What are C&C cages and what makes them so popular? Let’s take a closer look at the C&C cage:
As far as we can tell, the original C&C cage design was developed (and made popular) a few years ago by an innovative guinea pig rescue organization. This cage style was developed as a matter of necessity so that the guinea pig shelter could efficiently house a large number of pigs in a cost-effective manner. For this reason, to this day, the C&C cage tends to have a very low cost per square-inch of living space — in other words – C&C cages tend to offer a lot of cage for the money.
The mysterious name C&C originates from the two main materials used to construct this category of small animal cage: Cubes and Coroplast.
The frame and wire lattice portion of the cage is built from wire grids normally used in the assembly of wire grid storage cubes. These square wire grids are usually 14-inches long on each edge. This sort of shelving is often seen in stores or boutiques where clothing or other items are displayed in arrays of wire grid cubes or cubbies. Hence, the first C in C&C comes from the word cube.
The second C in C&C comes from the other fundamental material used in C&C cage construction — Coroplast. Coroplast is a trade name and is essentially a contraction of the product description: corrugated plastic. Coroplast is corrugated PVC (polyvinylchloride) plastic sheeting and is used to form the litter pan or bin in the bottom of the cage. This material is commonly used by sign-makers in the fabrication of economical weatherproof signage.
Coroplast has some remarkable properties that make it highly suitable for its application in the pet cage arena.
First of all, it is constructed of PVC (yes, the same basic material used in PVC pipes). This material is chemically inert which means water, solvents, oils and other chemicals generally have no effect on it. What this means to the concerned pet-owner is:
a) it is waterproof and (more importantly) urine-proof.
b) soaps, detergents, vinegar and other cleaning agents will not harm it.
c) it is indigestible – stomach acids do not affect it. This means if your pig happens to be a chewer, the material will pass harmlessly through its digestive system.
d) Coroplast is non-toxic and it is certified to be safe for use in contact with food.
C&C cages have become very popular as a do-it-yourself type of project. However, in recent years, suitable wire metal grids have become increasingly difficult to obtain. National department store chains have carried storage cube kits for several years. Until recently, most contained 14-inch square grids with 9 openings on each side (9×9 array). These grids had openings of roughly 1.5 square-inches.
Recently, at least one major chain has drastically redesigned this product. It now contains two varieties of 14-inch grids: grids with an array of 5×5 spaces (approx. 2.8-inch spacing) and grids with an 8×8 array (approx. 1.75-inch spacing).
CAUTION: Both of these grid configurations (5×5 and 8×8) are to be strictly avoided by guinea pig owners.
5×5 grids are way too large and are ineffective in containing many size pigs. 8×8 grids are only slightly too large and present a potential choking hazard. We have received bulletins from several guinea pig rescue organizations warning us to avoid 8×8 grids. They cited various strangulation incidents involving grids with these larger openings and counseled us to use only 9×9 grids in our guinea pig cage designs.
C&C cages are almost always built as do-it-yourself projects and tend to be very much larger (and therefore healthier for your pig) than standard manufactured “pet store cages.” Generally one of three approaches is taken by do-it-yourself C&C cage builders. The skilled do-it-yourselfer creates the cage from scratch – designing the cage and buying the materials by themselves. The industrial-yet-thrifty do-it-yourselfer also buys materials on their own, but only after buying cage plans from a competent C&C cage designer. And the shrewd do-it-yourselfer takes the easy, proven, no-hassle route by purchasing a packaged C&C cage kit – complete with materials and instructions – from a reputable and proven C&C cage seller.
(C) 2009 Robert M. Matthews