About Us

About Us

Orange County Cavy Haven (OCCH) is a 501c3 non-profit guinea pig rescue founded in 2003. Based in Orange County, we promote adoption of guinea pigs from shelters in Orange County, Los Angeles County, and the Inland Empire. Our primary focus is to expose the public to homeless guinea pigs while providing education on guinea pig care through adoption events, pet expos, and the internet.

Below are basic principles on which OCCH was founded:

  • OCCH does NOT SUPPORT BREEDING due to the constant flow of guinea pigs in local shelters and those waiting for new homes on private adoption lists. The intentional breeding of baby pigs results in few potential homes for pigs in shelters.
  • OCCH advocates GUINEA PIGS SHOULD LIVE INDOORS due to rapidly changing weather patterns and outdoor predators. Guinea pigs have proven extremely susceptible to heat stroke and Upper Respiratory Infections which could result in their death.
  • OCCH believes GUINEA PIGS SHOULD LIVE IN “CAVY CAGES” WITH SOLID FLOORS, rather than breeder or pet store cages. Pigs in cavy cages are able to exercise and exhibit more active behavior than pigs resigned to small cages. Two pigs should be kept in a cage no smaller than 2ft. by 3 ft., to alleviate fighting.

    Guinea pigs must never live in wire floors due to serious damage to their delicate feet, such as infection and bumblefoot. Please see: www.guineapigcages.com

  • OCCH promotes a HEALTHY DIET for guinea pigs, which includes access to hay, timothy pellets, and daily green vegetables. Green vegetables contain Vitamin C which is vital to maintaining a healthy guinea pig immune system. Poor diets may result in scurvy, mites, and fungus.

OCCH advocates PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY of guinea pigs in the home. The rescue does not adopt out guinea pigs solely as children’s pets due to the high response from parents of guinea pigs being neglected by children after adoption. Animals brought into the home should be cared for and monitored by the head of the household in addition to the children.

Why cavies need rescuing

When most people consider homeless animals, they usually think about cats and dogs. True, most of the animals in shelters worldwide fall into these categories. Did you know that there are hundreds of homeless birds, rodents, reptiles, and other small companion pets in shelters and rescues and that these animals are not always listed on shelter websites?

Because of this many people wind up buying guinea pigs in pet stores, while guinea pigs are being euthanized in shelters, primarily due to limited space and lack of adopters.

But why do guinea pigs wind up in shelters? Primarily, they come from homes where they were considered to be cheap, disposable “pocket pets” useful as starter animals for children. Since pet stores usually do a terrible job of educating people about cavy care, these guinea pigs are frequently neglected and unhealthy.

So what does a rescue do? Well, we maintain contact with volunteers at the shelters, and when guinea pigs arrive, they notify us and we try to make space. Priority is always given to guinea pigs in high-kill shelters or those who charge only a minimum adoption fee, because reptile owners often seek out these shelters for snake food.

Would you like to see what a rescue in progress looks like? Click here.

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