Parlez vous guinea pig?

People who poo-poo having a guinea pig for a pet seem to have the impression that they are boring little creatures. Granted, they pale to an almost invisible shade in comparison to a dog. Having a dog is like having a toddler you can leave alone for hours, who loves you unconditionally and, if you train it right, actually does what you tell it. No, guinea pigs aren’t in the league of dogs, but they do have their own distinctive personalities.

One of the charming things about cavies is their vocalization. It’s like having a little foreigner in your house that speaks a language you don’t understand, but you keep hearing the same sounds so you’re sure they mean something. Searching online you’ll find people have identified the different sounds and assigned them meanings, but I’m not sure what to believe.

Mr. Cucoloris Jr., my previous guinea pig, had an extensive vocabulary. In the morning he would start whistling like an alarm clock for lettuce, the same sound he’d make whenever he heard the refrigerator door open, the sound of plastic rustling or the snap open or close of his plastic food container. If a plane flew overhead or there was another menacing sound, he would make a deep purring growl. When he sat on my lap he had another sound like a squeaky monkey. That’s the sound I hear most frequently from Princess Piggy Poo. She’s somewhat quiet compared to Junior. And, not a pig at all, she doesn’t stand on two feet peering out the top of her cage whistling for food. She doesn’t even eat in front of me. I leave her goodies and she waits until I leave the room to take the produce from the bowl into her cave to enjoy.

I’m hoping the monkey screeches frequently uttered by Princess Piggy Poo mean she’s happy. Otherwise, she’s been giving me a piece of her mind for the past two months and I’m obliviously pleased that she’s speaking to me.

Ultimately, the pleasure of having a pet comes not just from the interactions but also in caring for it and watching it thrive. Even though my allergy doctor thinks I’m an idiot for getting a pet again, I’m so happy to have Princess Piggy Poo—even if I don’t understand a sound she makes.

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2 Responses to Parlez vous guinea pig?

  1. Beth S says:

    I was one of those people who didn’t “get it” about guinea pigs, but reading your posts, I’m starting to see the appeal. Princess seems to be living up to her name — a dainty lady who is demure enough to want to sup in private.

  2. kramer says:

    While I admittedly prefer dogs over guinea pigs, I would never “poo-poo” little Princess’s distinct and precious qualities. It seems to me that their vocalization techniques are much the same as any other pet. I’ve never had a dog who didn’t speak up when the refrigerator door opened or when he saw me going for his bag of doggie food or, and especially, when I went for the special “doggie cookies”!! I believe Princess Piggy is speaking to you, as I’m sure you are speaking to her . . . with pets, treats, and that secret language between a pet and a humanoid. 🙂

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