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I've made tons of recommendations throughout my site but there are some that don't belong to any particular area. Hence this page will be for those recommendations that do not come under any specific topic.

Where do they go?
Cavy on the loose!
Transporting cavies
Piggy Sitting
Beware of Kaytee!
Inaccurate labelling
Pet Shops
Metric conversion

Where do they go?

Its time to clean the cage, so where do those furballs go? Basically you can either let them run around a cavy safe surrounding or transfer them to another cage. I used to let them run about in the balcony whenever I clean their cage. Big mistake! They'd pee & poop all over the place & get themselves all dirty & wet.

Therefore what I tried was transfer them to my old plastic bottom cage whenever I clean their wire bottom cage. I used about 1 cm of aspen shavings as bedding. That's the 3 girls below sitting in their temporary cage wondering what's going on!

However placing them in a second cage meant I had not 1 but 2 cages to clean. Very time consuming & tiring! So eventually I gave up this idea. Now I line their small carrier (which I use to transport them to Melissa's) with tons of newspapers & place them in there for the time being while their main cage is being cleaned. Luckily cleaning the plastic bottom cage with barrier is fast, so they're in the carrier for 20 mins at the most.

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Cavy on the loose!

Okay so you decided to take your cavy out of the cage & now its run away. What do you do? First of all, you should always make sure you are in a confined area before you even think of letting your cavies out for a stroll. So if the cage is in your room, shut your room door. If the cage is in a balcony or some large open space, bring it into a room & then shut the door. This way if your cavy escapes at least its within the room & its easier for you to catch it.

Alternatively, you may get that kind of collapsable fencing (pictured below) to ensure your cavy is running about in a controlled area. When you're done just collapse the fencing & voila. If you do not ensure your cavy is in an enclosed place before letting it out, you're gonna have a tough time chasing it around your house should it escape!

Having said that, it does NOT mean you will have no troubles as long as you let your cavies out in an enclosed place. If you use a wire bottom cage, they could still run away & decide to hide in the removable plastic tray below the cage. That's what happened to Fe Fe & boy did I have a messy time getting her out!

Always remember that no matter what happens, never ever squeeze your cavy. It is better to have a loose grip & let it get away. You can always try again. If you squeeze too hard you could end up killing the furball. Most likely an escaped cavy will not come running back into your hands. So you have to think of ways to get it back. Perhaps chase it into a corner or something. There are thousands of scenarios & I can't possible describe all. So my best advice is to ensure the area is enclosed & move fast but be gentle.

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Transporting cavies

This is usually trips to the vet or groomer. You can buy puppy or kitten carriers but make sure cavies can't squeeze through any gaps that may be present. A top loading carrier isn't very good 'cos if the cavy struggles, you may have a tough time lowering him into the carrier. Get a side loading one instead & make sure both your hands can fit in. If your skills are good, you may be able to modify the cage so that it can accomodate a water bottle. However this is usually not compulsary 'cos a trip to the vet or groomer doesn't take that long.

Bedding isn't recommended here unless you want all the bedding being kicked out of the cage & littered everywhere. Just line the cage bottom with sufficient black & white newspapers. Its a good idea to bring more newspapers in case those in the cage get soaked, then you can replace them. Having some familiar items like food dish or perhaps their favourite toilet roll in the cage will help them feel more at ease. This would be a good time to use tons of hay. Not only can your cavies eat the hay, it also acts as a cushioning in the event that your cavies get thrown around in the carrier. They can also burrow into the hay & hide there if frightened. So if you can afford it, put about 6 to 8 cm of hay above the newspapers. If that's too costly, then at least give them a generous handfull to eat or nest in.

Ensure the door can be locked & is tight. I have no idea how you're gonna transport live animals on public transport. Buses & the MRT certainly don't allow pets & I'm sure most taxis don't welcome them either. The only thing I can think of is to phone for a cab & tell the company that you want a cabbie who will accept pets. Assure the company & the cabbie that your cavies are will remain in their carrier & will not run or pee all over the cab. Have a cloth ready so you can cover the side of the carrier that is facing the air-con.

This is important 'cos you don't want your cavies catching a cold from exposure to the air-con. Hold the carrier tightly with your arms but do NOT press it too hard against your lap. I discovered that the closer the carrier is to you lap, the more the bumps on the road are felt by the occupants. If you can see a road hump approaching, lift the cage off your lap. You want to ensure your furballs are comfy as possible.

If you are driving, place the carrier in the front passenger seat & on the floor. Never place the carrier on the seat 'cos if you need to brake suddenly, the cage may topple over. Once again ensure the sides of the carrier that are exposed to the air-con are covered with a cloth. It would help to turn the air-con vents near the cage upwards.

Since you are the driver, you can control the way the car moves. Avoid jerking or braking too hard. When it comes to humps, go over them slowly rather than speeding over them. You're supposed to slow down at a hump anyway!! Avoid horning unless absolutely necessary. Needless to say, blaring Metallica's latest track at full blast is totally inappropriate!

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Piggy Sitting

So you're planning your vacation & you're wondering what's going to become of the furballs. Well if your neighbour is also a cavy lover, good for you! But how many of us have that kind of luck? So you're next best alternative is finding someone reliable & experienced who is willing to come over daily to look after them, or willing to accept your cavy in his/her home. It would be more convenient for the piggy sitter to have your animal in his home, rather than come to your house daily. But if I had a choice I'd rather the sitter came over to my place once a day to clean the cage, feed them, top up the water, etc.

Do make everything clear to the piggy sitter & have a mutual understanding. Who provides the food & cage? Who pays for the food & vegetables? Will the cavy be alone or with his cavies? If your cavy is going to be in his house, I suggest you make a house visit to see what its like. If his own cavies live in filth, you know what to do! If your cavy has any special condition or habits, do let the sitter know. To avoid misunderstanding, ensure you both understand each other's needs & conditions. If need be, put it in black & white! It would be a good idea to exchange personal particulars too.

If you want the sitter to come to your house, it would be easier if there's someone home. If not you have to really be able to trust him with a set of keys to enter your house. Or perhaps you can leave the keys with a neighbour who will open the door & lock up after he leaves. Its all up to what the both of you agree on. A good place to start looking for piggy sitters is Worldwide Pigsitters. However not many Singaporeans are listed there. So you may have better luck among your circle of cavy lovers. This is one reason why its important to know as many Singaporean cavy lovers as possible!

I wish to state that I am NOT in any way recommending the people on this site. I do not know any of them, neither do I have any idea if they are responsible or not. I mentioned this site merely as an alternative in case people are unable to get a piggy sitter even after asking on message boards or newsgroups. It is your responsibility to check on the sitter prior to handing over your pets, to see if you are satisfied with him/her. The only person I would recommend for piggy sitting is Melissa but unfortunately she's UNABLE to do so 'cos her house lacks space thanks to the many cavies!

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Beware of Kaytee!

I used to use Kaytee Fortidiet & Kaytee timothy hay. I gave up on Fortidiet 'cos it contains Ethoxyquin which is a preservative that can be deadly in large amounts. Even though cavies don't eat much pellets daily, imagine how much is consumed in say five years! As for their hay, the quality has gotten worst. It used to be green & quite soft. Now their timothy hay is yellowish & brown with barely any green hay. Its also very course with very little leaves.

The worsening quality of their hay is one reason I gave up on Kaytee timothy. The second reason was 'cos I found a piece of duct tape in the hay once. On another occassion I found a piece of dried snake in their hay. There have also been many reports on the Cavies Galore message board from our pals in the US, saying they've found things like rat's tail & cockroaches in Kaytee hay. Needless to say, I immediately threw out all my Kaytee hay!

So their pellets & hay suck. I guess their treats should be fine. Wrong! I found weevils coming out of their alfalfa cubes and their Berry Nibblers weren't much better too. It was fine initially but after two weeks, I found a tiny moth inside the bag. Upon closer inspection, I noticed larvae crawling from inside some of the Nibblers. It was a ziplock bag so the larvae or moth couldn't have entered. This means the larvae must've been inside the Nibblers & hatched into moths.

The above mentioned incidents have now made me very wary of all Kaytee products. I believe non-consumable items like Kaytee aspen shavings are still fine. But I have no faith in any of their consumables be it pellets, hay or treats. I have warned all of my pals & likewise I'm issuing a warning here as well. If you do use Kaytee products, please be very vigilant. However wherever possible I urge you to avoid Kaytee products until they can clean up their act!!!

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Inaccurate labelling

Several manufacturers are guilty of inaccurately labelling their products. Some have learnt from their mistakes & made changes. Kaytee's timothy hay used to be labelled "for rabbits" but we all know that timothy hay can be eaten by all small animals. While this may seem like common sense for some of us, new cavy owners may get confused & think that its not suitable for cavies. Fortunately their new packing now says "for small animals".

Another example is Vitakraft's treats. Their alfalfa slims used to be labelled "for small animals" but now says "for rabbits". Their veggie nut treat used to be "for guinea pigs & rabbits" but now it says "for gerbils". Upon looking at both products' ingredients, I find them exactly the same. Which means its just a name change & both are still okay for cavies to eat. Once again, more inaccurate info which can confuse new cavy owners.

If a product you bought before is labelled differently now, my advice is to go through the ingredients thoroughly. If its exactly the same, then it should be safe for cavies even though it may be labelled "for hamsters" or something else. But if the ingredients are different, I think you better not risk it. However if this is the first time you are buying the product I suggest you stick to those that are "for guinea pigs" or "for small animals". If unsure, safer to check with an experienced friend.

As far as multi-purpose pellets are concerned, I don't trust those one bit. How can one type of pellet be suitable for cavies, rabbits, hamster, gerbils, etc? Different animals have different needs & there is a reason why companies like Oxbow produce different pellets to suit different animals. So even if the pellets are labelled "for guinea pigs & rabbits" or "for small animals", I suggest you avoid them & choose only pellets labelled "for guinea pigs".

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Pet Shops

I am frequently asked where I bought this or that item. There are tons of pet shops in S'pore & I can't possible list all of them here. However these are shops I visit & I've also listed some items I've bought from them. Naturally, these are not the only items they sell.

Aquapet Thomson
301 Upper Thomson Road
#01-93/94 Thomson Plaza
Tel: 6456 2521 / 6452 4064

They give me 10% discount so I buy Oxbow Cavy Cuisine, Oxbow orchard grass hay/timothy hay & Feline Pine from them.

Joy Doggy Pet Shop
197 Upper Thomson Road
opp. Sin Ming Plaza
Tel: 6252 2889
joydoggy@singnet.com.sg

They also give me 10% discount so I buy Oxbow Cavy Cuisine, Oxbow orchard grass hay/timothy hay & Feline Pine from them. In fact they are nearer to my home than Aquapet Thomson, so I tend to visit Joy Doggy more often.

Pet Essentials
10 Woodlands Road
opp. Ten Mile Junction
Tel: 6763 3749
petessential@pacific.net.sg

I seldom come here 'cos its so far from my house. But if I am unable to find Oxbow orchard grass hay or timothy hay, then I will come here for the American Pet Diner timothy hay. They have some unique stuff that I've not seen at other places such as Oxbow papaya tablets, American Pet Diner apple treats, Mazuri pellets, etc. They also have giant size bags of Woody Pet & Kaytee aspen shavings. Pity its so far from my house 'cos the variety is pretty good.

Pet Lovers Centre
301 Upper Thomson Road
#01-75 Thomson Plaza
Tel: 6452 6032
info@petlovers.com.sg

No discount given so I seldom get stuff from them. Only time I patronise them is when Joy Doggy & Aquapet Thomson are out of Cavy Cuisine, Oxbow orchard grass hay/timothy hay or Feline Pine.

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Metric conversion

Most pet products are from the US & they have a different measurement system from us. As such it might be a bit confusing for some of us. Below I have listed the conversion for the measurement units that you may find useful. These conversions were done using Admiral Metals Automated Metric Conversion Calculator.

1 inch = 2.54 cm
1 foot = 30.48 cm
1 sq feet = 929.0304 sq cm
1 oz = 31.103 gm
1 lb = 373.24 gm
34 degree celsius = 93.2 degree fahrenheit

If you would like to do more conversions, below are several conversion websites you may find useful.

AsiaOne Currency Convertor
Admiral Metals Automated Metric Conversion Calculator
Science Made Simple - Online Metric Length Convertor

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