Friday, August 14, 2009

Bea's New Digs

This evening I set to work building Beatrice a larger cage. In all of the reading I've been doing the past week, I have learned that most pet store type cages are much too small for guinea pigs to be truly happy. is a great website full of really useful information, so I decided I would follow their advice and build what is called a "C&C cage" ... or "Cubes and Coroplast". The cubes portion are those grid squares that you make utility shelves out of ... you know, you've seen them in utility rooms, laundry rooms, or bathrooms. And coroplast is that corrugated plastic used to make signs. I had a stack of the metal grids donated by the doting "grandparents" and found a great deal on coroplast. Little plug here, for anyone in Saskatoon wanting to get plain coroplast for building one of these babies, check out 77 Signs. They were super helpful and I was able to get what I needed same day for less than $30! has really great instructions on how to build a C&C cage, so check them out. I'm writing this only because my methods may have deviated slightly from theirs. Take you pick!

Step 1: Gather materials
  • Stack of grids and handful of connectors ... I didn't count, so sue me.
  • Hammer to "gently persuade" the connectors onto the grids
  • Pen
  • Exacto knife
  • Zip ties - of particular importance!
  • Tape
  • Beer
  • 2 helpful Shelties

Step 2a: Take a couple of minutes to figure out how the heck the connectors hook onto the grid squares. Once you figure that out, connect the grids to form the perimeter of the cage based on the size guidelines outlined on

Step 2b: Smash the connectors with the hammer, sending them flying across the room and scaring the dogs.

Step 2c: Drink beer and repeat step 2b.

Step 2d: Swear profusely, open the window 'cause it's getting really freakin' hot in here! Return to step 2b and continue.

Step 3a: Place the perimeter frame on the coroplast, in doing so watch as half the connectors and grids fall off.

Step 3b: Curse the damned guinea pig, swearing that she better like this cage or she is becoming dog food and the grids are going in the trash.

Step 3c: Get another beer.

Step 4: Remove all the damned connectors and tie the damned thing together with zip ties.

Step 5: Place back on the coroplast and trace the inside of the frame with a pen.

Step 6: Refer to for instructions on fancy scoring, cutting, folding ... most of which I just winged anyways.

Step 7: Pray to the god of small furries that the frame fits around the coroplast tray.

Step 8: YAY! Celebrate with beer.

Step 9: Realize that the coroplast tray is wedged so tight into the frame that it holds its rectangular nature and you don't even need a bottom to hold things together. Yeah, I planned that all along. Celebrate with beer.

Step 10: Build cubes with one open side ... is that technically still a cube? About 3 should do it. Use them for building a platform to raise the cage off the ground, thus preventing Sheltie-Guinea Pig Cuddling and/or Reindeer Games. Also serve as storage places for guinea pig food, hay, bedding, etc.

Step 11: Line with towels and fleece (YAY for Dollarama!), stock with food, water, hidey thing, and paper tube that is supposedly a good toy for guinea pigs. Sure.

Step 12: Add guinea pig and watch the frivolity!

Turns out Beatrice really does enjoy her new cage. It is MUCH larger than her original cage, and she spent forever exploring her new digs. I think I even witnessed her first popcorning (which is apparently how a guinea pig expressed their happiness ... sorta like Sheltie zoomies?)

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