i took my girls with me to the store where i got my ferret cage from. they let me put them in the cage i was looking at buying to see if they (specifically soot & ash) could get through the bars... they didnt fit, so i bought the cage...
^ Just be careful doing that, if the store carries rodents. Your rats can and probably will (if there's any at the store) contact any air-borne illness, which can often be found at pet stores. Outbreaks of SDA (deadly virus among rats) has often been traced back to petstores. I, personally, don't recommend doing it, due to the risk involved. URIs, mites and other such things can also be contacted if your rats visit a petshop with rodents on the premises.
^^ i'm in australia... we do not have sendai or sda here. and if mites and lice can jump from one side of this particular pet shop (where the cages are) to the other side (where the rats are), then they deserve to live!!! this is a huge warehouse-sized store. i knew the risks involved and i would do it again. its the only way you can really tell if a rat will stay in a cage or not.
I'm sorry for not noticing your or the OP's locations previously. That said, it's still not a good idea for those of us in the US and even if SDA and Sendai aren't an issue, URIs are. It appears I may have offended you. My apologies if so, it certainly wasn't intended.
^^ no, you didnt offend me, its just that i have mentioned many times on this board and others that we dont have the disease problems that you in the states have... and, you must admit, it does get a bit repetitious, lol!!
i checked the location of the cages in relation to where the other rats were before i took my girls into the pet shop, so i knew the chances of them catching anything were pretty slim.
It doesn't have to be near the rats for your munchkins to catch something like mites or lice. Lots of viruses can live off host for a short while. Maybe you touched something that a pet store employee has touched. Just like the flu for us, you can catch things everywhere.
UK may have a lower incidence but you are not exempt. the best way to check cages out is to use a good cage calculator then go eye the cage (without your rats in tow) at the store.
I don't keep up with every member's posts on here so I wouldn't know you were in the UK, and I would be thankful people are repititious enough to try to pass on good info Its boring to have to keep posting the same things over and over again, but newbies and the uniniated might read this post and might learn about QT and that it is not recommended to take your rats to the petstore.