I noticed in the “Comment” section that Kramer asked several questions about holding a piggy: “BTW, how did you get used to holding a guinea pig? Or did it ever bother you? Tossing the idea around of getting one myself, but just can’t get past my feeling that it’s a ‘rat’.”
First, let me confess, I’ve never touched a rat. I almost did when I was visiting my nephews a couple of months ago. They have two pet rats, but I didn’t have a chance to pet them because we were in and out of their house too quickly. So I can’t make an educated comparison between rats and guinea pigs. Although I can guaran-damn-tee you that I never would have even imagined touching a rat before I had a guinea pig.
But really, the comparison isn’t important. The bottom line is the creep factor of touching a rodent. My initial approach was to pet the top of a guinea pig’s head because I also had a fear of being bitten. Once I felt the soft fur, it reminded me of a bunny, and no one is creeped out by a bunny. When I finally decided to hold a guinea pig, the scary part was how much it wiggled and not wanting to drop it or squeeze it too hard.
Just looking at a guinea pig’s cute little face and lack of disgusting long tail helps overcome the rat phobia. If you’re the type of person who eases into new thing, you may want to take baby steps to hold a guinea pig by petting it while someone else holds it. If you’re the type who dives right in, go to a pet shop and ask to see one. Just hold on because they’re quick and easy to drop. Wear long sleeves because their little nails can scratch.
Scientists are debating whether guinea pigs should even be classified in the rodent family. Personally, I hope they stay in that classification because it makes me feel brave and open-minded for getting past that “rat” feeling. I think you can, too.