Thinking about adopting one or two chin(s)

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Apr 19, 2017

I've been pondering the idea of getting chinchillas for a long time, but the time was never really right, until maybe now.

Our local humane society has several chins available, two males (neutered), one female and her young offspring (also female). It is tempting, so just out of curiosity and because I like to be informed and don't want to make wrong decisions, I started reading up on keeping chinchillas.

As a kid and way into my teens I had many guinea pigs, a rabbit, and gerbils, so rodents aren't completely new to me. However, when starting reading all the information I feel chinchillas may be a bit more complicated and many questions arose.

1) 1 or 2? I keep reading contradicting information, some say that chinchillas are grouping animals and should at a minimum be kept in pairs, otherwise it would be cruel. Other sources say that they tend to do better alone in captivity. I'm especially pondering over that female and her young - but then i keep reading that female and female may be even more difficult.

2) Obviously they need a large cage and I'm looking at the ferret nation - would that be big enough for two? I'm also pondering building my own, but I can't really find any info on such an endeavor - but I feel like wood wouldn't be the greatest idea, but how to build it otherwise? Has anyone here built their own?

3) My guinea pigs and rabbits were housed outside during summers, but I read that chinchillas should not be kept outside. I understand that they're prone to heat strokes, but also sensitive towards cold and humidity. Were we live it get's into the 40s in winter, but only at night!, and probably around mid-80s in summer - humidity is low. I guess they still shouldn't be kept outside? The house doesn't have AC and may get warmer than outside during the day.

4) We have three cats and I've been reading up on that and again find contradicting information. None of the cats (indoors) know rodents, but a previous cat didn't bother the guinea pigs back then and they in turn didn't seem to care. Two of them already are older and very chill - the youngest may learn to accept the chins?
I understand that chinchillas are potential prey, albeit technically them being too big for cats. They could have their own room which can be locked, but this would greatly reduce the living space of the cats. Has anyone experience in bonding cats and chinchillas to the point that they can be in the same room when (and only then) the chins are in their cage?

This is it for now, and I'm really still in the early stages of thinking about it and may have to come to the conclusion that I can't provide an appropriate home as much as I would love to have one or two chinchilla(s). I'm sure more questions will arise as time progresses.

Thank you very much for your thoughts :)
Yes, chinchillas are really not a beginner pet. They require much more care and work to get their home right then really any other rodent. They are also much smarter then other rodents(with the debated exception of rats), about as smart as a 2 year old human. Vet bills for them can also get to be hundreds to thousands of dollars since you need an exotic vet that knows/sees chins to care for them. Finding a vet can sometimes be an issue to since chins are still relatively new in the pet world, compared to other rodents, so finding one (or more just in case) before getting a chin is a good idea.

1. Although chins are herd animals, in the wild they can get away from each other and find a new herd if there is a conflict of personalities, they can't do that in a cage. Also just like humans, some like living in large groups or pairs, others prefer living alone. Even bonded pairs can sometimes have a falling out and need to be housed separately for the rest of their lives, so you need to be prepared to have two cages should things go wrong. Even if they do split some can still enjoy playtime together, or if that doesn't even work, having another chin in the same room to "chat" with can be beneficial. If you do go with a single one, so long as you can provide at least an hour a day of interaction a single chin would be fine.

2. A double ferret nation cage is a great size for two chins, a single is ok, but doesn't give them much room to get away from each other if they want to.

3. Chins are definitely not outside animals, there is too many dangers outside. Not only the environment (heat, drafts, rain, etc), but also wild and domestic animals are also a threat, and can cause the chin a lot of stress. Chins really need to be kept in a low humidity and the temp should get no higher then low 70s F or they will die (I keep the room my chins are in around the 50s-60s F year round). An AC is really the only real way to keep the temp low enough for them. They really aren't sensitive to the cold, they can handle down to below freezing, you just have an issue with the water freezing. So really if it's not too cold for you it's not going to be too cold for them.

4. Cats and chinchillas should never be left unsupervised together, cats can carry a bacteria that is deadly to chinchillas so one "innocent" paw swipe can make the chin very sick or die. Getting a Critter Nation may be a safer option then the Ferret Nation since the bar spacing is smaller, making it harder for cats to get a paw in. I do have cats, who all luckily ignore the chins. They have access to the room the chins are in during the day, but I close the door at night or when I am not home. The cats are also closed out of the room if the chins are out of the cage. It really also comes down to personality of the chins, some are laid back and don't care about the cats, others are terrified. My guys don't seem afraid of the cats, but have been known to throw toys at the cats if they get too close or linger by the cage too long.
A chin is most definitely not too big for a cat, cats catch rabbits and squirrels, and a chin is much smaller then those. Chins look big, with all their fur they look about the same size as a guinea pig, but weigh about half as much. They also are not as tough as a guinea pig either, and need more delicate handling.

thank you very much for the feedback!

While I certainly feel I have experience with pet keeping (rodents, dogs, cats, fish), I also come more and more to the conclusion that chins really aren't easy. I have to admit, it is a little frightening, but at the same time, everyone had their very first chin at some point, right? :))

1) So, they can be kept solitary (even without at second chin in a separate cage) without them feeling lonely? I just read quite often that even human interaction cannot substitute a peer.
Is there any indication which kind of pairs work best? Male-male, female-female, neutered male -female? Of course it always depends on personality, but maybe there is at least some tendency?

2) If at all, I'd get the double cage, even for a single chin. The more space, the better. I know they have to have time running around freely in the room nevertheless, but still. Thanks for the info about the critter nation and narrower spacing - I'd read about that at some point and thought that was the ferret nation, but I must have mixed them up.

3) The temperatures is really the main part I'm worried about. I checked and stand corrected; the average high at my place is 74 in summer. We're just going to move, so unfortunately I don't have any personal experience about how hot it actually gets in the room. I understand about more than likely needing an AC, but isn't that very loud for them during the day? (oh the perks of living in the subtropics ;) )

4) Do you know which bacteria can be transferred? That's the first time I'm reading about this (not saying this isn't true, so, sincerely interested). Can this be transferred even by 100% indoor cats? Our cats even ignore my fish (most of the time), so I have a feeling they would accept the chins, especially if they're "boring" (because sleeping) during the day. (I am aware that cats catch rabbits and squirrels, but our cats have never experienced the outdoors and are rather small, so I at least would expect chins to be too big for them :hmm:).

It's interesting to read that chins aren't as tough. I read somewhere, that they're quite hardy (I guess not with all the proneness to lung issues, broken legs, heat sensitivity) and actually do defend themselves.

5) Any pet can be costly, especially when it comes to vet costs. Are chins prone to sickness? I read that they can easily get lung issues - but only if there is high humidity, right? What other vet costs are likely/possible? Do they need annual vaccinations?

My guinea pigs and rabbit only saw the pet once a year, for their annual checkup/vaccination. Only one piggie got an eye tumor late in his life. Our cats, too, have been very healthy, so far. I guess, we've been very lucky.

6) I understand that chins should be kept in a quiet place during the day because they're sleeping. Would an office, where I'm just sitting at a computer working, be ok or would that already be too much disturbance?

7) One further thought that came up. Chins are long-living and I understand the implications (I mean, cats are too, right?). However, it's really hard to plan the life for 10, 15, ...even 5 years. While I'm settled for the forseeable future, I may have to move at some point, and living on an island doesn't really help (the chins at the humane society were surrendered because their owner moved). Now, I would never abandon my pets (we moved our cats all the way from Europe), but living on an island doesn't give me many options. I tried to read up on it, but there doesn't seem to be much out there or it's old information. So, no airline actually allows china in-cabin, but do they usually fare well in cargo? Has anyone experience with this? I've read that breeders to ship chinchillas and maybe also people going to shows? :hmm:

Again, thank you very much :) I'd really really love to adopt at least one little fella, but I just want to make sure I'm not overlooking something important and could tend to all their needs/requirements adequately.
I don't really see chins as being any harder then say a lizard, they just need the right temp, humidity level, and diet. Fine for someone who has had pets and is looking for a bit more involvement, but can be overwhelming for a first time owner.

1. It's kind of a debate, some people feel very strongly that chins need other chins, others have had chins live happily all alone for their whole life. It is just that much more important though that you make it a point to spend as much time with them as possible. Personality really trumps gender, you obviously don't want male/female unless you intend to breed, I strongly advise against neutering, unless the male is already neutered. It's dangerous and has no known health benefits to chins. Other then that it's more you need dominate/submissive or submissive/submissive. Females can be more territorial then males if introducing unrelated chins. In the wild females and their female offspring stay, and the males roam to find new herds.

3. No the AC is not going to be too loud, they get use to the sound, I know old AC units can be very loud, but newer ones are pretty quiet. The loudest part is the compressor, and the ones I have are about as loud as my fridge or deep freezer.

4. The bacteria is, pasturella, it causes upper respiratory infections, which can be deadly to chins within hours. My cats as I said leave the chins alone (and most are indoor/outdoor, one even catches and eats squirrels), but they do try to get the chin's toys sometimes, which is where the possible accident can happen. Cat reaches in for a toy and accidentally nicks the chin with a claw. I can watch to tell the cats no when they try to pull a toy out of the cage.

What I meant by not as tough, basically their bones are thinner then a guinea pig's (about the thickness of a toothpick), and also they have a floating rib cage, so if held too tight you can break it and puncture a lung with a rib. A guinea pig can physically take a bit more improper handling then a chin.

5. No chins are not prone to illness, and don't require annual checkups or vaccinations. That is probably why finding a vet that sees them is so hard, they rarely need to go. When the do need to go it's something serious, and therefore pricey (I mention it because most people forget about it, and suddenly you get someone saying what can they do at home, their chin is dying and can't afford a vet). The most common issues are, respiratory infections, teeth issues, and digestive issues. There is a lot of info on here about each issue if you want to look them up. They have a similarly sensitive respiratory system as a bird, so no smoking, heavy perfumes, or using air freshener sprays around them. The other issue with humidity is that it can cause their fur to get damp, which can (in extreme cases) make them get moldy and their fur fall out.

6. My current chins live in my office/computer room, which is where I spend my day, that way I can spend time with them anytime they are awake :). They don't sleep all day, they are generally sleeping when I get up in the morning, wake in the afternoon, then sleep until the late evening, sleep during the middle of the night, wake during early morning, etc. So long as you aren't super noisy (yelling, blaring music, etc) they will get use to the normal sounds during the day. I commonly play video games, watch movies, and listen to the radio throughout the day and they seem unfazed. If you watch shows or movies, chins enjoy watching too, it's cute, they hear in our hearing range (and beyond) so they also enjoy music too. The only issue with having chins in the same room as computers though is the dust, I have to give my guys their dust baths in another room.

7. Yes, chins live as long as cats, 15-20+ years, so it is a long commitment. I don't have any experience with flying chins, but I've heard they do apparently travel well. I would make sure you fly them when it's coolest out, and direct flights only so they don't get delayed, miss connections, or get lost.
Again, thank you very much for all the information and feedback!

So I assume males are easier to be solitary as they are natural dispersers, while females - though territorial - may actually bond better? All the males at the shelter are neutered, so that wouldn't be the's just my cat and guinea pig experience that females tend to do better with (neutered, of course) males than with females.

Do you know if all cats carry the pasturella bacteria? I'm just curious as I've seen videos/pictures where cats and chins actually played together? :hmm:

Also, I've been reading the emergency section and now I have to admit I'm a little terrified.

One more thing i noticed when looking at cage pictures, is it not common to use bedding? I've seen cages that only had fleece? :hmm:
Hm, I thought I had replied, yesterday, but maybe my post got lost.

Again, dear Amethyst, thank you very much for all the information!

I've been reading through the emergency threads and have to admit, am gotten a little scared. :(

1. the males at the shelter are already neutered. I'm still pondering the solitary vs. paired issue. So I understand that it highly depends on character, but there must be some trends, no? For example, if males are natural dispersers, from my biologist standpoint I would expect them to fair better solitary? And females stay with their offspring, so a mama with her young would probably be fine? Are male(neutered)-female pairs do well? One hears that often and it also is my personal experience (guinea pigs, cats) that mixed-sex pairs tend to do better than same-sex pairs.

At the shelter they had that mama, her baby and another female in one cage, and the males in another. They seemed to get along, respectively.

Is the 2-story critter nation too large for one chin? Too small for three? I haven't made up my mind yet, but if I end up adopting and adopting two, I'd feel awful to leave one behind...

****, they were so cute when I went to look, yesterday (went for another reason, my husband had a job interview), but I'm really worried I may not be the right place for them, unfortunately. But I also hate the idea they may end up sitting at the shelter forever (and even may be euthanised, eventually). It's a small island with a small population and they are demanding pets...

I'm really mostly worried about the heat issue. I'm not sure if at this point we could afford the extra cost an AC would bring (electric prices are three times the mainland average over here, unfortunately, and I'm only a student). I guess, let's see what hubby's interview brought...

4. Do all cats carry the pasturella bacteria? How do they get it? This is really the first time I've ever heard of this. I've also seen many pictures/videos where cats and chins play together, so that got me really wondering. Just curious, really, of course I wouldn't let the chins out with cats in the room.

One thing that I noticed when looking through photos of cages is that many don't seem to use normal bedding and only have fleece. Is that normal? I've never seen that before and always used bedding for my guinea pigs/gerbils/rabbit. It really struck me as odd.

What else would there need to be considered that I may be missing?
Getting a chin is not something to take lightly, so I guess it's good that the emergency section does cause some pause. However, chins rarely get sick, so there is a good chance you will never run into those issues. I do advise people to have money set aside though just in case.

1. Honestly from what I've seen and heard it really depends on the chin's personality not gender. Males aren't really solitary, in the wild they would form male herds, similar to horses in the wild. I have had male/female pairs and both times they had to be separated, one due to fighting and the other due to not sexing them right and ending up with accidental kits, lol. The one in that pair that turned out to be female actually preferred being alone though, and the kits were both male so they ended up living with the father once they were weaned. My current two are twin brothers, who are around 10 (they were 3 when I got them and I have had them just over 7 years) and they still love each other. I'm not saying males get along better then male/female, or female/female pairs, just saying my personal experience. It seems bonding them young or with family works the best, mother/daughters, father/sons, or siblings. Though I don't see why father/daughter(s) or mother/son or mother/father/daughter(s) couldn't work if the male(s) is/are neutered or the female(s) spayed (but once again I don't advise neutering or spaying, but if they already are that's different). Bonding same sex young kits also seems to work well too. You can also do a male with females (some breeders do), but I would not do more then one male and a female though. I've never had neutered males but I know intact ones can end up fighting over a female (even in another cage) when she goes into heat.

Just because the ones in another cage are fine with others in a near by cage does not mean they will get along all together. Adding an additional chin to an existing bonded pair or group is not a good idea. It's not uncommon to end up with the pair or group breaking up and/or reorganizing or with the bonded chins ganging up on the new guy. It has also happened where someone decided to add a third chin to a pair, and not only did it not work but the previously bonded pair ended up having to be separated too.

2. Yes a 2 story CN is fine for about 1-4 chins, each story is enough room for 1-2 chins. The more space the better though, if they don't have room to get away from each other it can cause fighting. You also need as many food bowls and water bottles as you have chins too to avoid fights over resources. Oh and another thing I don't think I mentioned before, with a ferret or critter nation, you do need to cover (with fleece) or replace (with metal) the plastic pans. Chins should not have any plastic in the cage, like other rodents they will chew it, and if swallowed it will cause a blockage.

3. Having an AC in a hot humid climate is really not negotiable. If you can't keep the temp below 75F and the humidity below 50% the chins will suffer and die. They don't sweat, and have a thick fur coat that doesn't come off or thin like a cat's or dog's. A chin has a full winter coat on all the time.
I understand the high power prices, but newer AC units are much more energy efficient then the old ones use to be. If you can't afford it I understand though, but just something to think about if you haven't looked at current AC units.

4. As far as I know pasturella is one of the naturally occurring bacteria in the cat's mouth, so I would think most if not all cats have it. It really doesn't create a problem for the cat unless the cat is under stress and it's immune system is weakened enough to make the cat sick then it can be transmitted from cat to other animals from coughing or sneezing. Otherwise so long as you don't get bitten or scratched and get cat saliva in the wound (like if the cat licks it's claws and then scratches the chin or bites the chin) it's not something to worry about. With the chin's thick fur you may not notice a scratch right away either, which could mean an infection will have set in before you know something is wrong.

Unfortunately you can find all kinds of bad things in videos online, just because some people decide to put the chin at risk does not make it a good idea. You can also find pics and videos of humans playing with "pet" tigers or bears, that doesn't make it an ok idea. It's definitely a situation of "I've done this for years and nothing bad ever happens", until it does. As I've said though, I do have cats (10 of them), some who do hunt, and have never had an issue. I don't know if it's because most of them were kittens when I had my last guinea pig, and learned that that the large rodent in the cage is not food or what. However some chins, being a prey animals could be fearful of the cats though, mine aren't, but some chins aren't as brave. I don't think my guys got the memo that they are prey, lol. It is entirely possible that your cats would be fine and not harm a chin, I just don't want you to say you weren't warned that something could happen.

Yeah, I don't bother with bedding anymore, I just use fleece liners, the poop and hay make enough of a mess, lol. Chins don't build nests to sleep in or dig and burrow like other rodents, they would be sleeping on bare rock in the wild. You basically just need something to absorb the pee, which if washed properly (no fabric softener and vinegar for detergent) fleece does well enough. You do need to change it out a couple times a week though so need at least two sets. Fleece is the only safe fabric though, it doesn't shred or come apart in threads like other fabric. So if chewed you can remove it before too much is swallowed to cause an issue. It's not digestible so you do need to remove it and use bedding if they do chew it, but the inability to shred it is boring to a chin so most don't bother past a test nibble. I have also seen people use fleece liners for guinea pigs too, since like chins they don't really need a nest.
There are a lot of pros and cons with using fleece or bedding, it comes down to personal preference and if the chin chews fleece or not. For example, some pros are, one less thing for the chin to kick out of the cage, you can buy fleece designs for seasons (see my christmas/winter cage from a couple years ago here), you can keep the poop more under control by doing a quick cage vacuum everyday or simply pull the fleece out and give it a good shake outside or into the trash, you only need 2 sets so ends up being cheaper then bedding, and wouldn't you rather walk and sleep on fleece then wood shavings?. However it can smell after a few days if the chin isn't pee trained and some chins pee more then others so it can smell more then others and some chins chew it, those are I think the biggest issues against it. I'm sure you can find more if you do a search on the forum though.

The only real other thing I can think of off hand that seems to shock new owners is, chins poop a lot. Some chins can be trained to pee in a pan of wood shavings, but they can't control their poop, they poop about once every 30-60 seconds. It's dry (or should be unless the chin is sick) but a single tail flick does cause it to go flying out of the cage and sometimes across the room, so sweeping or vacuuming up is a daily chore.

Ok now that I have written a book (sorry) lol, I better head off the bed.
just saw this thread... but i guess Amethyst kinda covered it lol

Single vs pair is really up to the chin (and if the owner wants). Every chin has there own personality. They may get along with another chin, they may not. There really is no way to take two single chins and be able to tell. If your looking for a pair its easier to find two that are already living together. - But remember if you have more then one chin, you always need to be able to separate them at a moments notice. While it may not be overly common, chins can turn on one another at any time for unknown reasons. - I personally have never had this happen, but i know some that it has.

AC really isnt an area you can budge on. Chins must be kept cool. At around 73-75 they can start to overheat which leads to very bad things. Every chin has there own level of tolerance, but its not something you want to test. Ideally you dont want it past 70f.

As for cold, they have much better tolerance for that. They can handle down to 40f that you mentioned. Just make sure there water isnt starting to freeze and they should be fine. - I personally would be far to cold to go out there.. but they can.

Even a 1 story fn/cn can house 2-3 chins fine. Chins dont actually need large spaces. They are cave dwelling animals, used to small spaces. A double fn/cn does have an extra benefit of being able to be seperated if need be. If you have to separate two chins like i mentioned above, you can simply block off the whole that gives access form first floor to second floor, and there ya go; two cages.

Critter Nation cages have horizontal bars at 0.5" spacing. And FN has vertical bars at 1" spacing. While the FN is fine for an adult chin, baby and young chins can slip through those bars and get out. They would require smaller bar spacing like the CN.

While iv personally never had a CN cage, i can say that the FN cages have two models out there. The older discontinued one, the 142, and the current one, the 182. The 182 was supposed to be there improvement over the 142... and they failed massively. Unfortunately 142 are no longer on the market new, but if you can find a used one (assuming you wanted one) then i always recommend the 142 over the 182.

I dont think all cats and rabbits have pasturella, but some do. But even if they dont have it, its very easy for either of them to kill a chin. Rabbits have very power back legs and and kick a chin to death. Cats are natural predators. No matter how calm or domesticated they are, they are still natural predictors. Chins are natural prey animals. You dont want to mix the two. - Youll see a lot of this stuff on youtube (usually a horrible place to go for good info). They are usually ppl who care more about the 'cute moment' then there animals health and safety. Its a real shame.
A cat can even get to a chin through the cage bars. So its really not safe. Some ppl allow the cat to roam near the cage, but imo its a risk not worth taking considering the consequence.

Bedding depends on the individual and the chin. Recycled paper and corn type beddings are harmful to chins. They will chew on and eat the litter. The paper can mix with the fluids inside them and swell up causing a blockage that could be fatal. Corn.. or any fruit, veggie, seed, nuts,.. are just not healthy for them.

Most ppl that use a bedding will use wood shavings. Either Kiln Dried Pine, or Aspen. Note that pine must be kiln dried. Regular untreated pine is harmful. Also Ceder wood shavings contains oils that are harmful as well.

Some ppl use fleece so they dont have to deal with shavings. This requires not only that you have means to wash and dry the liners when you change them, but also that the chin doesnt chew or destroy fleece.

Many ppl that chose the fleece option will also use a litter pan of shavings in addition to it. Hoping the chin will use the pan to pee in, and thus leaving less of a mess on the fleece. But its still there if needed.

thank you very much for all your input! I always try to consider everything before making an important decision, so it really helps. Especially when it comes to living being that would end up suffering if your ignorant about their needs.

"Unfortunately" it looks like the topic has been postponed. I couldn't have taken any in before moving in June (I know, that's still a while ahead), anyway, but the ones I had my eye on have all just been adopted. I'm happy for them - but also sad for myself.
One more questions (I'm just thinking out lout really, at this point). Besides overall individual character being a main determent, are there any other differences between males and females? In terms of care? In terms of health issues that can develop (e.g. I keep seeing hair rings being mentioned in males)?
And yet another question. Our new apartment will have carpet. I know you mentioned that one should be careful with fleece that they don't pull threads and also that they chew, a lot. But will carpet be a big problem during their free-running time?
I put a lot of stuff out for them to chew at playtime and have never had them try to chew the flooring. They are generally far more interested in the walls and baseboards if they can reach them.
hair rings really are the only difference i can think of at the moment. Some are more prone to them then others. Of my three males in the last 10~ years, they have never got them that i know of.

Carpet will depend on the chin. They might, they might not. Its worse if its a poorly installed carpet tho (like i have atm). Its very loose and kind of comes up in certain areas. That only encourages mine to try and pull it up some times.

I will add tho that carpet is a massive pain in the *** to clean with chins compared to something smooth like linoleum or wooden floors or what not. I moved from a smooth floor to a poor carpet, and i hate it in the chin room. Something smooth you can take a broom and sweep it up and be done in 2-3 min. And you can do it daily and its no big deal. But with my carpet that likes to come up a bit as i mentioned, im stuck using a shopvac hose and going over the entire floor. Cant even use attachments because it tried to suck the carpet in. I hate it. And usually only clean the floor when i change the cages. - Also worth noting that if you have to use a vacuum then you need something with a hose at least 2.5" wide. Anything smaller and they hay and other mess will clog the machine up. So standard vacuums are not really a good option either. Hence why i bought a shop vac.

So carpet is not a make or break thing. But for me it is a massive irritant. If one has the option, i recommend a smooth floor.
The biggest difference between males and females is females can spray pee as a defense, about 5 feet with accuracy, some males can spray but most just kinda dribble lol. Just don't make the chin angry and you should be fine. Also as mentioned males can get hair rings, but it's more common in breeding males and most take care of it themselves, and seem to, umm... enjoy themselves.

One way of dealing with carpet is to put a sheet down on the floor. It really depends on the carpet, some are tight weave, others are fuzzy, the fuzzy type tends to be more of an issue. I don't have any carpeting anymore, but I do have crappy wood floor in parts of the house, so I got sheets to put under the play pen. That way if I decide to use it somewhere else in the house the chins can't get to the floor and the sheet is too flat and smooth for them to really care about. When done clean up is very easy too, just fold the sheet up poops and all and shake out outside.

Oh and I second the need for a shop vac, I had forgotten about that. I tried for years to just use a regular vacuum and it was a pain. If you use a regular one you have to constantly clean out the clogged hose and/or pick up the hay and sticks by hand before vacuuming.
The two males are still at the shelter and I feel soooo sorry for them:cry4: They have big (two-storay) cages, each, but because it's a shelter, they don't get any play-time (as far as I know - and if, not much). They seem to be a little shy and one of the staff (who had had a chin in the past) said the probably weren't socialized. Poor things.

One month till we're moving and even then I would need to settle in first and re-consider circumstances. Oh and of course, actually ask the landlord (we're only approved for three cats, atm) No chance in taking them now, with a 1BR-cottage with three cats in a high-humidity area.

I wonder, if I end up saving one/them, whether or not to take them both and try to socialize them. They seem to be older, about 2 or maybe 3? Both males (not sure whether or not they're neutered, the original bit on that disappeared from the shelter's website, so probably not). I mean, if it didn't work out I could close the two story and have one for each? It does seem like a small space, though (yes, I know, it all comes down to out-of-the-cage playtime, but still, especially since they're used to so much space, now)

Really just thinking out loud, again, but I feel so bad for them and they sure are **** cute.
It really is better for them to not have playtime if there is no safe place for it, and if they have big cages then really they don't need playtime. You could kind of think if it like kids don't need to go outside (aside from getting fresh air) if they have room to run and play inside. Keep in mind too that there are a lot of large scale breeders out there that their chins never get playtime and they live in single cages.

2 or 3 is still really young (though there is no real way to tell age (unless you know their birthday) once they stop growing at a year or two), remember they can live +/- 20 years. Each chin is also different, so it's hard to tell if they have been socialized or not, I've had very social chins, and very nervous and shy ones, and they all got the same care. Some chins are just naturally more outgoing, others are naturally more shy. You can get a chin as a kit, and hold and play with her everyday and still end up with a moody brat (I have a specific chin from my past in mind there, lol).
Hey! There isn't too much of a different between male and female chin cares however yes, males can indeed get fur rings. There's no other way to describe it other than be graphic so sorry in advance! Basically it's where their fur gets wrapped around their phallus and can be very uncomfortable for them! (which is understandable). It doesn't happen often but it can happen, and its go to know how to get rid of them and the signs of one. It can cause your chinchilla's mood to go off and sometimes they won't eat because of it. What you need to do is first get someone to help you and put a towel around its head/body. Then roll down it's foreskin and pull the phallus out - you'll see the fur ring and CAREFULLY with a pair of nail scissors cut it free. Males are good at grooming themselves so it shouldn't be happening all too much but it is important to get rid of fur rings asap as it can cut circulation etc. Females can also spray urine, but that's mainly the difference between female and chinchilla care.
Dear God, this thread is really informative and comprehensive. I took my time to read every feedback regarding the author's inquiry.
Hi, it's me again. I know it's been quite a while (life's been busy) but the wish to get chinchillas isn't dead, yet.

I'm still quite torn. I really want chins, but at the same time am so afraid I might not be able to provide them the best environment with our cats. Temperature isn't a problem unless maybe summer (and then only for a few hours a day when we could get a portable A/C unit). Humidity might. It's around 60% in our house, atm, with no control. However, sometimes the windows are moist in the morning and if it rains humidity certainly is up. We do have a dehumidifier that can be used (but adds heat).

We do have a room that's my office that can be the chins room (and can be locked), but atm is also used by the cat, especially our youngest (we ended up adopting a kitten in June). Since they're indoor cats I really don't want to restrict their space too much. I'm worried that the cats might spook the chins when THEY're playing and thus them getting hurt.

No more chins at the local shelter, but two (bonded?) males sitting at the local Petco in a tiny cage and have been there for way too long (they do seem healthy as far as I can tell, though, and actually seem curious towards people, when awake)

I'm not sure if I'm just overthinking things. It's really hard to be sensible if the heart wants something real bad 🙈

Happy New Year :)