares across. Check out our information about C&C cages where we give you links to the safe grids and the other items you need to buy to build one of these modular cages.
It is worth noting that even the safe grids may not be safe for very tiny young guinea pigs so you may need to cover the grids in some way. Alternatively you could start with a cage that has smaller spacing between the bars and upgrade later.
Of course, the wooden indoor cages that have a Perspex front are ideal as there is nowhere they can escape or get stuck in one of these enclosures.
Many guinea pig owners have open cages (a cage without a top). Providing you don’t have other pets, and the sides of your cage are a good height (36cm / 14 inches high) this is a safe option. Guinea pigs don’t usually jump although some have been known to do this in rare circumstances, for example, if a female is in a cage next to a male guinea pig!
If you have other pets such as dogs or cats, you’ll need to make sure you buy an indoor cage that protects your guinea pigs from them. This means you’ll need a roof for your cage.
We also recommend raising your cage above floor level so that it sits on a table or some kind of stand that is stable and sturdy. This can help make your guinea pigs feel safer.
If you’re making your own cage out of wood, it’s important to use a wood that is safe. Avoid cedar completely and if you use pine it should be kiln dried. Both these woods contain dangerous toxins in the natural oils that are found in the wood but the kiln drying process makes pine a safe wood to use.
MDF is also dangerous because of the glues etc made in the manufacturing process of this wood product. We did actually make our own cage from MDF, but it’s completely covered by linoleum on the base and up the sides, with all edges sealed. This means there is no way the guinea pigs can chew it. So you can use this material if you make sure it is not able to be nibbled by your guinea pigs.
You will need to clean the cage regularly so make sure you buy one that you feel is going to be easy for you to clean.
All the indoor cages we’ve recommended here are easy to wipe clean but consider how easy it is to access the cage for cleaning too. We used to have a big C&C cage in the large space under our stairs but it wasn’t ideal because it was on the floor under a sloping ceiling which made it awkward to clean out.
Since then we’ve built our own extra large cage and it sits on a very large sturdy table which makes it so much easier to clean.
If your cage has a lid, make sure you can easily remove it or raise it up so you can clean the cage as and when needed.
If you’ve decided on a C&C cage, think about how easy your chosen configuration will be to clean before you start the build and adapt your plans if necessary.
As well as having easy access to clean, you will also want to make sure your cage offers easy access to your guinea pigs when you want to take them out.
Guinea pigs are not the easiest pets to catch at the best of times because most of the time they will attempt to run off. So you need to make sure this doesn’t become a dreaded chore!
Side doors are not the best way to access for this purpose and it’s much easier if you can put your hand in from the top and pick your guinea pig up from there.
You should now be in a better position to work out which indoor cage is best for your guinea pigs and which cage will best suit the space you have in your home. But whatever you choose to buy, remember that a large or extra large cage is essential for these small pets.
You can check out our page on the best sized cage for the number of guinea pigs you have here.
These are our top recommendations for indoor cages and they are all available to buy online:
You may think that by going to a pet shop you will get good advice and they will be able to tell you which cage is a suitable choice for your guinea pigs.
Sadly, this is often not the case. Many pet shops are not as interested in the welfare of these small pets as they are in the money they make from sales. This can lead to well-meaning guinea pig owners getting the wrong type of cage without even realizing.
Even some guinea pig books that you may feel are more trustworthy will have outdated information if they are a number of years old. Of course, they would have been written with the best of intentions but these days we have better knowledge about the welfare of pets and some of this advice may be irrelevant today.
It is essential you do your own research and find out which cage is good for your guinea pigs from experts, those who have lots of experience with guinea pigs and who care for their wellbeing.
We’ve designed some helpful care sheets including checklists and record sheets that will help you keep organised and up to date with the care of your guinea pigs…Find out more...