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I've read that cat litter is bad for a rat, but what if they're not actually living in it? My friend has a rat who lives in a large wire cage and there is a removable tray she fills with cat litter underneath it so he never even touches it. (only half the floor is open to the wires, the rest is covered, as is the second layer). Do you think that's ok? He doesn't seem to be suffering for it and she's had him for almost a year.
 

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Hi. Can I ask, what kind of cat litter is it?? I would say that the only safe cat litter to use would be 100% paper litter or Bio-Catolet. Anything with any clay in, or any chemicals of any sort is not good for ratties. Nor is anything like the wood pellet litters - as when they get wet they become powdery and are then as bad as sawdust / shavings. Anything with pine in is not only bad for rats' chests, but can also cause liver damage. Even though the rat may not be 'in it' - the fumes will still do damage.
 

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There's only one way to make pine safe, and that's to kiln dry it, preferrably at least twice. Kiln drying eliminates the phenols and oils. However, if it still smells like pine, then its not safe, cause it gets its scent from the phenols.

For more info on why pine is bad though, check out my article:
http://www.freewebs.com/rodents2reptiles/didyouknow.htm
 

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ratty_ratkins said:
even without wire cages foot problems are so common. and also the pine cat litter i was talking about is kiln dryed. i was at the store where i saw it and got curious and took a look.
no not really i have had many rats over the past 5 years and NONE of them have ever had foot problems.
 

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If your rat is overweight, the wired flooring will cause problems...

..And yes, foot problems are common in flat surfaced cages - mainly due to pressure on the foot plus other variables, like standing urine, etc.

Over this past year, I've dealt with almost 100 rats (rescue work) - none of them had foot problems...but when you look at all the rats out there, overall it is not uncommon to find foot problems caused by a flat surfaced cage floor.
 

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Hi. Here in the Uk, it is now generally thought that bumble foot is more likely to be down to hereditary factors than wire flooring......... I know lots of people that still prefer to cover wire floors with lino 'just in case' but it is no longer thought necessary as it was not that long ago.

Although I've seen the matter regularly debated!! I personally wouldn't have a wire floor (i.e - where their litter is) but I don't mind having wire shelves although I prefer solid shelving. It is also true though, that solid shelves do 'collect wee' easily, despite attempts to litter train and despite daily spot cleaning, in my own ratties' case.
 

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I've been keeping rats for 22 years next month and have never had a rat with any foot problems, bumblefoot or otherwise! I have used cages with wire floors and solid floors - I prefer the wire floors because rats can't pee through them onto other rats or food etc below! They get sticky and fur sticks to them and they have to be scrubbed whereas solid floors can just be wiped down regularly (my shelves have a 'gutter' to collect any puddles).
It's just personal preference though.
As Han says bumblefoot is inheritable in some lines of rats, so you might see it a lot from a certain place where the rats are not being bred with health in mind and are all related, and not in other lines. It can sometimes be linked with diabetes.
 
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