You're holding your guinea pig, who squeezes closer to you and it sounds like he is purring. But only cats purr, right? Do guinea pigs purr? Yes, they most certainly do emit a purring sound. But is it really a purr and what does it mean? Is your guinea pig happy, sad, angry, or otherwise when he makes this noise? I had guinea pigs as a child and so have my own kids.
Do guinea pigs purr? Yes. Guinea pigs do in fact purr. They may do it when you are holding them. They might also do it when eating carrots or their favorite treat. The purring could be directed at an object, another guinea pig, or even you. One child's science fair project actually proved an expert wrong regarding the guinea pig purr. The expert believed that only cats have a 'true' purr, which is not true in our experience. All of our guinea pigs have always made the purring sound.
What does it mean when my guinea pig purrs? This can actually mean several things. The most common meaning of a guinea pig purr is happiness. But that is not always the case. It can also indicate fear, fright, and more. Deciphering each purr requires being attentive to your pet, as well as listening to the length and pitch of the purr.
Which guinea pig purrs are a good sign? If your guinea pig's purr sounds long and deep, he is likely very content and comfortable. Our guinea pig usually does this when someone holds him close and talks to him. Happy purrs are not always long. But they are generally accompanied by overall calmness, such as posture and attitude. Pay attention to what else your guinea pig is doing while he purrs like this.
Which purrs should I worry about? Short and possibly higher-pitched purring noises could be a sign of pain or fright. These are not good. Higher voice pitches while purring can be an indicator of being annoyed. If your guinea pig is doing this toward you, leave him alone for a while. If it's toward another guinea pig, separate them until they've both had time to settle down. Guinea pigs like attention from each other and even from you. But sometimes they also need to be alone.
How can I make my guinea pig purr? The best way to entice purrs from your guinea pig is to keep him happy. Stroke his ears. Pet his back softly. Talk gently to him often and hold him close. Give him treats as recommended. But most of all, just show him you love him and he will do the same in return, which may result in purring.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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