When Kirk and Spock were brought from the pet shop, their “installation kit” provided pellets for bedding. Like the cat litter. The human used them a while than noticed they were not quite happy walking on top of them.
She did some research, went to the shop and came back home with a bag of wood shavings. The wood shavings were used for about one year. They both had a lot of space and rammed around a lot, so the wood shavings ended up a on the house floor, but the human was fine with it. Just that in time she read about it and realized the dust particles that came along with the shavings may be harmful for our little lungs.
But when I and Data were also added to the Gang, the amount of wood shavings landing on the house floor increased exponentially. Combined with the humans being worried the dust will get us sick in time, it called for another solution.
The human female started to buy fleece and some other absorbent blankets and to sew for us. She red some good reviews about this system and hoped for the best. Just that it wasn’t for us… She always had the impression we are wet and smelly. And the amount of fur and hay from the blankets gave hiccoughs to the washing machine.
Then she thought of puppy pads. Just that our cages were bigger than the biggest size of puppy pads. But with some suggestions from us, she turned her attention to the urinary incontinence diapers, the biggest size on the market with wings. Even after the enlargement of mine and Kirk’s rooms, they still fit.
On top of them we have puppy pads on the spots where we pee more (wood house, under the tunnel etc.). The puppy pads are replaced when they are soaked and the big diapers are changed usually once per week. This makes it easier for the humans and takes less time. Since we are using this system, we are almost always dry, our belly is not yellowish anymore and, except Data and Spock, we smell better. (Data and Spock have a strange habit of pulling hay on the floor, peeing and pooping on it and then sleeping on top of everything.)
Now, on the more practical side, we need to admit that wood shavings were the cheapest solution here in Belgium. Fleece was nice, just that it had to be changed every 2, 3 days and washed. And the maintenance costs were pretty high. Plus the human thought was not a very eco friendly solution.
You may think that the diapers that we use today are also not very eco friendly. The truth is that yes, producing them is most probably not a environmentally friendly process, but the humans always try to order large quantities to reduce the impact with the transport and in the end they are burned with the non tried garbage, in a waste-to energy plant. In terms of costs, it is, until now, the most expensive solution (around 60 euro / month), but the humans said they would anyway manage to spend that amount on silly things.
What can we say now? Just that wood shavings are more fun when popcorning, fleece blankets are more colourful, but the diapers are healthier. At least we hope.
So, humans, pick well for your guinea pigs!