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Adopting Guinea Pigs from Cavy Spirit
(San Francisco Bay Area Adoptions ONLY)
click here for rescues in other areas

Cavy Spirit is committed to finding high-quality "forever" homes for the guinea pigs in our charge who have already been abandoned at least once in their lives, maybe more. Not just any home in any cage will do. We will work with you to make sure that you have selected the right type of pet for your family. Despite popular thinking, guinea pigs are not ideal "starter" pets and are not ideal for very young children. In fact, the older the children the better. The younger the children, the more involved the parents MUST be in the care and loving of the guinea pigs. 

We have a variety of resources to share with you throughout the entire process. We are not the usual pet store experience--walk in, plunk down some money, buy a bunch of stuff including a guinea pig, and go home. You should allow at least a week for the adoption. Sometimes longer depending on circumstances. But, you will be ensuring a lifetime of happiness for your new pets and yourselves. The impulse and uneducated buy at the pet store is the leading contributor to deaths of millions of animals in shelters every year.

Cartoon graphic of a single lonely looking guinea along on a desert islandReady, Set, ADOPT! Please take the time to read the sections below, then fill out the Online Adoption Application. Feel free to call us, but it helps to have the adoption application filled out first.


A Summary of the Typical Adoption Process

Initial screening (Online Adoption Application preferred or telephone interview).

Additional discussion and clarification (can be via email or on the phone).


Visit Cavy Spirit to look at pigs, cages, and receive more education (times are arranged).Cartoon graphic of a guinea pig popping out of gift box

Prepare for guinea pigs: cage, supplies, pre-order hay, etc. (do not buy a pet store cage, they are not acceptable).

Adoption application must have been completed.

Visit Cavy Spirit again for final piggie selection. Sign contract. Take piggies home.

Follow up visit by Cavy Spirit to your home, final education, tips, lessons, etc.


Follow up phone calls and potential additional follow up visits as needed.

We have a Welcome Back policy. If for any reason, you can no longer keep the guinea pigs that we adopt out to you, we will absolutely take them back. In fact, it is in our contract that they must come back to us rather than being placed anywhere else.

Special Adoption Requirements at Cavy Spirit

We do not adopt out to single guinea pig households. Guinea pigs are a social animal and do best with a pal. We have many pairs or trios. Our pairs are same sex pairs or the males are neutered in the male/female pairs. Our male/male pairs get along just fine. They do not fight. If you are looking for a friend for an existing pig, we have a "dating game" process that has been very successful. However, we must first talk about the health of your guinea pig. Sometimes a vet visit is required prior to bringing your guinea pig here for a visit.

We do not allow cages to be in a child's bedroom. We are firm on this. If you'd like to read the reasons why, please see this page. And no cages in the garage or laundry room.


We do not allow guinea pigs to be housed in pet store cages. They are all too small. We prefer a pair of guinea pigs to be housed in the 2 grid x 4 grid Cubes and Coroplast cage. Details of this cage are on the www.guineapigcages.com website. We frequently help our adopting families put them together. We have ample extra supplies on hand and can easily make the base for you. Our cage is $30 regardless of size (for the base and the grids together)--our cost. If you cannot return a purchased cage, you can use it for travel or vacation stays at a pet sitter's home. 

It should go without saying, but we allow NO BREEDING under any circumstances. We will not place a guinea pig in a home where any pets are bred.

Standard Adoption Requirements at Cavy Spirit

We ask a $25 adoption fee per guinea pig. 

We do not run "sales" or offer "discounts" on the guinea pigs. Part of the reason for the fee is to help cover the very high cost of running the rescue. Another important reason for the fee is to make sure that you can afford the animals. Beyond the cost of the animals you must be prepared to spend money every week on fresh food, dry food, bedding, hay and miscellaneous supplies as necessary. In addition, you must be able to afford any vet bills that become necessary. One bag of CareFresh is necessary per 2x4 grid cage. This must be cleaned out once a week on average. One bag of CareFresh retails for $14-18 dollars. You can find cheaper bedding, but this is the healthiest option for your guinea pigs. In addition to making sure you can afford them, is the notion of value. Many people don't want to spend $100 and up at the vet on an animal that just cost $10. This is, in part, why society has the notion of rodents being "disposable pets." We know that the homes that we adopt out to don't think that way, but many people do, and we are setting a standard.


Any supplies that we may provide to you during the adoption process are given to you at our cost as a convenience to you, including the cages. We do not mark anything up to help pay for the rescue. Our focus is 100% on the placement and welfare of the guinea pigs. We greatly appreciate donations above beyond the fees or reimbursement of expenses that we charge. 


We do not adopt out to children. We do adopt out to families. While a guinea pig may be designated as a child's pet, it must be incorporated into family life. The parents must be "into" the guinea pig as well as the child. No exceptions on this. The NUMBER ONE REASON for the surrender of guinea pigs at shelters and rescues is kids get bored with them and the parents don't want to deal with it. Lots of excuses are given to cover this fundamental problem. We will not adopt out to homes where there is the remotest possibility of this happening. It is also the primary reason for a very large number of animals that live out their lives in substandard care or even abuse.


We do not adopt out guinea pigs as gifts (Christmas, birthday, etc.) to anyone. The intended recipient must be part of the selection process to help ensure life-long happiness and commitment to the animals.


Guinea pigs must live indoors. No outdoor housing is acceptable. For the reasons, see Indoor vs. Outdoor.


You must live in the general area. We will not ship or otherwise transport guinea pigs.

We do not adopt out guinea pigs as pets for classrooms or daycares or any group setting with children. Guinea pigs must be in a permanent, family environment--an environment that is stable and controlled at all times by the family, day and night, weekday and weekend, all year round.

Adoption Steps

Please complete the Online Adoption Application.

If you have any problems with the form, please download this word document, complete it and email it back to Teresa@CavySpirit.com


Please call 650-918-4644 to discuss the application and/or arrange a visit. Adoptions are usually at least two visits.

First visit: look at pigs, look at cages, learn the basics on care and what it takes to be the caretaker of a guinea pig. Decide if you will make your own cage or have us make one for you.

The cage must be ready to go when you bring your pigs home. We prefer people to pre-order Timothy Hay from American Pet Diner (800-656-2691). It's the best hay in the country (our opinion) and far superior in quality as compared to pet store packaged hay. We recommend starting with a 10 or 25 pound box (approx $16 or $19 plus shipping--from Nevada) of Timothy 2nd Cut Hay. Allow about 3-5 days for shipping. We usually have plenty of it on hand and can get you started, but you should order your own. Get all of the other supplies. However, you SHOULD consult with us before buying anything, as some standard pet store issue items are bad and some are a waste of money. We will help you determine what you need and where to get it.

Have everything for the cage done, or just get the final components (the plastic base and perhaps the grids) from us when you pick up the pigs.

Second visit: final care instructions and advice. If you are taking pigs home on this visit, it helps to have a large box with you to bring them home in. We usually have something, but sometimes we have to scramble. Allow at least an hour per visit.

If you end up adopting, you will need to sign this Adoption Contract which you may want to evaluate ahead of time.

We will mutually arrange an appropriate time for a follow-up visit.

What if we don't or can't adopt from you?

Perhaps you don't live in our area. Perhaps you are unwilling to make a bigger cage, or for some reason, can't make the space for it in your house. Perhaps you insist on having the cage in your child's bedroom. AND, you still want and will get a guinea pig?

Here is where to look for them, and the order of places that you should look:

1. another Rescue. There are several listed in the SF Bay Area.
2. Shelters (check the yellow pages for shelters in your area).

3. Newspaper--private listings in the newspaper (avoid breeders).
4. Internet--private listings on the internet (avoid breeders).

5. Breeder, if necessary (if no shelters or rescues or private listings exist in your area, which is highly unlikely. You will have to do your own searching, because we do not promote breeders).

(6.) Pet Store--avoid at all costs--a last resort which can almost always be avoided with some effort.


For more info on how to find a guinea pig, check out www.CavyRescue.com

A note about Pet Stores:


NEVER listen to or believe ANYTHING ANYONE tells you in a pet store.


ALWAYS get confirmation of any advice before relying on ANY information from a pet store.


NEVER believe the sex of an animal from a pet store without getting expert (vet) confirmation.


NEVER buy products for your animal based on the advice of a pet store owner or employee. Again, ALWAYS get confirmation of any advice before relying on ANY information from a pet store.


One last note, if you think you are buying a healthy animal and a non-pregnant female, or non-mating pair, THINK AGAIN. Many pet store guinea pigs have health problems which are not obvious to the untrained eye. Many, many people go home thinking they have just bought a male guinea pig, only to wake up to babies one morning!


Okay, one more note, if you are buying a furry friend for an existing guinea pig and you think that pet store guinea pig is healthy and can't introduce a potentially lethal illness to your treasured guinea pig at home, THINK AGAIN. Always quarantine new pigs from existing ones in separate rooms (and of course, separate cages), behind closed doors, and wash your hands between handling times for THREE WEEKS.



A Long-Term Commitment

Are you ready for 

7 years of daily care
7 years of cleaning cages

7 years of buying bedding, food, and hay
vet bills

assuming FULL care duties and loving the animals when your kids get bored

spending $20 a week or more on food, bedding, hay, etc. (over $1000 a year)?Cartoon graphic of a guinea pig with a cast on one leg on a crutch

taking the guinea pig to a vet as soon as symptoms appear?

a family pet as part of your life, as important as a cat or dog?

taking the pigs with you should you have to move in the future?

taking your guinea pig to college with you if you are between 12 and 18 years old?

assuming care as parents if your child is between 12 and 18 and ultimately moves away from home?



If so, then you are ready for 

7 years of unconditional love
7 years of joy & happiness

7 years of entertainment and fun
knowing you care for some of the sweetest creatures on the earth

a special place in life for adopting an abandoned animal

being part of the solution and not part of the problem.


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 Page updated 13 Nov 2006

Copyright 2006 Cavy Spirit, Inc. All rights reserved