Guinea pig wars

The guinea pigs are on the warpath. It’s like dealing with battling adolescents.

I am in danger of becoming obsessed with guinea pigs. When we got our guinea pigs I foolishly believed that the girls would look after them and that they were "low maintenance". This is relatively true in that they don’t actually do much. Except poo. They produce pile upon pile of poo. Every day. The guinea pig book says you should clear the poo each day so religiously I get up early and clean them out, give them food and clear up the debris they have caused on the floor since I brought them inside for the winter. I would feel so responsible to go out one morning and find two stiff little bodies and have to bear the bad tidings to sobbing children.

I have to admit they seemed quite docile and easy to love – that is, until about a month ago. I suddenly noticed that, while I was working and focusing on important issues like flexible working and interviewing VIPs, there was a growing crescendo of squeaks in the background. Aware that I sounded like I was working from the middle of a pet shop, I decided to investigate. It turns out that the smallest guinea pig is going through a teenage strop stage and has turned on poor Speedy. Speedy had, until then, been known for his temperamental nature. It appears, and I know I am using human cod psychology here, that Caramel [the younger guinea pig] is taking his revenge on Speedy’s moodiness and has been biting Speedy in the back. He has teeth marks up and down his spine and the other day was fairly quivering in his nest. I have taken decisive action [I think]. I have put an ice cream lid down one side of the cage sellotaped to the entrance to the nest [I considered cardboard briefly, but I know they eat that]. I had words with Caramel. He is looking a bit arrogant. I fear I am going off him rapidly, but I know if I shun him it could make matters worse. It’s almost as difficult as having children! We now have two cages as my mum has brought over her extra one. They are facing each other from the grilles of different cages. I am hoping Caramel will eventually realise he misses Speedy and not just because he provides some sort of exercise for his very prominent front teeth.
Meanwhile, the cat, who has had a bit of a sore throat, completely ignores them with all the disdain of one who knows he has been around a lot longer than these little do-nothing-much imposters…

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