What ResLife doesn’t know won’t hurt them.

A few mornings ago, I awoke to yet another text from my mother. Unlike past exchanges, which are usually more along the lines of reprimanding me for spending too much money on sushi or asking me to consider switching to pre-med, she sent me a list of adoptable guinea pigs in Manhattan. True, I had been begging for a dorm cat, but a guinea pig works too. They’re cute, they’re cuddly, and they can be stashed in the closet when ResLife comes strolling through looking for secret animals.

October 2022, from the five days that have passed so far, is the month of the pigs. There’s been a huge spike in guinea pig surrenders to local shelters, along with other small mammals and scaly pets, because people are dumping their COVID-19 companions now that they’re no longer stuck at home. Small animal surrenders across the country rose by more than 50% in the first six months of 2022 compared to the year prior, according to data from Shelter Animals Count. People who relied on guinea pigs, chinchillas, and rabbits for comfort during quarantine are now deciding that they no longer want or need to take care of them. New York City has seen over 600 guinea pigs surrendered so far this year, more than double the pre-pandemic number—a figure so shocking that the City Council has a bill on the table banning pet shops from selling them. Across NYC, these guinea pigs are sitting in shelter cages, alone, cold, and stressed… sounds familiar. This is where you come in. 

If you, too, are alone, cold, and stressed, consider adopting a small, furry friend! As the temperature drops, having a guinea pig chill on your lap while you study for finals sounds more and more like the ideal scenario. And if ResLife comes knocking on your door demanding to know where those high-pitched squeaks are coming from, just tell them it’s your joints; winter does that. 

Keep in mind that guinea pigs are a long-term commitment. I’ve had four pigs over the years, and all of them made it to seven or eight. Luckily, an influx of adult pigs means that you can adopt one (or two!) to keep you company throughout your college career without necessarily worrying about what to do once you graduate. Morbid, yes. Practical, also yes. With the pigs go the cages, so scour Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for cheap homes, supplies, toys, and treats. Guinea pigs are social, and if you find yourself spending way too much time in your room, you might as well have company. 

They’re small—easily hideable. Stash their cage in the closet or under the bed, and let the pigs run around on the floor. You can litter-box train them, and as adults, some might be already trained. Room inspectors are only able to come in and look around, and they can’t touch anything. The suspiciously cage-shaped blanket lump making soft purring noises means nothing.

They’re furry—easily pettable. You can even register them as emotional support animals. Probably. If you can’t, refer to above.

And they’re desperately in need of homes—easily adoptable. Bring the guinea pigs to campus! Have a party! Feed them dining hall salad greens! Gain a third roommate without losing valuable space! But don’t tell the admin.

This guinea pig wants YOU! via Wikimedia Commons