We are right in the middle of winter here, and Oscar is hating the cold, cloudy weather. This past weekend, however, we had a brief break from the cold with sunshine and temperatures up near 60 degrees. Since Oscar has been stuck inside and bored for the past few months, he took full advantage of the beautiful weather and had a blast.
When it’s warm and sunny, Oscar loves nothing more than being outside where he can root around and eat grass. As a pig parent, I love seeing Oscar happily rooting around and just being a pig. Also, when he’s able to root and play outside, he’s a much more content, pleasant pet. I feel confident that we are providing Oscar a loving, comfortable home, but there are times when I worry that he doesn’t get to be enough of a pig. So, watching him roam around outside, following his instincts and his snout through the yard, fills my heart in a different way than our cuddle time.
The weather is supposed to turn cold again this week, so I’m glad Oscar had plenty of time over the weekend to enjoy the sunshine. Since this is Oscar’s first winter, I sometimes wonder what he thinks about how the outside changed on him from warm to cold and how excited he’ll be when spring comes back in a few months.
The first winter with Oscar has been challenging so far, from trying to keep him entertained to behavior issues to sibling rivalry. Despite the frustrations, I am constantly amazed at how much I love this little guy. He can make me crazy and then turn around and warm my heart faster than anything I’ve ever experienced. I think back on our first few months with him and, while he was new and cute and entertaining, it pales in comparison to how much joy he brings me now. There were times along the way when I felt bonded with Oscar and then felt again like he hated me and back and forth, back and forth. Although it has taken a long time, I finally really feel like he’s bonded with us now. He approaches us, hangs out with us, and cuddles with us. It has been a long road to get here, but every challenge has been worth it and I wouldn’t trade him for the world.
Right after my husband and I were married, we went on the hunt for some furniture that was inexpensive and easy to move. We knew we would move a few times before buying a house together and really settling in, but we also needed somewhere to sit in the meantime. We especially needed chairs so, after researching and reading reviews, we decided to buy an oversized bean bag chair.
The bean bag chair seemed even to us like an odd purchase for two married professionals in their late twenties, but it was fun and really practical at the time. It was great for lounging in front of the television, reading a book, or even working on my laptop. My husband’s computer and the TV were in different rooms so, depending on which room he was in for the evening, I could grab my book and the bean bag chair and hang out in the same room as him. When we had guests over, the bean bag chair provided extra seating since we could move it into any room in the house.
I really liked the bean bag chair and was happy with our purchase overall, but it did have some drawbacks. When it first arrived, it had a slight scent to it. It wasn’t an overwhelming smell, but I’m weird about smells and it took some time to air out. Also, I prefer chairs with a back most of the time, so the bean bag chair was comfortable but not always my first pick if the sofa was available. Last year, we finally bought a house and had some more comfortable furniture to sit in, so we stopped using the bean bag chair as often.
Then, last May, we brought Oscar home. On our first full day with Oscar, we realized we needed a place where we could sit with him and cuddle without worrying about him jumping off and hurting himself. He was really young and scared with extremely abrupt movements, so we never knew if he was going to stay still, run, or jump. Even to this day, Oscar will be napping and then will wake up and immediately leap up and run off, so having him up high on a bed or couch is dangerous. Mini pigs are top heavy with short, little legs, and they can easily injure themselves by jumping down from a chair, sofa, or bed. On top of that, it’s difficult finding a mini pig veterinarian who can help in case of an injury. We looked around the house for a chair that was comfortable but also lower to the ground than the sofa, and we realized the bean bag chair was a perfect option. We dragged the bean bag chair out and gave it a try for Oscar’s cuddle time.
Oscar loved the bean bag chair! In fact, since we’ve brought Oscar home, we have used the bean bag chair daily. Oscar and I cuddle almost every night in the bean bag, and I can spend time with him while still reading or working on my laptop. If he hears the fridge or something that makes him jump up and off the chair abruptly, he is still low enough to the ground that he can climb down and then back up safely.
When we can’t cuddle with Oscar in the bean bag chair, he will climb up on his own and nap in the evenings. We leave his blanket and a pillow on the bean bag, and he likes to root around until his blanket and pillow are in the right place. Once he’s settled, he can rest there happily for hours. I liked the bean bag chair before we got Oscar, but now I love it because it’s safer for him and it allows us to get tons of cuddle time in with him.
Watch as Oscar climbs into his bean bag chair for a nap.
Below is the brand of chair that we bought and really like. Since we bought it about five years ago, I’m not positive this is the exact version, but it’s the same brand, color, and twill material. As I mentioned above, it did have a scent to it initially that has completely worn off now but took some time to air out. It isn’t likely to be the most comfortable chair you’ll ever own, but it’s awesome if you’re looking for a chair to sit in and cuddle with your mini pig. Since we bought our bean bag chair, we have dragged it from room to room frequently over the past five years, moved houses with it twice, and now have hooves prancing all over it, and the fabric has held up perfectly with no tears or even much sign of wear and tear.
If you’re interested in buying a bean bag chair for your mini pig, I recommend measuring and doing some research to find one that you like best. One thing to consider is your fabric choice, especially if you have a young mini pig. We’ve been really lucky in that Oscar has never peed on any of our furniture, so we trust him on the bean bag chair. That being said, it would be a disaster if he did ever pee on it. Although the outside fabric is advertised as being washable, I don’t think there is a lining holding the insides of the bean bag chair in, essentially making it not washable. If you’re concerned about your pig peeing on the bean bag chair, really do your research on the fabric type and how washable the chair is. Another option is to cover it with a trash bag or other type of similar material as a backup until you completely trust your pig on the chair.
If you’re looking for a place to sit and cuddle with your mini pig, I highly recommend a bean bag chair. Not only are they convenient and easier to move from room to room than most chairs, they sit lower to the ground and are much safer for your pig to climb on and off of. If you have a bean bag chair or other type of comfortable, safe chair you like to sit in with your mini pig, please feel free to share in the comments.
Note: Although I personally recommend the item discussed in this post, the link above is an affiliate link. LifeWithaMiniPig.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Since this is Oscar’s first winter, I have been eagerly anticipating his very first snow. We have had plenty of rain this winter and even an ice storm, but I’ve been impatiently waiting for some fluffy, pretty snow. I knew Oscar wouldn’t love snow since it’s cold and wet, but I was so excited for him to see snow and experience it for the first time. A few days ago, we finally had some light snow falling, so I quickly put Oscar’s coat on him and we headed outside.
I was hoping that Oscar would at least be curious about the snow, but he just wanted to go back inside. Between Oscar’s hatred for anything cold and anything resembling water, it didn’t take him very long to decide that he didn’t like snow. I grabbed some Cheerios on the way outside so that I could get a few pictures of his first snow, but he turned and ran back inside as soon as the Cheerios were gone.
The funniest part about Oscar’s short time in the snow is that he kept trying to dodge the snow flakes. He hated the snow falling on his face and, even worse, the flakes occasionally landed near his eyes. When they did, he ducked his head each time in an attempt to avoid the snow, as if the flakes were slowly attacking him. In the end, he wasn’t really sure what the snow was or what it was trying to do, but he knew he didn’t like it.
I was secretly hoping Oscar would like playing in the snow or would at least be curious about it, but he really hated it. Even so, I finally got the chance to see him experience his very first snow, and it was fun watching him dodge the snow flakes. He might not like snow, but he sure looked cute with his coat on while the snow flakes fell around him!
As I was eating lunch the other day, Oscar was hanging out by my feet hoping for some scraps. I don’t ever feed him from my plate because I don’t want him getting used to sharing my dinner (I’m not a food sharer, even with my adorable pet pig), but he always stays close while I’m eating because he’s relentlessly hopeful and persistent. I had thrown together a quick lunch that day and was finishing up eating my applesauce cup. Slightly frustrated that I couldn’t get all of the applesauce out of the bottom of the cup with my spoon, I looked down at an eager Oscar and had an idea.
Since my applesauce was natural with no added sugars that might be harmful to Oscar, I decided to give the almost empty cup to him to see if he would enjoy playing with it. There was just enough applesauce in the bottom that he could get a little treat but not enough to overfeed him, and the challenge of figuring out how to get the applesauce out of the bottom of the cup might provide some much-needed stimulation for him during a mostly cloudy, rainy week.
Oscar loved playing with the applesauce cup! He really had to work hard to get to his treat; it was a sufficient challenge paired with a worthy reward that kept his attention for at least ten minutes. I supervised the entire time and took the applesauce cup away after he was finished to make sure he was safe, but I was thrilled to have found a way to truly engage him in something fun for a while. It was a little messy, but he was so happy!
The most exciting part was that I found something new to keep Oscar entertained for a while! He was in a better mood after playing with the applesauce cup because it challenged him and allowed him to use his curiosity; he also got to eat a little bit of applesauce! Of course, with any new toy or play idea, it’s important to supervise to make sure it’s safe for your pig, but it can be fun to come up with ways to entertain and challenge them.
If you have discovered any creative ways to keep your pig entertained and don’t mind sharing them, please comment below. I would love to hear any ideas that might help us all keep our pigs stimulated and happy!
We are incredibly grateful to all of our blog friends and readers for your support and for providing encouragement and helpful tips throughout our first year as mini pig parents! I have learned so much about mini pigs this year, partly from experience but also from the advice and support of other mini pig owners.
I have enjoyed the opportunity to share both the ups and downs of life with Oscar and am lucky to have found such wonderful friends in the process. From Oscar and family, Happy New Year! We hope 2016 is your best year yet!