Posted on June 18, 2021 by Monique Hanford
A good indoor guinea pig cage will provide a large, comfortable, safe and secure environment for these small pets. But with so many guinea pig cages for sale in different sizes, materials and designs, it’s difficult to know which cage is best and whether it will give your guinea pigs the accommodation they need to thrive.
Most cages that are sold for guinea pigs are far too small, or not safe for a number of reasons. If you’re new to guinea pigs, you are likely to find the whole task of looking for the best guinea pig cage extremely confusing.
We want to help you find the best indoor cage for your guinea pigs, and one that also suits the space you have in your home. Our guide includes a list of the best indoor cages for guinea pigs and why they are a good choice for your pets. We also give you lots of information about features to look for and what to avoid when buying a cage. All the enclosures we recommend are available for purchase in the UK.
Here are four of the BEST cages that are suitable for guinea pigs:
The Midwest cage for guinea pigs is very popular among guinea pig owners. This cage is suitable for 2 guinea pigs but can be expanded by buying a second cage and joining to the first. This is a great feature if you want a larger cage or if you have more guinea pigs.
The canvas base is removable, washable and leakproof, so you can safely put it directly on a floor or solid table.
Although the Midwest cage meets the minimum requirements for space, our advice would be to buy two of these and give your guinea pigs a really big cage to provide them with more space. Find out more information about the Midwest Habitat and how to expand the cage here…
C&C cages are also one of the most popular indoor cage ideas for guinea pigs. If you’re new to guinea pigs you may not have heard of these but this is a modular DIY option which means you buy grids and connectors that fit together to make the cage size you require.
These grids are actually often sold as wire grid storage cube sets but work perfectly for modular guinea pig cages.
A coroplast (flexible corrugated plastic) base can then be cut to size and inserted. This plastic, sometimes called correx, is often used for sign making but is the most popular base for using in a C&C cage due to its durability and the fact that it is so easy to cut into the required shape.
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 move the cage to 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 but they can work out cheaper than some readymade cages and can offer 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 find out more about C&C cages here or click on the following links to see where to buy the various components:
Wooden World cages are made to order and are very similar in design to the cage we made for our guinea pigs. They are made from wood with a Perspex front.
More visually attractive than wire cages, the Perspex allows you to see the guinea pigs more clearly. They are less messy as there are no cage holes for the bedding or hay to escape from.
Available in various sizes, these wooden cages come with the option of a top and/or a stand with a shelf.
Being constructed from a good solid wood, these cages are sturdy and durable. They may cost a little more but a wooden cage should last a long time.
The minimum size a cage for 1-2 guinea pigs should measure is 7.5 square ft on a single level. This would be a 120x60cm or 4ft x 2ft cage.
This may be larger than you expected, but guinea pigs need a lot of space. Most guinea pig cages are not big enough and even if you look at most rabbit cages, which are generally larger, they are still not big enough for either guinea pigs or rabbits.
It is unkind to keep these pets in accommodation that doesn’t enable them to have the freedom of movement required for them to thrive.
7.5 square ft is the minimum size recommended by the RSPCA (UK) and the Humane Society (US) but 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. Some rescues will require an enclosure that is 10 square ft.
When looking at cages online, ignore the fact that a description states a cage is large or extra large and check the actual dimensions for yourself. In many cases you will find the cage is actually very small.
Many of the plastic cages are a lot smaller than they may first appear. The base often slants inwards, needlessly taking away space from their living area. Even if the cage measurements for a plastic cage are given as 160cm x 60cm, the space your guinea pigs have inside the cage is likely to be considerably smaller than this. This is why we don’t recommend any of these cages.
The cage your guinea pigs live in must be safe, providing a stress-free environment and one that is safe from harm. There are several things to look at when checking if a cage is safe.
If you decide to make your own cage out of wood, it’s important to use 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 can make sure 100% that it is not able to be nibbled by your guinea pigs.
It might be ok for certain pets to have a cage with 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.
Guinea pigs will get serious foot problems if they are made to live in a cage that has a wire base.
A guinea pig’s cage must always have a smooth flat base which means wood, plastic or a canvas base which is how the Midwest Habitat is designed.
On top of the smooth, flat base you will need to add some bedding which can be a disposable bedding such as kiln dried pine shavings or a washable bedding such as fleece liners. There are also many other types of bedding you could use in your guinea pig’s 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 the gaps. 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 we recommend are 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 suitable for very tiny young guinea pigs so you may need to cover the grids in some way until they grow bigger. Alternatively you could start with a cage that has smaller spacing between the bars and upgrade later.
Many guinea pig owners have open cages (a cage without a top). We love these cages as it allows for a lot more interaction between you and your guinea pigs.
If you don’t have other pets, and the sides of your cage are a good height (36cm / 14 inches high), an open top cage is a safe option. It would be unusual for a guinea pig to jump and they are not climbing pets.
If you have other pets such as dogs or cats, you’ll need to make sure you buy an indoor cage that provides enough protection between them and your guinea pigs. This usually means you’ll need a roof for your cage.
All the cages we recommend here have the option of a roof. You can even make a roof for a C&C cage. We show how to do this in our Youtube Video “How to Make a Hinged Lid for a 2×4 C&C Cage”
A guinea pig cage doesn’t necessarily need a stand and can be put directly on the floor. But, if you have other pets, your guinea pigs may become stressed being on the same level. Having the cage raised on a stand, table or some sturdy piece of furniture will help to make them feel safer. It will also be a lot easier to clean a cage that is raised from the ground.
A stand can also serve as storage for all your guinea pig accessories. It is quite easy to build a C&C cage stand, and, if you are looking for a piece of furniture to act as a stand and storage, a sideboard is a great idea as it usually has drawers and cupboard space.
The multi level cages that you see in the pet shops and online may be suitable for other rodents who like climbing but guinea pigs don’t like to climb and these cages are very bad for guinea pigs.
The only time we would suggest a multi-level cage is if you are building a large C&C cage where you are able to build a very gently sloping ramp. You would also need to make sure the ramp was not at all slippery but had plenty of grip.
Even then, this will not suit all guinea pigs, especially those that have less mobility such as an older piggy, or one that suffers from arthritis. The guinea pig may simply not be able to use the ramp, or may find it painful when they try to use it. The age of your guinea pig and any special needs they may have should be taken into consideration before buying your cage.
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 because it was on the floor and under a sloping ceiling, this made it really awkward to clean.
We’ve since built our own extra large wooden cage which sits on a very large sturdy piece of furniture. This makes it really easy to clean out.
If your cage has a lid, make sure you can easily remove it or raise it up for access when cleaning.
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 needing easy access to the cage to clean it, you will also want to make sure you can easily pick up your guinea pigs when you need to take them out.
Guinea pigs are not always easy to pick up as they are easily scared and run away. An open topped cage is ideal and makes picking them up much easier. However, if you don’t have an open cage, make sure you buy one, like the cages listed on this page, which you can access from the top and not just the sides.
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 realising.
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 that 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...