Thursday, December 18, 2008

Guinea Pigs Are Not Rocket Scientists

I don't know why it should come as any surprise to me that guinea pigs are not that bright, but after two years of living with rabbits, who are held back only by the fact that they don't have opposable thumbs, I forget how not bright they really are. Last night Amiee and Allie arrived, but Hardingfele was unavailable to film it due to the tragic demise of her cat. (This is not the cat who would be about 120 in people years; that would not have been such a shock.) Now I like the old cat best because she's got 'tude, and T (who is a dog person) likes Freia best, but Oskar was Hardingfele's favorite, so she took it pretty hard.

Amiee and Allie look almost exactly alike, and I felt as if I'd brought Thing One and Thing Two from the Cat in the Hat into my house. Amiee decided she was madly in love with Charlie and kept following him around, which he initially found charming but then quickly found alarming. Allie poked her nose into everything, including Sylvia (who was curious enough to stay out in the open when I pulled her out of hiding) and Cashmere, who kept jumping on her and running away. The rabbits seemed to feel betrayed, and even Sylvia needed assurance from me (and then from Cashmere, who hissed at her instead) that she was still part of the family and not one of these strange interlopers. Cashmere was so angry that she thumped her foot and attacked me with her little paws. (At least she didn't bite!) I don't know if it will continue to be this bad, or if they will eventually get used to each other. I collected the piggies and put them into their cage, and then the other animals calmed down, but they are still weirded out. (Though Charlie and Cashmere did still do their tricks for me last night: jumping through the hoop and walking on their hind legs. Anything for a treat!)

Here is my handy comparison for anyone thinking of rabbits vs. guinea pigs for pets:

Intelligence
Rabbits: It is highly possible that they can read, considering how they chew up the MOST important papers first
Guinea pigs: Can be taught their own names

Cuteness
Rabbits: No contest. What's cuter than a living stuffed animal?
Guinea pigs: Cute, if you can get past the fact that they look like giant, tailless rats

Cuddliness
Rabbits: Cuddle at your own risk; will snuggle up to you of their own accord
Guinea pigs: HIGHLY cuddlable (is that a word?)

Personality
Rabbits: As complex as people; Charlie can be clingy or cheerful, and Cashmere can be delightful or a diva
Guinea pigs: Easy-going, but some are shyer than others

Confinement
Rabbits: They need plenty of space to bounce around
Guinea pigs: Perfectly happy in a cage

Bossiness
Rabbits: Who made you the boss? So what if you're bigger? Not fair!
Guinea pigs: Time to eat? OK. Time to go home? OK. Time to play? OK

Cuisine
Guinea pigs: Eaten by Peruvians
Rabbits: Eaten by everything

Which is the superior pet? Guinea pigs, being smaller and calmer, are better for children. Rabbits, being smarter and cuter, are better for Famous Hat, but hopefully I will readjust to guinea pigs! A caveat on the cavies: My parents are coming this weekend, and if they are jonesin' for more guinea pigs, maybe I will send Amiee and Allie home with them.

Famous Hat

1 comment:

Hardingfele and Tailor said...

A small obituary to Oskar is on my blog http://hardingfele.livejournal.com

I have no experience with guinea pigs, but will concur with famous hat that they are not very bright. But they may be brighter than Sylvia