Guinea pig suddenly scared of cage

Matasha

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I've had my guinea pig for a little over 5 years, since he was 2 months old. He is not usually scared of things, but just this week, out of the blue, he became petrified of being in his cage. He was very sniffy and spazzed out, running to the corner of the cage. He would not eat or drink, he was just frozen in fear. I took him out of the cage and into his play pen and once there he was pretty normal, eating and being social.

I've read a few posts about different things to do such as, cleaning out his cage- looks for insects or anything else - found nothing, giving him a bath, just leaving him alone keeping the same routine. Nothing has seem to work. When I did try and place him back in the cage he was sniffing again, looked at one side and ran frantically to the corner again. He tried to climb out and stayed in a corner for hours - no eating, drinking or even using the bathroom so I placed him back in the play pen. He is not as comfortable in there now and hides, but still eats, drinks and uses the bathroom.
When I take him out and place him in my lap, he is more relaxed and at ease, but not in the play pen as much or the cage still.

It's been 2 days about to go on 3 days with this behavior.

He used to have a cage-mate, who passed over a month ago. He had time to say his goodbye when it happened and he was been oddly very happy since the passing (they did not always get along.) Having and raising guinea pigs was definitely a positive experience, but I fear that if I do get another guinea pig, I will have a never ending cycle of them and the one I have now is the last one I plan to have for awhile. Along with the fact, that he never truly loved, but mostly only tolerated, his cage mate, I worry that if I were to get another one he would never get along with it, especially since he's old and a bit grumpy at times. Mostly happy though.

I am making a vet appointment for a general checkup as soon as possible and I plan on moving the cage a few feet over from where it is currently is in hopes that will help. I've read that it can take days or even a week for him to get out of his funk, but I feel bit hopeless at the moment. I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions?
 

LizzyHoy

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That is a surprising behaviour! Have you put anything new in the room where the cage is, or anything that smells different? One of my guineas once had a bad behavioural reaction to a Christmas tree being put in the room(!) (although it might have been a coincidence). That lasted about a day, and she was fine again afterwards. Could you try moving the cage to the location where the play pen is?

I had two female guinea pigs, Denise and Shirley. Denise passed away in July age 7 and I was a bit shocked that Shirley didn't seem to care at all - her behaviour didn't change. However Denise had been ill for some time, and I think Shirley had dealt with that emotionally when it first happened (by eating Denise's fur!) About three weeks after Denise died, Shirley got unwell with bloat. The vet and I didn't think it was linked to Denise dying as Shirley had been fine for about 3 weeks after. She got better from the bloat with treatment.

I'm in a similar position to you - I have had lots of super guineas over the years but I am planning to have a pause in guinea ownership after Shirley passes away, due to my job and living situation. I mentioned to the vet about whether Shirley needed another companion, but we agreed she didn't as she was happy in herself and she is old. Seeing as your guinea is 5 (quite old) and happy in himself (at least most of the time) then I don't think a new friend is essential. It might also stress him out to deal with a new guinea. Other people might have different opinions but that is my perspective on it. Alternatively if you end up coming to the conclusion that he is definitely lonely (if nothing else works/the vet says so), then you could investigate whether there are rescues nearby that would let you foster a guinea pig until the guinea pig you already own passes away.
 

Siikibam

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@LizzyHoy Guinea pigs are not wired to live alone therefore saying a new friend isn’t essential is wrong. 5 isn’t particularly old and he could live another two years alone. Your options are to see if a rescue will let you foster a friend for him. And once your boy passes away you’d surrender the companion back to them.

The other alternative is to surrender him to a rescue so he can be matched with another.

As for being scared, perhaps you could try covering the cage with a blanket so that he feels safer.
 
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