Acrylics are water based so they are safe. But... if Valentine were out of the cage and might fly over I'd paint in another room. You can seal terracotta first since it's so absorbant with Polycrylic ( also water based)or not. If you want to have a white base instead of the terracotta natural color to start with you can thin down some gesso and coat it first then paint. I've used trimmed out bits of textured wall border paper to make decorative terracotta pots and used one other product I don't remember the name of or it might have been a thicker mix of gesso with little bumps applied in areas for a raised texture look. I did seal with the polycrylic. I wish I had some close up photos to show the details better.