Adopt don't shop and help a guinea pig, rat or mouse

Guinea pigs, rats, mice, ferrets and other "pocket pets" are social, inquisitive creatures that make lovely pets, especially for children.

By adopting a guinea pig, rat or mouse from RSPCA, you’re giving an animal in need a second chance at a happy life. And your new furry friend will reward you with devotion, unconditional love and joy.

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As an added benefit, all pocket pets available for adoption from RSPCA WA are vet checked – helping you be a responsible pet owner right from day one.

While guinea pigs, rats and mice are undemanding animals that can be very simple to care for, they are highly intelligent animals and do require regular exercise and mental stimulation. It’s important to ensure these needs will be met when choosing how to house your pocket pet.

Before adopting a pocket pet, ask yourself:

  • Am I over 18? If not, do I have my parents' permission?
  • Am I in a financial position to meet the ongoing costs associated with caring for a guinea pig, rat or mouse?
  • Do I have the environment to ensure a guinea pig, rat or mouse is safe and secure at all times?
  • Does my current lifestyle allow me quality time to exercise, play and spend time with a guinea pig, rat or mouse?
  • Am I committed to care for a guinea pig, rat or mouse its whole life?

What will you need for your pocket pet?

  • Water bottle
  • Food
  • A large enough cage for the animal to move around and exercise
  • Access to shade
  • Bedding
  • Enrichment toys
  • Cleaning products
  • Worm control

All of these items can be purchased from our shelters, with sale proceeds helping animals in need.


Other things to consider before adopting a pocket pet

Adopting a guinea pig

Guinea pigs need companionship: As social animals, they’re at their happiest with other guinea pigs. But, to avoid unwanted litters, it’s best to get two guinea pigs of the same sex. Male guinea pigs will get along better if they are introduced at a young age.

Spacious housing is crucial: Guinea pigs need ample space to stretch their little legs. As a guide, one guinea pig should have an enclosure size of about 100cm x 50cm x 25cm high. Two guinea pigs will require double this space. Line the enclosure with newspaper covered with soft grass or hay, and change bedding regularly.

Protect from heat stress: Guinea pigs are very susceptible to heat stress. Always ensure they are kept in a well-ventilated area, which provides adequate shade and maintains a comfortable temperature.

Ensure a varied diet: Guinea pigs are herbivores or ‘leaf eaters’. We recommended feeding grass and/or grass hay (such as oaten, wheaten, pasture, paddock, meadow or ryegrass hays), as well as fresh leafy green vegetables and herbs. High-quality ‘guinea pig pellets’ can be fed in small quantities but should not form the basis of the diet. Do not feed alfalfa or clover hays (they are too high in protein and calcium, and don’t promote long periods of chewing, which are crucial to wearing down guinea pigs’ ever growing teeth) or cereals, grains, nuts, seeds, corn, beans, peas, breads, biscuits, sweets, sugar, breakfast cereals, chocolate, buttercups, garden shrubs, lily of the valley, onion grass, onions, potato tops, raw beans; beetroot, spinach and rhubarb leaves, and any bulk plants (these may cause digestive problems).

Groom regularly: Daily grooming is essential for long-haired guinea pigs. Gently remove any dead hairs, tangles and pieces of twigs, dry leaves or burrs.
Grooming is also an opportunity to look for external parasites and check the length of your guinea pig’s toenails.

Watch their health closely: Guinea pigs may be susceptible to respiratory infections, often caused by poor housing conditions. Inadequate cleaning can also lean to skin ailments. Seek veterinary treatment as soon as you notice a problem.

Adopting a rat or mouse

Rats and mice need companionship: Mice are highly sociable animals, so you should consider housing at least two mice together. To ensure unwanted litters, same sex pairings are recommended.

Choose housing carefully: Rats and mice can be housed in a number of cage types, but larger cages are better. Ensure the cage is easy to clean, well ventilated and predator- and escape-proof. Provide bedding materials such as shredded paper or pelleted recycled paper and change bedding regularly.

Protect from heat stress: Rats and mice are susceptible to heat stress, so always ensure their cage is not be exposed to extreme temperatures.

Choose a healthy diet: Rats and mice should be fed fresh fruits and vegetables as well as small amounts of good quality mouse/rat pellets or cubes. Avoid feeding seeds and grains, as these are too high in fat and sugar. Access to fresh, clean water is a must at all times.

Feed treats sparingly: The following should be considered as treats and only be offered in very small amounts: cereals, grains, seeds, breads, biscuits, sweets, cooked pasta and rice and breakfast cereals.