Reasons Your Guinea Pig May Be Vibrating and What It Means

Context is everything, and this is especially true when interpreting guinea pig body language and sounds. A cavy that is vibrating could be sending out positive or negative vibes. The real meaning can only be determined by paying close attention to the behaviors that accompany the almost cat-like purring.

Guinea pigs vibrate to express their emotions. By paying attention to the volume, pitch, and context, it is possible to understand the underlying meaning. Purring can signify happiness, fear, annoyance, or be part of a courting ritual. A piggy may also shiver from the cold or because it is sick.

It can be surprising, or even alarming, the first time piggy owners feel their cavy vibrating. Let’s find out if your cavy is sending out good vibrations or if there is something else going on.

Why Does My Guinea Pig Feel Like It’s Vibrating?

It can catch new cavy owners off guard the first time they feel their piggy vibrating. After all, the gentle purring sensation is more commonly associated with contented cats.

Guinea pigs have a wide range of vocalizations and body language that they use to communicate. Vibrating is one of their ways of expressing their emotions. However, the trembling behavior doesn’t always mean the same thing.

In the same way that a human may scream from excitement while riding on a rollercoaster, the same scream would have a very different meaning if they were falling off a cliff. It is the same when cavies are vibrating. It is only possible to know if the animal is purring from happiness or stress by paying close attention to the context.

There are seven reasons why a pet guinea pig may be vibrating:

  1. It is happy and content – This is the most common reason and especially common when piggies feel relaxed while enjoying quiet bonding sessions with their owners. In this context, the purring can definitely be described as good vibrations!
  2. The cavy is frightened – An anxious or uncomfortable guinea pig may tremble or shiver. Instead of the contented purring, the sensation is more rapid or clipped. Look around the environment to find the cause of the piggy’s distress. It may be the presence of another pet or sudden loud sounds.
  3. Annoyance – A piggy that is wide awake and vibrating loudly may be objecting to something that is happening. It may not want to be picked up or have its nails clipped.
  4. Pulling rank – Guinea pigs are social creatures that live in a structured hierarchy. Vibrating loudly can be a way of communicating higher social status to the rest of the herd.
  5. Courtship vibes – Male piggies may vibrate as part of their repertoire to impress a female. The sound may accompany other typical courtship rituals, including circling and nuzzling.
  6. The piggy is cold – Guinea pigs are highly sensitive to heat and cold. Anything below 60F is too cool for the little creatures, and what feels like vibrating may very well be shivering.
  7. The cavy is sick – Shivering can be a symptom of a serious health condition. There are many diseases and disorders that can result in an animal being hunched over, twitching, shaking, or shivering. All of them require the immediate attention of a veterinarian.

What Do I Do If My Guinea Pig Is Vibrating?

Most of the time, vibrating is a natural way cavies show their feelings and requires no action from owners. However, it is important to determine if the cause is positive, negative, or for a reason that requires immediate attention.

Cavies that purr in contentment or vibrate loudly to assert their authority among their herd do not need any intervention. Anxiety-driven trembling may mean that your cavy needs more quiet time to settle in, or there is something in the environment that it finds frightening.

Shivering that is the result of cold needs to be taken seriously. Check for any cool draughts or dampness in the cage. Then, provide a warm heating pad, plenty of hay, and cozy hiding places so the animal can stay warm.

Shivering or trembling that is not temperature-related should be considered a health emergency. Piggies can shake from fever, stress, infections, or even parasites. A trip to the veterinarian is a must if a cavy is listless or shaking.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Purring

A relaxed cavy that is purring is expressing true contentment and happiness. Although there are several reasons why a piggy may vibrate, if the associated body language is calm, you can be sure that the little pet is sending out some happy vibes.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Shaking And Twitching?

Guinea pig vibrating is very different from shaking or twitching; these behaviors should never be confused. Gentle purring or even louder vibrating are perfectly normal methods that cavies use to communicate their emotions. Anything else may indicate a health condition or even a seizure.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Vibrate After A Bath?

Most guinea pigs do not enjoy bathing. They are naturally clean animals and only need to be bathed if they have soiled their fur with urine or feces. An occasional bottom wash is usually enough to clean them up.

Although regular grooming is essential, piggies shouldn’t need to be bathed more than once or twice a year. It is, therefore, understandable that the experience may not be one of their favorite activities, and they can become very anxious or stressed.

Vibrating during or after a bath can be caused by two things: anxiety or cold. Run the water ahead of time and have everything ready so the bath can be as brief as possible. Have plenty of soft, dry towels waiting for when the ordeal is over. Only use a hairdryer on low if the cavy is not stressed by it.


It is every cavy owner’s dream to have piggies that are so relaxed that they purr contentedly while they are being petted. Not all piggy vibrations are happy, and meanings can be interpreted by carefully noting the behavior accompanying the sound. Although vibrating can sometimes indicate a problem, most times, it is innocent and a perfectly natural way that cavies let everyone around them know how they are feeling.