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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi; this is serving as a quick and dirty intro post, too.

I'm getting ready to (hopefully) adopt my first rats. I literally just finished my cage and realized something potentially very bad: the wood of the cage is probably pine. I bought 1x2's at Home Depot.

I know that cedar/pine shavings are bad because it causes respiratory problems and liver damage. Will the 1x2's do the same thing?

I can't really afford to rebuild the cage right away, but I may have no choice. :/ Advice and knowledge greatly appreciated!

-Poptart, Hopeful Soon-to-Be Ratter
 

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I'm not sure about whether actual pine wood would affect your rats, but if you are worried, you could possibly cover the wood with a thick plastic or some sort of material like that, then use fleece as liners for your cage.

As well as it being safer for your rats, it'd also be an easier job for you to clean :wink:
 

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Yes, the plain boards are also bad for breathing, sorry! But if you coat it with a couple layers of non-toxic, childsafe paint on every surface, that should take it care of it. This is also super useful for keeping pee wipe-off-able, because otherwise your cage will smell like a rat potty within a few weeks. Just take care that they can't chew on the wood, otherwise you'll soon find yourself with some escapees!
Welcome!
Feel free to ask any other questions. And since you said you were new, I'd like to take a moment to direct you to the diet sticky in the Rat Health section, "A (Hopefully) Comprehensive Guide to Rat Diet." Food is one of the easiest things to get wrong, especially given some of the way rat food is advertised. But diet is oh so important for a long lived, healthy rat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Okay, great! Painting will be easy. *happy sigh* I was also thinking of wrapping the most prominent beams in sisal rope (I understand that's okay for them to chew).

And, I've actually "made" the walking surfaces out of the cardboard backs of poster frames. Not only are they slick (which will be a dream to wipe down) but they have hanging nubbins on the bottom sides, so I can hang toys and things from them easy-like.

I'd planned to line the cage anyway with cotton and fleece strips - I sew, so I have lots of scrap fabrics.

Do fabric dyes affect them?

*goes to read up on food stuffs*
 

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I just wanted to add that before you put a layer of the paint on, you should proably put a layer of Killz on it first. Why? It seals the wood so it's no longer porus making it so it doesn't get nasty. Secondly if the rats to chew through the paint (not likely but I have heard of some doing so) they will be detered by the killz. They might be able to stand the smell and taste of paint, but not killz even after it's dried and exposed. Also I wanted to add that the best kind of paint to get is the childrens paint that says non- toxic and is also wipeable. This makes clean up sooo much easier!
 

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Maybe try linolium? I just feel weird about the effects of paint....
You can get linolium scraps really cheap/free from hardware stores. Most are self stick.
 
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