Cat Travel Part I: Lodging
Whether you’re moving across the country or taking an extended vacation, there are many issues to consider when road tripping with your cat.
If you’re going to need overnight lodging, planning ahead is key. While drivers without pets may be able to make impromptu stops whenever they’d like, your cats can make travel a little more complicated. But don’t panic! With a little planning, your trip can be safe and stress-free.
1. Find a pet-friendly hotel.
There are a number of online resources to help you search for the perfect lodging. Browse offerings from Pet Friendly Hotel Chains, check out Hotel Guides’ list of Pet Friendly Hotels, or visit PetsWelcome.com.
A number of hotel chains also have pages dedicated to helping travelers find suitable accommodations for their pets. Many of the hotels you’ll find are big chains, but if you’re looking for more unique lodging—a boutique hotel or bed and breakfast—don’t despair.
A number of smaller properties allow pets (along with their owners, of course). If a specialty property catches your eye, simply check out the website or call ahead to ask if you can bring your cat. Keep in mind that while a number of hotels permit animals, there are those that actually welcome them. The Kimpton chain, for example, will provide loaner food and water bowls at no additional cost. Do a little research and your travel will be much more pleasant.
2. Make a reservation by phone.
In a world where we can do practically anything online, there are still times when it’s worth picking up the phone and speaking to a real, live human being. This is one of those times.
Not only do you need to confirm that the hotel you’ve selected is pet-friendly, you also need to make sure the hotel knows you will be checking in with your feline friend. Even if a hotel chain advertises that it welcomes animals, many locations are individually-owned and are free to establish their own policies. In addition, you’ll want to confirm what (if any) additional charges will apply. It’s common for hotels to add a pet fee that can add $50 or more to your bill.
3. Inspect your hotel room.
After you check in and before you turn your cat loose to explore your new digs, you’ll want to make sure your room is safe for your pet. Look around the room to ensure there aren’t any hazards to your cat’s health: rodent or insect traps or poison, open windows, or small spaces from which it might be hard to retrieve a scared animal.
4. Make your cat feel at home.
Bring the essentials like a litter box and food and water dishes. Take the time to pack some items that feel and smell like home. Whether it’s a cat bed or a comfortable blanket your cat loves, make some cozy spaces to help your cat feel safe and secure.
Cats generally enjoy exploring new hotel rooms and you’ll be free to get a good night’s sleep before your next day’s journey.
Keep an eye out for upcoming cat travel articles to help plan a safe and worry-free trip for you and your pet.