G. Guinea Pigs Are Great!
I am a big proponent of pets for kids. It teaches them responsibility and gives them a sense of pride. Pets can help a shy kid gain more confidence and can help a hyperactive child learn to slow down to gain the animal’s trust.
I grew up on a semi-farm and had horses, goats, rabbits, cats and dogs as pets. I also had to take care of a cow, chickens and turkeys, but they were for food, not pets. When I got older and we moved, I got my first bird and I have had a bird most of my life since.
My kids have had birds, hamsters and a frog. But for some reason, neither I nor my kids, have ever had a guinea pig – until about 3 weeks ago. (Except for the time I brought home the science class’s pet guinea pig for the weekend without asking my parents’ permission. Sorry again, Mom.)
We are now the proud owners of 2 guinea pigs, Alexa and Allison. And they are great pets! They are especially good as first pets. Here are our experiences so far:
1) Although they can be skittish and a bit hard to catch in the cage, once out, they sit very quietly and seem to like being cuddled by the kids.
2) They have never bitten or scratched intentionally. They have nibbled on a finger when it has been next to a carrot they were eating, but it didn’t hurt.
3) Because they don’t climb out, they can have a cage that is open on the top. This makes it easy for the kids to get in to the cage, and it means they can’t accidentally leave a door unlocked!
4) They are the perfect size for small hands.
5) They are piggies. I am amazed by how much they eat.
6) They purr! I had no idea that guinea pigs purr, but they do, and it is worth hearing. They also make a variety of other sounds that are cute.