Q: What is a C&C Cage?
A: As far as we can tell, the original C&C cage design was developed (and made popular) a few years ago by an innovative guinea pig rescue organization. This cage style was developed as a matter of necessity so that the guinea pig shelter could efficiently house a large number of pigs in a cost-effective manner. For this reason, to this day, the C&C cage tends to have a very low cost per square-inch of living space -- in other words - C&C cages tend to offer a lot of cage for the money.
The mysterious name C&C originates from the two main materials used to construct this category of small animal cage: Cubes and Coroplast.
The frame and wire lattice portion of the cage is built from wire grids normally used in the assembly of wire grid storage cubes.
The second C in C&C comes from the other fundamental material used in C&C cage construction -- Coroplast. Coroplast is a trade name and is essentially a contraction of the product description: corrugated plastic. Coroplast is corrugated polypropylene plastic sheeting and is used to form the litter pan or bin in the bottom of the cage.
C&C cages are almost always built as do-it-yourself projects and tend to be very much larger (and therefore healthier for your pig) than standard manufactured "pet store cages".
For more information, please view our short 10 minute video at the above right.
Q: How large of a guinea pig cage do I need?
A: In reality, there is no best size for a guinea pig cage. The simple rule is: the bigger the better. However there are minimum cage-size guidelines that many guinea pig rescue organizations and guinea pig advocacy groups recommend. A quick search on the internet will reveal the following approximate de facto standards for minimum cage sizes:
One guinea pig: 6-7 sq. ft.
Two guinea pigs: 7.5 sq. ft.
Three guinea pigs: 10.5 sq. ft.
Four guinea pigs: 13 sq. ft.
Because guinea pigs are social creatures, it is recommended to keep a minimum of two guinea pigs together. For this reason, if you want your pigs to enjoy an optimal environment, you need never consider a cage under 7.5 sq. ft.
In general, commercial cages (I like to refer to them as "pet store cages") tend to be under 3 square-feet. Commercial cages much larger than this are difficult to find and are apt to be quite costly. For this reason, conscientious guinea pig owners tend to gravitate toward C&C or Cubes and Coroplast cages.
Q: Do I need a lid? Can’t the guinea pigs get out if the cage isn’t fully enclosed? A: Ever seen a guinea pig in a tree? No—guinea pigs are not climbers. The standard 14-inch wall height of C&C cages will easily contain them. Although we have seen a few pigs climb onto their nest box and have even seen one climb up onto a hayrack; we have never seen or heard of a pig that “went over the wall”. (Although we have heard stories of a ferret in Montana that carved a fake gun out of a carrot and took a toddler as hostage.)
We have always kept our pigs in uncovered cages. It makes it much more convenient to pet them, feed them, clean their cages—to interact with them.
We highly recommend fully enclosed cages for homes with “domestic predators”. By that we mean cats, dogs, small children—others that might harm your pigs. Or buy an enclosed cage if it just makes you feel more secure.
Our recommendation: if you think something might harm your pig, buy a fully enclosed cage. If your home is perfectly safe, buy an open cage. You and your pigs will better get to know one another with one less barrier between you.
Q: Most C&C cages don't seem to have a bottom. Do I really need a bottom for my cage?
A: It depends on where you are going to be using your cage. If you set up your cage on the floor (as many people do) then a cage with no bottom will be fine. In fact, this is the most economical way to go. If, however, you intend to set up your cage on a table for added convenience, then for the safety of your guinea pigs, we strongly recommend buying or building a cage that has a bottom. Another reason you may want to add a bottom to larger cages is that it is difficult to add wheels to a bottomless cage. Most BlueStoneCommerce cages are built with bottoms to allow the options of placing the cage on the floor, placing it on a table and/or adding wheels to the cage.
See our short video at upper right for a dramatic demonstration of the serious consequences of not having a cage with a bottom.
Q: What are the litter pans or bins made out of? Won’t my pet chew on them? And what happens if they do? Will this harm my pet? A: Chewing on the plastic bins will, in no way, harm your pet. We design all of our products with your pets’ safety in mind.
The bins and ramp of all BlueStoneCommerce cages are made from Coroplast which is a safe, non-toxic, highly stable polypropylene plastic material. It is chemically inert (at regular temperatures most oils, solvents and water have no effect) and is generally considered non-toxic and safe for use in contact with food. The fact that solvents have no effect, tells us that this is not a digestible material and, should it be ingested, will pass harmlessly through your pet’s digestive system. The fact that it is approved for use in contact with food assures us that it is non-toxic.
While Coroplast is soft enough for your guinea pig to chew, the vast majority of Guinea Pigs will not chew up the plastic bins or ramp. (This has also been our experience with our own guinea pigs.) Many pigs never chew at all and some pigs chew a little bit early on just to test their new surroundings. They put everything in their mouths to test it - just like human babies. Usually after a few nibbles, they discover that corrugated plastic isn't so good to eat, and they leave it alone from that day forward.
Only a little less than 1% of our customers contact us because their pigs have chewed up the bin. And a little less than 2% contact us for a replacement ramp because their pigs have chewed the existing ramp.
Rabbits are a different story. They generally love to chew. We have recently begun recommending that chew-resist augmentations be made to C&C cages before housing rabbits in them.
View the video at above right to learn how to make your C&C cage chew-resistant.
Q: What is Coroplast? It looks like cardboard.
A: Coroplast is not cardboard nor is it plastic-coated cardboard. It is an extruded twin-wall polypropylene plastic sheet product. In other words, it's 100% plastic. It's a corrugated sheet of plastic and it is used to form the litter pans or bins of C&C cages.
It is waterproof and chemically inert. It is generally considered non-toxic and safe for use in contact with food. At regular temperatures most oils, solvents and water have no effect, allowing it to perform under adverse weather conditions or as a product component exposed to harsh chemicals. All this means that it's extremely safe for your pigs—it's non-toxic and non-digestible (it will pass harmlessly through your pigs if they chew on it). And it will stand up to years of washing with household cleaners and/or vinegar.
Yes, it resembles cardboard in structure—but that's a good thing. The fluted structure makes it a very strong material as can be seen in the accompanying video. And it is comprised of a completely different material than cardboard. Cardboard is made from paper. Coroplast is made from polypropylene plastic.
This material was originally chosen years ago for guinea pig cage application by a guinea pig rescue organization as a way of economically constructing large living quarters for rescued pigs. It is lightweight and durable and, if not abused, will last for years in your guinea pig cage.
View the video at right to learn all about Coroplast and see a dramatic demonstration of it's strength.
Q: Most C&C cages that I have seen have six-inch walls. Why do BlueStoneCommerce cages use only five-inch walls? A: As nearly as we can tell, six-inches is the de facto standard established years ago by a pet rescue organization for no other reason than to insure that bedding and other debris was not kicked out of the cage. We at BlueStoneCommerce have noticed that six-inches is just above eye-level for most pigs. We have found that lowering the wall by one-inch gives your pigs a much better view of the world and that a five-inch wall is still very effective in containing debris.
Q: Do I put bedding or litter in the top level of a two-level cage? A: It depends upon the cage. Some of our cages have shorter walls on the upper level. These platforms were designed as “observation decks” where your pigs could go up and just take a look around. The walls were made shorter so that the pigs can easily see out. These bins were designed to be used without litter. However, you can certainly put litter in them if you wish. Just understand that some of it may get kicked out by your pigs.
Upper levels with standard five-inch walls were designed to double the effective living space—just like a two-story house. These bins should be filled with bedding.
Q: Why are BlueStoneCommerce assembly instructions so extensive?
They are very comprehensive and contain lots of pictures so that anyone can use them. Even if the only thing you’ve ever built is a reputation as a klutz, you should still be able to build one of our cages. We’ve had teenage boys build our cages. We once had a lady who’d never built anything before in her life build a three-level cage with a lid (77 grids, 255 tie-wraps). She wanted to do it herself so she worked on it when her husband was gone. When she was done, she emailed us and told us that; while it may have taken her six hours, she did it! She was so proud of herself. We were proud of her too.
We recommend that you do not print out the manual when you receive it. (Kills a lot of trees). Just review it and refer to it on your monitor while you build or selectively print out just the pages you need. If you’re one of those people that just has to print it out (I have those tendencies), we recommend that you print it ½ size.
Q: Why do you use tie wraps (also called cable ties) instead of plastic connectors?
Strength. Tie wraps are strong and that makes our cages strong, sturdy and durable. Simply put, our cages won’t fall apart─even after many years of use. Many of our competitors use press-on plastic connectors. Sure, they’re easier to put together─they just “press on. But unfortunately, they also just “pull off”. In most cases plastic connectors work just fine. But, as I’ve said before, how would you feel if the walls in your house were just snapped together?
View the video to see for yourself how easy it is to install these durable fasteners. Also, see a convincing demonstration of the superior performance of tie-wraps as compared to the plastic press-on connectors supplied by many other C&C cage sellers. Learn exactly why tie-wraps are the better choice.
Q: I have heard that guinea pigs are ground-dwelling animals. Do they really climb ramps? A: Yes, most do. Some don't.
Most pigs take to ramps right away. Some of those that don't initially like them can be trained to use them by putting food on a different level or even on the ramp itself.
You are right about pigs being ground-dwellers, and that is precisely why we think they like ramps. When pigs are on the top level and they are startled, they quickly scurry down the ramp - just like running into a burrow.
Q: Are ramps with wire grids on the surface for traction a good idea?
A: Everything we've read from guinea pig care books to guinea pig rescue organization websites has told us to stay away from wire grids. They have a reputation for injuring guinea pigs' feet, legs and nails. They also are reputed to cause sores on the bottom of their feet.
All BlueStoneCommerce ramps are covered with corrugated polypropylene plastic (Coroplast) - the same material used to form the cage bins. This surface provides positive traction yet is safe for your pigs to walk on.
See the video at right to view some BlueStoneCommerce ramps. Learn all about the materials used in the construction of various types of guinea pig and rabbit cage ramps. See demonstrations of various BlueStoneCommerce ramp designs under heavy loads.
Q: What if the ramp gets soiled. How hard is it to clean? A: First of all, your ramp will get soiled. Given room to run, guinea pigs are active creatures. Rest assured that in only a short time, your ramp will be covered with bedding, hay, pellets and various other “piggy digestive artifacts”.
Also rest assured that our ramps are easy to clean. Just remove them, clear off the debris and brush them off or wipe them down. Our ramps are made with 100% water-resistant materials. So if your ramp gets really soiled, you can wash it gently in warm water and vinegar and rinse. Be sure to tip up to let water drain and allow it to dry thoroughly.
Q: What is a Shelter/Hayrack and how does it work? A: It’s an idea that we developed here at BluestoneCommerce. It’s a bush. Yes, I know, it doesn’t look like a bush ─ but functionally, that’s what it is.
I got the idea when our pet rabbit ran out the front door. He didn’t shoot off across the lawn and run off into the sunset. Instead, he headed straight for our shrubs to lay low. That’s when I realized that prey animals like rabbits and rodents like to stay under bushes and other things to avoid predators from the sky and land. They also like to graze while they’re under there.
This was the concept behind the BluestoneCommerce Shelter / Hay Rack. This device is blanketed with hay. The guinea pig can lay under it for shelter and security and also reach up and eat from it - thus satisfying both of its natural instincts.
Also, there is no need for an additional hay rack. This saves cage space for your pig and dollars for you. Our pigs absolutely love it! Yours will too!!!
Q: You keep stressing strength and sturdiness of your cages. Do they really have to be that strong to hold a couple one-pound guinea pigs. And do you really need wheels to roll around these same one-pound pigs?
A: Yes, with bedding, water bottles and other items, larger cages can weigh over 50-lbs.
Watch the video for more information on these subjects. This interesting video shows you our biggest cage ever - the Deluxe Colonial Homestead with Storage being tested under heavy loads. Also - See Cosmo - the 15 lb wonder pig.
Just for Fun: You can follow the link to another video of "Cosmo - the 15 lb wonder-pig" starring in his own YouTube video: "Cosmo the Conehead Dog"
Q: Does BlueStoneCommerce make money on shipping and handling charges?
No. We make money designing and selling cages (the fun part of our job). We don’t make any money on shipping and handling (the boring part of our job). Your cost of shipping is the calculated cost that UPS charges us plus we add a small amount (because we’re not in business to lose money) to cover the expense of the box (because of the odd dimensions of our product, we use custom boxes made especially for us); packing materials; and the labor to pack the cage.
We here at BlueStoneCommerce use UPS Ground for all of our cage deliveries. It is the absolute cheapest service that we have found so far (and very reliable). Fact is, you can find real bargains on eBay, but it still costs money to ship a heavy (30 – 60 lb) object from Detroit to Zortman, Montana. Additionally, because of the large corrugated plastic sheet, we get charged extra for being oversized.